Bloodroots is an action-packed, slash-em-up
from Montreal-based indie developers Paper Cult. Their newest game is a fierce test of reflexes, precision, and mental fortitude. If you have ever wanted to battle with giant gears, carrots, or rubber ducks then look no further than Bloodroots.
You control Mister Wolf, a wolf-pelt (probably where he gets his name) wearing man, as he seeks revenge against Mr. Black Wolf and his lackeys. And don’t worry: there are only a couple thousand or more minions standing between you and him.
The enemies begin simple: just a few maniacs running at you with their fists or an axe, but they quickly become more difficult. The enemies get defenses or ranged weapons, which becomes quite a bit to juggle.
You progress through Mister Wolf’s story, clearing one area at a time as you utilize the huge arsenal of weapons. Each weapon has a limited amount of uses before breaking, but the player never fears a shortage, since you can always give someone a solid punch as a final resort. The weapons provide substantial variety: some adding dashes, jumps, or AOE attacks, but timing is everything. One mistimed attack will result in a dead Mister Wolf and a restart. Each hit feels solid and satisfying, but the finishers at the end of each level are a bit lackluster. There isn’t much variety, and they quickly begin to slow down the pace of an otherwise exciting game.
Each level has multiple possible routes to take, and after the first couple levels, I never cleared them on my first attempt. It took time to find optimal routes through each level. This was without even trying to find the highest-scoring path. I can’t imagine trying to speed run a game like this. I died a lot, but each time I progressed just a little farther as I tried to master each area.
The aesthetics are by far the stand-out from this game. The music draws you in immediately, mixing western style instruments and sounds with a driving, relentless beat. It controls the mood, always pushing you to be better, faster, and more intensely focused on revenge against your arch-enemy.
The music contrasts with the vivid world created by artist Samuel Laroche. Each level brings a beautiful change of scenery and color. The art doesn’t match the Old-West style music or story, but not in an unpleasing way. It adds a needed splash of brightness to keep the game interesting. Although, I could only appreciate the art for a little before I started to see red.
Bloodroots can be incredibly frustrating at times. It is not an easy game, and I have a distinct lack of experience playing similar games. The controls are about as simple as they get, with movement keys and two buttons to pick up or use weapons, but the execution and timing is the tricky bit.
This game is punishing with its timing and platforming. Enemies chased me down as I struggled to get back to that single carrot I passed, and the blistering speed often resulted in me flying off an edge a couple dozen more times than I would have liked.
The controls are where this game struggles a bit. This game moves quick, and although it is supposed to, at times it can feel a little out of control. The biggest issue is the lack of ground indicator when you’re in the air: and you spend a lot of time in the air. The camera perspective can make it unclear where you’re located once you start those mid-air combos, and I found it infuriating to fall over the same edge again and again.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with this game. It has the all the necessary qualities to make an addicting action game, and I predict that it will be popular among high score hunters as well. It is endlessly perfectible; it will always be possible to clear each stage just a fraction quicker. But be warned, this game is not casual. I would try not to have anything breakable nearby as you enjoy.
Notes about our ranking system: We want the primary focus to be on the “Recommended” rating, as an arbitrary number on a game does not fit for every type of player. If we say a game is recommended for that element, lovers of that type are more likely to enjoy the game.
Where’s the design rating come from?
We look at the overall price of the game and then ask ourselves a bunch of questions: How well does the game run? How do the gameplay mechanics feel? Does this game do well for its genre? Does the art-style fit the overall themes? How is the music and sound design? If there is a story, how well is it written and acted? What is the replayability of the game? Overall, we want to answer that if this game is recommended for you, its worth your dollar.