Developer Paper Cult’s influences on their new title Bloodroots, is evident almost from the moment you start it up. This Jackie Chan inspired, western, tale of revenge takes players through a constant stream of blood. While the roots of the game can be easily assumed, Bloodroots remains a unique, exciting experience.
Taking on the mantle of Mr. Wolf, players start the game betrayed and left for dead. Somehow surviving, Mr. Wolf looks to find his killers and exact his revenge in the bloodiest and most stylish ways possible. Armed at times with nothing more than his fists, Mr. Wolf takes the fight through mobs of enemies enroute to revenge. While nothing quite revolutionary or new, Bloodroots provides a story that is intriguing enough to keep players engaged throughout the game.
The game itself is fun, fast-paced, and frenetic. Players must navigate through levels with three buttons (attack, jump, grab weapon) and directional movement. To get to the end of a level, players have to fight their way through different rooms swarming with enemies and weapons. The catch? All enemies die in a hit, but so do you. This is a mechanic similar to those found in other indie favorites, and works very well in Bloodroots, especially in conjunction with its combo system.
Fight at your Pace
While players can fight through complete levels with one large combination, they can also take enemies one at a time in particularly challenging situations. In addition, there are multiple ways in which to clear a room, whether you want to use the environment, weapons, or nothing but your fists. The game features a plethora of weapons, ranging from carrots, axes, swords, hockey sticks, and much more.
Finding and testing out new weapons is fun but finding the perfect sequence of weapons and kills is perhaps even more rewarding. Replaying certain levels for trophies or chasing a high score are oftentimes just as fun as the first time through the level, though I found myself avoiding replays of later levels. While the difficulty and frustration ramps up as the game progresses, I never found myself in an impossible scenario. However, some of my most frustrating moments involved platforming errors as a result of its perspective after clearing a stage, leading to my death before reaching a checkpoint. Speaking of checkpoints, the game’s checkpoints are also generous, making sure players are never too far off from where they last perished.
The game’s primary gameplay loop can be described as fun but challenging. Once players get used to the game’s timing, there are rarely any instances in which a death can be attributed to anything other than user error. The few hiccups I encountered during the game have also been noted to be fixed with a patch. While the game’s mechanics work well, the emphasis should be placed on the overall enjoyment of the game’s combat sequences.
Perhaps the best part of the game’s combat is killing the last enemy in a stage, which features a kill cam dependent on the weapon utilized. This killcam is representative of Bloodroots. Stylized hyperviolence at its finest. The game’s cartoon-like aesthetics contrast its action in a way that makes the game feel lighter than the game’s core narrative. The visuals are relatively crisp, and its ability to highlight enemies, weapons, and environmental tools make the game easy to navigate as well. The game’s soundtrack fits the game, providing a western-like overtone to the game’s chain of violence.
Overall, Bloodroots is a game that fans of challenging action brawlers need to give a shot. With its wide variety of weapons, smooth action, and crisp visuals, Bloodroots could be that next Hotline Miami-like fix. The game’s replayability will likely depend on its community, with a scoreboard, speedruns, and self-made challenges at the forefront of that opportunity. While Bloodroots is no walk in the park, it remains accessible to those who don’t particularly love a brutal challenge.
*** A PS4 code was provided by the publisher ***
- Addicting gameplay loop
- Challenging but fair
- Potential replayability
- Platforming a bit janky
- Can be frustrating