Bleed: review

Steam Greenlight sure is far from perfect, in some cases it seems to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from perfect for reasons unbeknownst to us simple mortals. Luckily Greenlight in its flawed gem sort of way manages to give a whole lot of great games a chance, and Bleed is just one of them.

You play as Wryn, a girl with the ultimate goal of being the Greatest Hero of All Time and – as illogical as it may sound – she decides the best way of going about it is to sequentially kill all of the other Greatest Heroes of All Time. A plan that only a mother could love but a plot that sits nicely with the humour of the game; nice light-hearted fun or “comic mischief” as a ratings board might describe it.

Bleed is a side scrolling platform shooter with bullet-time; you can also dodge a few consecutive times in any direction so while you are in bullet time you can pull off stunts that’d make Max Payne jealous. It also has a score as one of its central incentives to play, so all the levels are designed to be short to a satisfying degree and wildly different, which makes them both worth replaying for higher scores and not tedious to repeat.

Wryn just hates cats!

As a side scrolling shooter it keeps everything pretty focussed on you – which is good because of how fast you can move whilst dodging, it is still really easy to keep focus on where you are amongst all the enemies and bullets etc. It takes a little bit to get used to the controls – on the controller at least – as you will be dodging mid-air whilst still aiming at targets.

Your arsenal begins with dual pistols and a missile launcher, but over the course of the game you’ll begin to unlock more and more tools of destruction; including a katana, a flamethrower and a laser rifle. They each feel very different and some are suited to more specific playstyles or enemies, but you can only switch between two different weapons on the fly in-game. You can just pause and change your loadout to another two weapons, but it’s a little more fiddly to dive into the menus to switch weapons rather than having two weapons for most situations and switching instantly with a single button press.

Pulling off dodges like this feels soooo good!

Score is basically your currency and along with the weapons you can also buy larger health/bullet-time reserves or a faster regenerating bullet-time. You amass score by getting consecutive hits and kills on enemies and breakable objects, but getting hit or taking too long before hitting something will make it decay or reset; effectively slashing your end of level score and giving you less funds to buy weapons and upgrades with.

Levels have their own specific enemies and, as mentioned before, very varied themes and designs. It doesn’t have a particularly easy first level – but just a reasonably easy starting point in comparison to some of the levels, traps and enemies to come. It is however a fairly lenient game and gives you a lot of fairly placed checkpoints; obviously when you die your score multiplier is reset but the penalisation after multiple deaths in a level is never unfair or unjustified.

Bosses and mini-bosses offer those set-piece moments that make each level special, None are similar in almost any respect; one or two have attacks that have similarities but on the whole, they’re wildly different beings – all tying in with their level themes of course (mostly anyway).

This will happen if you lose your train ticket.

Normal as a difficulty level will be hard for anyone not particularly savvy with games and playstyles of this ilk, but with the checkpoints it feels challenging enough for your perfect runs as to not make you break down in tears over its difficulty. Hard and Very Hard however are sizeable increases in difficulty, so getting high scores on them will grant bigger pay-offs but are much more frustrating to complete if you have trouble with Normal mode.

One top of the story mode you have the Challenge mode where you can fight off against up to three bosses in an order of your preference and then you have Arcade mode – the one designed for masochists. It is a single life version of the story mode; so yes, it is much harder – much, much harder indeed.

If you plan on completing the game in its entirety as quick as possible then you’re probably looking at about an hour or two of game time to wrap up the story – even less if you don’t die often on whatever choice of difficulty you decide on. It is worth noting however that the shortness of the game matches its price-point and you can get an awful lot of bang for your buck if you want to replay for higher scores and to unlock all the weapons and upgrades.

critical score 8

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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