Do you remember waking up early on a Saturday morning? Your parents are still asleep, you stumble downstairs into the kitchen and make yourself a huge bowl of whatever sugar rush providing cereal you can find. Plunking down in front of your television set, the sand fading from your eyes, the vibrant lights of cartoon action and wacky sounds engross your attention. With each bite you fall further into the void of childhood bliss. This familiar childhood dimension is where Bleed 2 resides.
Bleed 2 is a fast-paced, arcade action game that never lets up. Developed by Bootdisk Revolution out of Toronto ON, it is a follow-up to the 2012 release Bleed. First off, I have to give props to Ian Campbell and the rest of the small team for pulling this off. I love to see what quality can truly be produced out of a labor of love, and it is very apparent based on the dev blogs and just playing this game that there is a personal interesting in its development. Why keep you waiting, it’s time for my tried and true patented PSVG review breakdown!
The player assumes the control of young Wryn, the world’s greatest and apparently only remaining hero! You just had your latest video game session interrupted by space invaders bent on destroying the Earth! How dare they! Beyond this brief intro and some newsreel narration between each level, that’s all you get here. Honestly, you don’t need anything more. This game is not about the story, that’s merely a vessel to get you between each high-action and boss-butt-kicking sequence! Just jump in!
Bleed 2 features 7 level with over 25 boss fights to take on. This is what the game is all about, the actual gameplay. Wryn has a couple different abilities that you will really to master (I haven’t yet), in order to succeed at this game: shooting, reflect bullets, triple-air-dodge, and slow time. Be prepared to have a ton of enemy fire coming at you all at once and you must chain together these skills to not only survive, but to also get that high score. Reflectable shots are color coded and it was always easy for me to tell what I would be able to reflect and what I couldn’t. After an initial control swap, the game feels tight and responsive. Any deaths were due to my own error and I never felt like the controls were to blame. I ultimately felt most comfortable with mouse/keyboard as I really needed that extra aiming precision to feel confident. Gamepad controlled equally as well on PC, I just did not care for the twin-stick layout.
Deaths may occur frequently, but at least on normal difficulty, the player has unlimited continues and can jump right back into the action where they left off. The key to progression is accurate control input combined with pattern recognition. Two very key components of this genre. Bleed 2 succeeds in this area. In addition to the story mode, players can also tackle arcade AND there is even a co-op option, which as of this review going up, your author has not yet experienced. Arcade is essentially the same game as the story mode, however, you only have 1 life and can claw your way up the leaderboard. New to mix things up further? The game offers 4 difficulty modes that swap up set-pieces, enemy placement, and boss patterns! Very cool stuff.
With that said, I’m not sure there if there enough here to keep players coming back for more. I was rewarded with unlockable characters and weapons after completing the story and with it only taking around 45 minutes to do so, there is opportunity to enjoy this game repeatedly, but will they do so? I think this will weigh differently on each individual player. I personally would like to improve my overall performance and would love to be able to put the game through its paces on a higher difficulty. Will that drive you as well?
Audio and Presentation
Bleed 2 has a kickass soundtrack! That’s all I need to say. Each level gave me an accurate level of hype thanks to the tunes rocking in the background. Just watch this announcement trailer and you will get a pretty good idea of what awaits you:
I’m very much reminded of classic flash games on Newgrounds when I play this game. Very gratifying, short bursts of action. The art style appears to be 16-bit pixels and I feel that it fits the game perfectly. There was no slowdown on screen and the game flowed nicely. The action ebbs and flows and Bleed 2 definitely does not take itself too seriously. Re-read my Saturday Morning Cartoon intro once more and all the pieces will fall into place.
Bleed 2 is very enjoyable experience. The blast of music, colors, and action totally make this game a great palette cleanser to enjoy it short bursts. While it may not have the hooks to keep your attention in the long run, what you will be able to experience in short the term makes up for it. This is a great improvement on the groundwork that was laid during Bleed and I look forward to what this dev creates next!
+Gameplay -Replay Value