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Review: Bleed 2

by onMarch 6, 2018
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A sequel to Ian Campbell’s original creation, Bleed 2 is a platforming title fused with twin stick shooter elements, that puts forward a fluid and acrobatic gameplay in which a pink haired heroine swirls between enemy fire. So is the sequel faithful to the original game?

The story is a continuation of the original Bleed game. Wryn has officially became the greatest heroine of all time after beating all her enemies and saving the world, now reduced to spend her quiet days playing videogames. But, this rest won’t lasts long, as an armada of evil monsters come down from space ti invade earth, and it’s up to our mighty heroine to fight the infamous Valentine and her horde of minions.

Bleed 2 is first and foremost a game based on scoring and aimed at speedrunners, so the short story mode with its 7 levels is just a teaser before tackling each of those in the arcade mode. Your ultimate goal is to reach the highest position of the leaderboard and in doing so, you will fight against no less than 25 different bosses, with their own pattern to learn and outwit. To do so, you will first have to master the unique gameplay of Wryn which consist of her katana that allows her to deflect enemy fire and a set of guns to shoot in a specific direction.

The parry or deflect with the katana are quite crucial to the game, as enemies will either send yellow or purple projectiles, which are respectively mandatory to get away from or can be send back to its shooter. Wryn can also triple jump, but also glide for a few moments in a chosen direction by pressing the jump key twice while holding down a direction, and finally she can slow down time to cross a swarm of projectiles without taking any damage or targeting an enemy more precisely. in the heat of the moment, this simple set of movements is quite precise and will require a perfect timing to exploit it to the full. I haven’t tried it on PC, but on our Nintendo Switch review clearly feels right with a twin-stick shooting technical button layout, with the jump and time-slow abilities pushed to the trigger buttons.

For the rest of the gameplay mechanics, we are pretty much in a classical run and gun that is modern but perfectly mastered. Each boss is truly unique and its pattern change depending on the chosen difficulty mode, for a hint of extra replayability. Ian Campbell was clearly inspired by the great shoot-em-up titles, such as Ikaruga with its color related projectile mechanics related mechanics. Some bosses also have several forms and they are after all the highlights of the game. The actual platforming parts of the game are rather simple, almost with no difficulty but sometimes have their own gameplay modifier like zero gravity or travelling on top of a moving truck.

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Aside from some bosses, the majority of the enemies are rather easy to beat. That’s because the game is all about diversity and trying to push for replayability thanks to its other modes. Once the main story is finished, you can always try again with one of the 4 characters that are unlocked via each difficulty level, including The Rival (the villain from the original Bleed) or even Claw Girl from Spooky Squid Games’ They Bleed Pixels Each. Each have their own different playing style or modifiers, for example The Claw Girl regains energy with each killed enemy.

Bleed 2 has also an Endless Mode with daily challenges and randomly generated levels, but also a coop mode with up to two players on the same console. The latter is fun as it reminds me of the tactics in pair tennis, as each player will have be able to deflect only one time of projectile (yellow or pink).

Finally, I gotta praise the team for keeping with the style of the original game, which is a technical and graphical pixel-art blast of colors, topped by a fun soundtrack composed by the talented Jukio Kallio (which has worked on Evil Factory and Luftrausers to name a few). It’s a treat for lovers of chiptune rhythms with heavy electric guitar chords, and works perfectly with the artistic style of Bleed 2.

Bleed 2 was reviewed using a Nintendo Switch digital download code of the game provided by Digerati. The game was previously released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via digital stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).

What we liked

• Retro style pixel art graphics
• Fun and varied level designs
• A perfectly adapted soundtrack
• The endless and coop modes

What is not fun

• A bit too complicated to master
• The story mode is a bit too short

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.5

 
Graphics
8.0

 
Sound
9.5

 
Playability
8.5

 
Entertainment
9.0

 
Replay Value
7.0

Final Score
8.4


Our final verdict
 

A well paced arcade platforming and twin-stick shooter, Bleed 2 is a solid sequel to the original game made by Ian Campbell, now available on Nintendo Switch. With its retro style pixel art, a motivating soundtrack and the charm of 1990s run and gun gameplay mechanics, this is a must for speedrunners and OCD score players.

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