Game Reviews PC

#BLUD Review – A #FrickinBrilliantRecipe

Developer Exit 73 Studios and Publisher Humble Games have come up with a recipe for one of the best games that I have had a childhood memory achievement unlock for in a long damn time. First, they started with a base of a top-down adventure game, similar to the classic world of Zelda.

They then folded in a sense of humor and horror humor that you would find in the TV series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Lastly, they added a small sprinkle of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and topped it off with a big old helping of arcade-style dodging, and BOOM! You end up with a finished product that we now call #BLUD.

Becky Brewster is a girl who has moved to the new town of Carpentersville. She is tasked with making new friends, figuring out how to survive elementary school, and training to fight off the vampire beings summoned by the new social media company. It’s like, No Big. I will state that this game is a lot more enjoyable with a game controller than with a Keyboard and mouse. I found the fighting skills and controls to be very hard to complete as smoothly as the latter.

The gameplay is straightforward. The biggest time is spent exploring. Navigating the town of Carpentersville is a joy as the areas are compact and filled with obvious landmarks, while a gradually unlocked fast travel system does speed things up in the late game. I was enthralled with being able to revisit spots to unlock other things to see or do or better yet, what did the Raven bring me?

Puzzles within this world are straightforward and they range in difficulty. Some challenges require searching for items in a specific location, while some are as simple as remembering your school lessons about the solar system. There are also some crystal puzzles throughout the world that reward your diligent exploration and observation with more health.

Combat also acts as a kind of a puzzle. While basic enemies are simple enough to whack with Becky’s hockey stick, some need to be blocked to knock them off balance, and others need to have you physically dig it out of the ground. The different enemy varieties keep fights interesting, as you learn to juggle the ideal methods of dispatching your foes in each battle. Occasionally you’ll have to solve a dungeon, usually in the form of the school basement or an abandoned building, but the process uses most of the same mechanics as the standard exploration.

Where #BLUD shines, however, is in its aesthetics. It mainly reminds me of the likes of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, with highly expressive yet angular character designs. They lean into this aesthetic at every opportunity, with not just character sprites but also character portraits for speech boxes being constantly in motion. The writing style is goofy, constantly playing with conventions of both video game tropes but also the horror genre as a whole. Dialogue is consistently playful, and some of the story beats are absurd (one chapter focuses on chasing a demon goat, for instance). Comedy is often hard to get right in games, but #BLUD manages to nail its tone and remain genuinely funny throughout. It’s also surprisingly sincere at times, with one portion of the game featuring Becky wishing she could just be normal and not a vampire-hunting badass. The writing team must be commended for how good it is.

The story also loves its social media satire, hence the hashtag in the title. Your quest list is provided by Perch, a social media style network, which is based on the X-style. Becky’s friends will post updates, usually as hints towards your objectives, but it adds a lot of fun banter with the cast. Don’t forget to post your pictures at specific landmarks on Perch, this will also have your friends respond and sometimes give hints about the area. Perch is also a double-edged sword for Becky as well, which you the player will discover as the game progresses.

The visual style can often get in the later on, some attack telegraphing can be hard to spot as animations can sometimes be hard to distinguish. The attack timings can sometimes feel unintuitive, and a few boss fights made this obvious, as large-scale attacks often fill the screen with little warning. The collision detection of enemy attacks gets noticeably more awkward as you progress, as the dodge roll proves ineffective in many situations. Not to mention enemies that would spawn, without warning, directly onto where I was standing, giving them a free hit.

However, I wholeheartedly believe these flaws should be overlooked simply because of how charming the game is. #BLUD has a fun story, genuine laughs, and a brilliant cartoony aesthetic. While it does have some rough edges, this is a fun little adventure that’s worth looking into.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This review was written based on a PC review code for #BLUD provided by Exit 73 Studios and Humble Games.

Related posts

DeathSprint 66 Gets An Exhilarating First Behind-The-Scenes Trailer

Richard Bailey Jr.

Destiny 2: The Final Shape Video Review – A 10-Year Story Masterclass

Danny Martinez

Assassin’s Creed Shadows Is Shaping Up To Be Another Hard-Hitting Classic

Richard Bailey Jr.