Indie games are ever popular and recently we’ve seen more and more hit latest consoles.
Concentrating more on unique gameplay rather than groundbreaking graphics, Bleed fits into what you’d expect from an indie game, bargain price, unique and fun gameplay but an unfortunate highlight of how far behind AAA titles too many indie titles are.
Let’s not start off on the wrong foot, I’m a big fan of Indie titles, but far too many settle for second best, while others strive to be classed as equal beside the AAA titles and while it’s certainly a tough task, it’s unfortunate that a few more developers don’t aim just a little bit higher.
So with perfect timing, let’s talk about Bleed, you play as Wryn, some crazed women with twin machine guns who’s looking to take down the toughest enemies of all time to become the ultimate video game hero.
She’s got the iconic Purple hair look, and likes a nice Sundae, but she’s equally intent on drawing up a death list of the greatest video game enemies to take down in order to prove her worth.
Gameplay is key, and while you’d immediately expect to be mashing the face buttons, Bleed instead throws up controls similar to a twin stick shooter, playing as a side-scrolling platformer, Wryn can use the right trigger to jump, dash jump, double jump and jump a little bit more, it’s a quick effective way of covering gaps as well as evading incoming fire and combined with the bullet-time on the left trigger controls are easy to grasp and will soon reward a little practice.
Many enemies drop with a few bullets, so you’ll spend more time dodging, while there’s an arsenal of other weapons to unlock with the points built up from completing levels, I found the health and energy more useful as the initial machine gun combo is more than enough to get you through on easy.
Using the right stick you can fire in any direction, and you’ll find a good mixture of enemy locations rather than always concentrating your fire forward, but especially on tougher difficulties you’ll have to decide whether to clear the screen or dash through when the challenge ramps up a little.
Movement is fluid and the dodge mechanics of the dash jumps, help provide that fluidity especially against bosses who will quickly take down your health if your not using your agility.
Combine fluid movement with bullet-time and you’ll be in for a treat, when you’re on the ground your bar will refill, and then you can hit left-trigger to slow down time, used together with the dash jumps will mean it’s far easier to evade even the toughest volleys of bullets and getting the timing right will take you from struggling to beat a boss, to easily defeating them in half the time.
Levels are split into mini-sections and dying will take you back to the current section, meaning it’s nearly consistent progress, many of the levels seem to be over a little too soon which means on the easier difficulties you’ll breeze through the game within an hour or two, but knock the difficulty a little higher and you’ll soon be treated to the good old fashioned challenge that so many games lack now days.
There’s also Arcade mode which gives you just a single life, while Challenge mode let’s you choose an arena and any completed bosses to take on in succession.
I did find the difficulty curve quite a step up, Easy is exactly that, but running through on normal will take considerably more practice, while the tougher difficulties might be best left until you’ve purchased plenty of the weapons and health boosts.
Graphically, Bleed is quite content with being a retro game, based on titles 20-30 years ago in both approach and looks it doesn’t strive to be anything more.
I really wish developers would give an option to sharpen up the sprites, add a little more detail to backgrounds and make the title more visually appealing, but just as is the case with Bleed, most decide the full retro approach is sufficient.
That’s not to say it doesn’t look good in places, but as with so many indie games, it could have been so much better, though I’m sure retro-purists will appreciate the pixel nostalgia. Likewise the sound comes fresh from the late 80’s arcade machines and suits the title perfectly but unlike the graphics, I felt the audio to be more than suitable and I wasn’t left wondering if Bleed would have been more appealing with a little more time like I was with the graphics.
Speaking of time, and you’ll be pleased to know that Bleed will give you plenty of bang for your bucks, sure running through on easy might only take an hour, but hopefully the fun, and slightly addictive gameplay will persuade you to take the challenge of higher difficulties and the extra modes on offer.
Bottom Line :
Bleed is a fun and challenging game that follows the indie trend of mediocre graphics, with a nostalgic task of unforgiving gameplay,
It’s a bargain if you enjoy retreading the relatively small levels, but the variety of weapons and extra character unlocks help give reason to numerous play-throughs.
Gameplay : 8
Graphics : 7
Sound : 7.5
Story : 7.5
Value : 8
Overall : 7.6 / 10