Blade Assault – PS5 Review

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The Roguelike/Roguelite genre has become more and more popular with recent games like Returnal and Hades receiving high praise both critically and from players. Blade Assault is a 2D Action Roguelite Platformer that enters the arena of this challenging yet rewarding game genre.

Slash ‘n’ Dash – Blade Assault

Created by South Korea based developers – Team Suneat and published by PM Studios, it is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam. There is also a physical version available from Numskull Games (PS4, PS5 & Switch).

Gameplay

As part of the Undercity resistance force, you are on a mission to bring the corrupt to justice. Heading towards Esperanza, a sky city where the rich and powerful rule over the rest of the world, you must grow in strength to take on the onslaught of increasingly punishing enemies and bosses.

a 2d pixel art character slices through some blue crab like creatures as they attack him. The environment is dark and dreary with orange sparks spitting form the melee
slash, slice and stab

Along the way, other characters will offer you quests, unique upgrades and special abilities. Some will even present tempting rolls of the dice whose alluring buffs are often offset by onerous effects. It’s a total risk-reward play.

Upgrades are purchased using in-game currency of which there are four types. These currencies can be earned by beating enemies and smashing objects. Along the journey, players will find a special terminal that allows converting currency from one type to another. The game could do a better job of the tutorial side of things. Some elements go unexplained and some extra hand holding in the early stages would be a welcome addition.

2 pixel art characters in dialogue in the interior of an extra long stretch limousine which is being driven by a droid. There is a purple neon hue across the interior.
who is this guy?

Some of the control scheme choices are a bit odd. The use of the directional up and down buttons to interact with characters and open chests doesn’t work great and I often accidentally purchased an upgrade from a chest before I could pick the item I wanted.

Graphics & Audio

Blade Assault features a wonderfully cinematic and truly great opening and took me totally by surprise. A nice unexpected treat that sets the tone for the adventure ahead. Characters and enemies are well designed and varied.

a character performing a special spin attack on some enemies in Blade Assault. The attack produces a red semi circular flame around the character
unleash some special attacks

The pixel art is excellent and vibrant throughout with cool animations, vivid neon lighting and gorgeously detailed backgrounds. It’s all brought together in a brilliantly realised grim sci-fi world.

A feast for the ears the soundtrack is kick ass with a killer cyberpunk kind of vibe to most of it. Strangely though at some points, the music playing doesn’t quite fit the tone.

Longevity

The staying power of this game will be down to how you develop your skills and hone your build. Being agile during fights and being mindful of enemies’ attack tells is key to success. Employing the dodge at the apt moment can make or break.

A 2D pixel art character with spiked white hair and wearing a black leather jacket is standing in a small dark bedroom lit by a single dull ceiling light
fight, die, repeat

There’s an Easy Mode available from the settings menu which offers the same experience with a 50% reduction to damage taken.

For trophy hunters, there are 27 to grab here – 10 bronze, 9 silver, 7 gold and a platinum.

Final Thoughts

While not perfect Blade Assault is fantastically addictive and engrossingly challenging. The ramp up in difficulty is nicely balanced with building your skills for an epic run being so rewarding.

If you’ve never tried a Rougelite/Roguelike game before this is a fun place to start.  If this genre is normally your jam then there are some deep levelling systems here to get lost in.

This one unlocks the perpetual perk of a Thumb Culture Gold Award for itself.

 

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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