Editorials

Review: Bloodroots

During my time with Bloodroots, a game from indie developer Paper Cult, based out of Montreal, I found it hard not comparing their game to Hotline Miami, a top-down game from Dennaton Games. I get the same feeling I did in 2012, and the same satisfaction too as I mow down waves of enemies in what is known as the Weird West.

Paper Cult felt the same way I did years ago then because Bloodroots is a hard game to put down just like Hotline Miami. I found myself time and time again bested by enemies, but I was determined to find out how to get past these enemies and further down into my quest for revenge as Wolf, a man left for dead and unhinged. I don’t blame Mr.Wolf either, a man who only trusted the wrong group of people. In this quest for revenge, you’ll make your way across the Weird West, with only your wits and your creativity on how to kill each person standing in your way.

Raise Your Weapons

It’s the freedom and the excitement surrounding each kill that keeps me coming back for more each session. Finding which tool may strike best, moving around the arena to discover what Mr Wolf can grab and use in his quest for revenge. Grabbing a sword and stabbing an enemy, finding an axe and cordially lobbing a person’s head from its body.  The only thing standing between you and the next level is your approach to killing these bad men, and what weapons you’ll use to.

What I enjoyed about the way Bloodroots approaches each weapon is how versatile they are in combat. A rowing oar acts like a pole vault that launches to greater distances for example, you can use a wagon wheel to spin it at enemies or surf on by them. The team at Paper Cult developed Bloodroots with violence as the main draw, a way to rampage across a stage and grab anything and everything to destroy enemies. Each weapon you come across also has limited durability, which Is displayed on the screen when you pick an item up. Oh, and you’ll come across some really funny weapons including carrots, tables, flamingos and one of my favourites; a chain that spins like a tornado and devastates anyone in your path!

Use Your Imagination

You’ll always want to have a weapon close because I learned the hard way that this world is a dangerous place and Mr Wolf on his own is not adequate to survive the onslaught without help from his surroundings. Add in some excellent level design that offers several ways to tackle the enemies spread out in each level and you have all the necessary items for a stellar game. And while you’ll die over and over, it is up to you to overcome those challenges by experimenting with different approaches and weapons that exist in each level. All the while, you’ll be earning points for your rank, climbing the included leaderboards for the coveted high rank on the global leaderboards.

This is a good-looking title, and I really love the cell-shaded graphics and level layouts. Various enemies are also a bonus that fills out each area, and all of them use different attack patterns that require you to keep your eyes open for their movements. Often, I’d find myself left for dead, as enemies covered me and wrecked Mr Wolf. Thankfully, with Bloodroots, the level reloads and you’re back to where you started with so many enemies in front of you and all the creativity to destroy them. On top of all this, Bloodroots exudes style all the way from the levels to the bosses, and each boss has a ton of personality, too.

There are also brief moments of respite as Mr Wolf. Sitting at the campfire, it is quiet and the perfect time to stop and breathe, take the scenery in and be thankful you aren’t on the receiving end of the sword you have with you. Mr Wolf comes with several hats you can equip as well, and you’ll unlock more the further into the game you get.

On the Nintendo Switch, I had very few issues. I played majority in handheld mode and it looked good, played well, and generally left the best impression. In docked mode, I noticed next to no issues and while I like sitting back on the couch and using my television to play the game, the Nintendo Switch makes portability the best way to play games these days.

Verdict

Bloodroots is a highly entertaining title that kept me engaged throughout the campaign. It’s also a competent and confident title and as the first outing for Paper Cult, I’m wonderous of where their next game will take us and in what capacity. This is an addicting game and the fact it’s on Nintendo Switch means you’ll get the perfect session of mayhem before taking a break. While the comparison to Hotline Miami is not without merit, Bloodroots excels at what it attempts to do; smart level design, excellent weapons choices, and lots of versatility.

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Recommended
Recommended
The Good
  • Excellent gameplay
  • Great weapon choices, with lots of ways to approach any level
  • Stellar level designs
  • Story is good
The Bad
  • Some minor technical hitches on Switch in handheld mode
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Bobby has been gaming since he was old enough to walk. Since then, the interest has only grown stronger, and here we are today. Follow Bobby on Twitter, and just go with it. @bpashalidis

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