The age-old argument about video games being too violent has plagued the industry I love for decades. Games have been branded with derogatory terms and parents have campaigned against the release of particularly controversial games. To counter this, gamers of all ages have argued that games don’t glorify violence but rather use it as a tool to increase engagement and entertainment in the medium, similarly to the film industry.
Hotline Miami, Katana Zero and My Friend Pedro have helped to elevate the over the top action genre to new heights, and Paper Cult have recognised this and developed the formula with the bloody fantastic Bloodroots. An appealing element of the genre is the core gameplay loop and Bloodroots nails this. You are tasked with brutally annihilating all the enemies in a specified area, however, the sheer range methods and weapons at your disposal make this endlessly entertaining. The game encourages improvisation and as a result, you will start to experiment with the wacky range of items you come across. From slapping enemies with a dead fish to skewering people like a kebab, the game has an addictive gameplay loop which will keep you saying ‘one more go’.
One more go…
To keep you coming back, the game has to be challenging and damn… this is tough! Other games in the genre, have similar elements such as a one-hit-kill/death system which adds to the tension in levels. However, the reload times are instant so you are never waiting to get back into the action. Due to this, evasion and planning become vital for survival. After dying countless times (this will happen), you begin to remember the patterns and enemy positions and in a zen-like moment, you will obliterate everyone in an area, making you feel like a complete bad-ass.
The game’s use of the camera is remarkable. The game will shift its angle to suit particular parts of the action. This may alter from an isometric view to overhead and even side-scrolling in an instant, which helps to keep the gameplay feeling fresh. On top of this, the game does a brilliant job of introducing new weapons periodically through the game. Each weapon acts differently and is used as a mechanic in particular areas which adds variety to the gameplay loop.
The highlight of the game is the incredible boss battles. The game has three acts, each of which concludes with a unique fight with a character that has been present throughout the chapter. This where your skills are truly tested. Perfect timing, evasion and striking are key to complete the bosses in a rewarding, difficult fight.
The game is set in the (wicked, wicked) Wild Wild West and graphically, the game resembles the brilliant Guacamelee. The cartoony design and zany humour compliment the hostile and vicious nature of the gameplay. Adding to this is the final action kill scene. At the end of each area, you will get a sleek cutscene of Mr Wolf killing the final enemy in some unique and horrific manner.
The old west comes to life through the audio in Bloodroots. The western-style licks and riffs help build the world and anchor the game in a time period. On top of this, the sound effects are also excellent. Every slash, crack and smash sounds brilliant and increases the violence that permeates the game.
In terms of longevity, the game has three acts weighing in at around 6 hours of gameplay depending on skill level. On top of this, each level is replayable and this is encouraged with a ranking system and leaderboards. There are also collectables in each level which unlocks hats with special abilities that you can equip and re-do old levels with.
Bloodroots is an intense action platformer that will leave you feeling like John Wick. The game is challenging but it never feels unfair and as a result, each area and section feels doable which helps to create an addictive gameplay loop. Fans of the genre should check this game out. The game, story and audio are all brilliant and due to this, the game receives a Thumb Culture Gold Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
This article was written by Jaz Sagoo