Disclaimer – I wrote this review with the blood of all the fallen by the hand of Mr. Wolf.
Bloodroots is a smash, slash and dash extreme violence experience with a story holding it up in the background. The developers Paper Cult clearly set out to make a difficult game around the main character Mr. Wolf and his unrivaled skill of using anything as a weapon. Unfortunately he meets his demise in the opening moments but don’t worry, his lust for blood isn’t quite done. The big question is will you have the skill to help Mr. Wolf get his revenge on those that betrayed him?
Everything Is A Weapon In This Town
When you pick up that first carrot, piece of wood, big mouth fish you realize the action is going to come at you in a hurry and sometimes in a comical way. You don’t have to worry about mashing a ton of buttons or holding down an aim button to strike down your foe. A quick press of one button (O) to pick up an object and then the press of another button (Square) to attack. Of course you need to move Mr. Wolf into position and this is where things become very difficult. Each level starts with you running into an area then it abruptly turns into you smashing and killing all bad guys in sight. Grab anything you can find nearby and move towards the enemy you want to attack first. Afterwards as you move to the second you are probably already dead. Why though? Because in Bloodroots you better be thinking three steps ahead as you enter the area. Planning your attack is crucial and will absolutely cost you if you don’t.
It is fun to pick up different objects and see what kind of destruction they cause. Some are straight forward one hit kills, while others might allow you to take down multiple enemies. As the game progresses you find more crazy weapons to use that have a lot more of an impact. The difficult part is getting those attacks precise. I found the controls not always as responsive as you would like in this type of game and it led to many deaths. This of course can be quite annoying when you have planned out your attack and have attempted it numerous times. It is already difficult enough but to have your character miss an attack and fall to his demise because of the controls is a tad disappointing. Don’t fret though as it’s easily countered once you figure out the layout of an area. Again planning your attack in order is very helpful.
While the weapons gain more destructive power throughout the game some can lead to your death as well. Be wary as you can easily fall off areas to your death and if not careful you might over shoot your target only to experience regret. The bloody action is great when launching yourself all the way across the screen to perform a death blow but sometimes you have to ask yourself, at what price? This is where some of the frustration can build up. You want to take out certain enemies in order because well some have range weapons or will easily kill you if you’re too close. Charging forward only to go thru the enemy and off the other side isn’t what you planned but it’s certainly what will happen. You wouldn’t think that you would need to strategize so much in this hack N’ slash adventure but here we are. Don’t be afraid to try out new objects to punish your foe but keep an eye out as they can only be used a few times and for some only once. Try changing them up at the end of each act and see the different brutal ways you strike down an enemy in a nice cutscene.
Love The Way You Look
The cartoon animation in Bloodroots is great not only in the cutscenes but in gameplay as well. Each boss character you encounter has their own unique style and you learn more about them as the act moves on. What is really cool about the cartoonish style is how well it works together with the environment created. The majority of things can be destroyed but when you see things such as an enemy catching fire and then spreading that fire from running around you can’t help but say bravo. This and the boss fights are outstanding as far as how they look on the screen with decent audio to back it up. With each new act comes a different look as well. One moment you might be in a desert town fighting it out western style and the next you’re in a frigid snow area going to battle like a Viking.
With all of this going on there are times where it can become overwhelming. This is very important as you need to be able to see everything because again so many things will kill. Even when you get to the later stages of the game and every projectile coming at you looks amazing you will still need to know where in the world to jump. That isn’t always the case and definitely caused some frustration. It doesn’t stop there though as jumping from one platform to another can be cumbersome because of the camera angle in the game. Knowing where to land is also crucial and sometimes you just won’t know where you going to plant your feet.
Aside from the minor issues with some of the visuals the game really shines during the boss fights. The music kicks it up and the fun goes into overdrive. From chasing a boss down to dodging and chopping at a frantic pace, the fights are intense but satisfying. I couldn’t say that after each stage finished but after each boss I enjoyed a nice smile.
You Laugh With Humor
Saying Bloodroots is difficult is coming from someone who died 146 times in one stage. Not in the entire act (which there are three acts) but in one stage. Don’t let that scare you off as the game gives you the option to go invincible (you will still die) if you so choose. Of course you can’t rack up the points for kill streaks and make leaderboards but you can progress. I can neither confirm nor deny I used this option at certain points of the game (I absolutely did). I can say the humor in such a brutal game is actually spread out nicely. This kept me involved in a game that would otherwise make me want to rage quit. As a professional (ha ha ha) though I pulled up my big boy britches and played on. You might think brutal smashing of ones face isn’t all that comical but bagging a fish over someone’s head and watching them run to their death is downright hilarious.
It probably doesn’t need to be said but Bloodroots even though presented in cartoon fashion shouldn’t be played in front of kids. Not only because of the ultra-violent nature of Mr. Wolf and his combatants but the dialogue throws out the occasionally F-bomb amongst other tasty words. If you don’t like foul mouths then you do have the option to skip the dialogue. The fun doesn’t stop with defeating a boss oh no. once dethroned you get to take their hat which only comes in handy if you want to play the previous stages. This is more for the folks that chase leaderboards and want to use the effects of said hat they obtained. Clearly that was not the case here. For those that enjoy over the top and crazy, you will find the game funny not only to look at but to read as well. Plus some of the bosses really do have some crude jokes in there that made me laugh pretty hard.
But What Did You Think Of The Game
Bloodroots as a whole is a fun game with certain issues that hold it back from being next level fun. The difficulty is there for those that want a challenge and seek leaderboard status. I thoroughly enjoyed the art style of the game and would love to see more of it in a different setting. The characters are delight even though they want nothing more than to see your demise. The option to assist you with invincibility was a wise choice by the developers because honestly I don’t know how I would have made it to the end. The action was great but the controls brought the overall enjoyment of that down some. I wanted to love Bloodroots and at the end of the day there were things that I did love. This was a case of love, laugh, and oh come on! Clearly this isn’t going to be for everyone but for $19.99 I don’t see a reason not to take a chance on it, just keep your expectations in check and a stress ball handy.
Bloodroots releases on February 28th, 2020.
A review code was provided on the PS4.