Bleed

Hey, there’s this game on XBLIG and it looks kind of neat and the demo was okay but I’m not sure if its worth the money.  Would you review it?

Sure!  Anything for my fans.  What game is it?

It’s called Bleed.

Just Bleed?

Just Bleed.

Huh.  No funny accents on the letters?

What do you mean?

Well, I mean they could call it BleƐd with a Latin style E.  You know, to add a touch of class?  Or perhaps Bl€€D with two Euro signs.  You know, just to change things up?

Um, no.  It’s just Bleed.

Oh.  Okay.  Seems like a generic name that’s about as memorable as a cup of instant soup, but whatever.  I’m duty bound to review games when fans request them and OH SWEET JESUS it cost 400 Microsoft Points?

Yea.

Seriously?

Hey, why do you think we want you to review it?

And that’s where the conversation was left off at.  I can see why so many of my readers were requesting a review of this one.  The opening level, which I’m sure is as far as the demo goes, is a bit on the generic side.  And although the game seems like it could be pretty good, there’s enough unanswered questions that Bleed really is a bit of a high-risk investment, at least as far as XBLIGs go.  I mean, for the price of it you could get all five of the top games on my Leaderboard.  Survey any number of people and ask them if they’re willing to buy a new product one-for-the-price-of-five with the five being the top five competing products in whatever field.  People would look at you like your eyeballs just grew their own noses.  They would bill you for the seven seconds of their life you just wasted.  And if they’re going to do that, those seven seconds ought to be spent coming up with a better name for your fucking game, especially since you didn’t take seven whole seconds to think it through.

In short, the name sucks and the price sucks harder.  Are we clear on that?  Good.

Bleed is fucking awesome.

I almost didn't get to play it. The lightning effects in the opening stage nearly put the kibosh on this review. Thankfully they weren't as bad as Fez.

I almost didn’t get to play it. The lightning effects in the opening stage nearly put the kibosh on this review. Thankfully they weren’t as bad as Fez.

Seriously, this is one of the best Xbox Live Indie Games of the year.  I didn’t get that vibe out of it at first.  The opening stage is, maybe not exactly dull, but it’s not awe-inspiring either.  The corny (but delightfully well-written) story centers around Wryn, a spunky pink-haired chick with dreams of being the biggest hero in gaming history.  She decides the best way to go about becoming this is to go around killing all the previous top heroes.  It’s funny, but it’s not as cool as it sounds.  Obviously the guys at Bootdisk Revolution couldn’t use all the real biggest stars in gaming, nor did they even try to make close facsimiles.  So you won’t see Wryn bust a cap in a fat Italian plumber named Angelo, or an elfish adventurer named Lenk.  The actual bosses seem more like run-of-the-mill bosses that you would expect to encounter in a 2D platformer.  It’s a bit disappointing, like hearing about an epic sounding movie and getting all excited only to find out it’s being broadcast on Syfy and starring Billy Zane or Tim Curry.

The first thing you notice about Bleed is movement is smooth and responsive, and that the jumping is going to be a bitch.  It’s mapped to the right trigger, because shooting is done TwickS-style and thus having A jump would be impossible.  Still, I kind of wish it had been mapped to the less bulky, more analog right-bumper.  But what really is awkward about it is how double jumping works.  Instead of just flinging yourself in the air a little higher, the character launches like a jet.  You can do this twice before landing.  It reminded me of Pikachu’s return-attack in Smash Bros.  I could never do that fucking thing right either.  It’s certainly not a deal breaker, as evidenced by the blow-job I’m about to bestow upon Bleed, but it never felt quite right at any point during the 90 minute main quest.

screen4

The jumping physics really are my only complaint.  Everything else about Bleed is really astonishing.  Levels are fast-paced, well designed, and full of twists and surprises.  Retro-nerds will get their jollies from elements borrowed liberally from such games as Mega Man 2.  The shooting really is so well done.  You have unlimited ammo and no range-limits, giving your character full 360 degree control over firing upon enemies.  The starting weapons, a pistol and a rocket launcher, are probably enough to finish the game with.  However, you earn points in every level that you can spend in a shop to unlock alternative guns.  For some reason, only two can be equipped at a time, which is lame.  Also lame is the flame-thrower, which was the first weapon I bought.  Go figure.  It’s the only weapon of the lot that I found to be ineffectual.  Everything else not only works, but experimenting with how to best use them is entertaining and rewarding.  And there are just enough guns to unlock to stretch the play time without overly padding things out.

Ultimately, Bleed is a worthy purchase because it’s focused on generating fun.  Levels never feel too long.  Bosses never feel too spongy.  Design never feels unfair.  And there’s so many clever ideas at play here that it’s amazing they could keep them all so balanced.  Even the writing is sharp, and the big plot twist towards the end was hilarious and awesome.  Once you beat the game, extra play modes open that might squeeze more value for your 400MSP.  I still think the price is a bit insane, but Bleed is unquestionably a cut above most XBLIGs.  But seriously, what the fuck is up with that name?  I could find no connection at all with the name and the game.  Would it have been better if it had been called Adventures of Pink-Frizzy Haired Homicidal Crazy Chick?  Yes, actually it would have.  It’s sad that the awful name and prohibitive price will turn off most potential gamers who spot it on the marketplace.  It’s enough to make you cry tears of blood.

Ohhhhhhhhhh.  So that’s where the name comes from.

IGC_ApprovedxboxboxartBleed was developed by Bootdisk Revolution

400 Microsoft Points said “shave 160 MSP off the price and it might have had a chance” in the making of this review.

Bleed is very much Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

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39 Responses to Bleed

  1. Mike says:

    I’d buy the hell out of this game if it weren’t for the control scheme. Playing a platformer and a twin stick shooter at the same time is my version of walking and chewing bubble gum. I’d happily give up the ability to move in one direction and fire in another if the developer would just let me jump with A, fire with X, and move/aim with the left stick.

    • I think I earned my degree in gaming when I beat this game on Normal difficulty. It’s that awkward. Those rewarding “matrix” like moments are freaking hard to achieve, and most of the time I feel like I’m just spamming “bullet time” as often as I can to avoid all the frantic cheap deaths. In other words, I agree, this is a special version of hell. But totally freaking enjoyable if you want to beat the hell out of this game.

  2. it’s a no-go on the controls.

  3. camazotz says:

    Well dammit I’m going to go check this out now. First time you’ve ever recommended a game since I started reading, so far as I can recall….

  4. I think the control scheme is brilliant. Some things to keep in mind:

    – Bullet time. It’s there for a reason. Much like the shield in the recent XBLIG bullet hell “Aeternum”, you use it because it’s a part of the game. It isn’t a crutch. It isn’t cheating. It isn’t some last-ditch effort to avoid what you THINK you should be able to avoid otherwise. It’s the right tool for the right job. Case in point: the speedy train stage boss (Bunny what’s-her-face). She’s pretty much impossible to shoot when she’s zipping around, but slow the game down and the boss fight becomes completely different. Was probably my favorite overall boss fight in the game (the last boss had some ups and downs) for this reason.

    – Jumping without the A button should be intuitive by now for nerds like us. There should be controllers made specifically for high-level gamers (especially FPS/TPS gamers) that have each and every single button on the back of the controller. A friend of mine used to mod his controller for that very purpose. There’s a reason why most competitive fighting game players use an arcade stick, and that’s mostly because each button is available in the least amount of time. That said, I think there should be an “easy” control mode for people who don’t want to adapt…and then they’ll adapt because they’ll eventually see just how bad it is.

    – Everything is either able to be escaped during the attack or avoided prior to it via visual/audio cues. Nothing is too cheap.

    – If you have to choose between concentrating on defeating the enemy and concentrating on keeping alive, do the latter. I know that probably goes without saying, but even I find moments where I focus on accuracy against my foes rather than studying and avoiding the pattern of attack in this and other platformers/shooters, and it’ll cost me health or a life.

    I bought and finished Normal mode this morning while running a load of laundry (in other words, less than 70 minutes with a lot of deaths), and if I wasn’t at work today I’d be home going through Hard (and maybe Very Hard) right this minute. I can’t recommend this game enough. Probably the best XBLIG released this year, and if I had to choose between playing this and playing single-player Gunstar Heroes (one of the best platformer-shooters in the history of the genre), I think I’d play this. Considering I’m a 31-year old that grew up with Contra, Metal Slug, Castlevania SOTN, and Gunstar Heroes…that’s saying a LOT.

  5. argamae says:

    I gave the demo a try and I didn’t like the game at all. On the plus side, I did not find the control scheme a big problem. On the contrary – by the nth death fighting the first boss I really got used to it. *cough* The difficulty on normal is a bit steep for my tastes but I don’t exactly excel at this kind of game. But I totally did not dig the graphics style, enemy designs and sounds. Don’t know but they put me off. While I am not sold on BLEED I think that it is a really decent game if you’re really into it.

  6. Jimmy Page says:

    I think this is a case of a developer not really checking their markets fully before going in. The game costs £3.99 on steam here in the UK which I’m told by various sites is 406 Microsoft points. The issue is while I’ll happily pay £3.99 for an indie game on steam because you know short of steam going down this game will be playable and available to me for the next X years on however many computers I get as long as steam supports the platform and the dev does too.
    On XBLIG unless Microsoft go over all gooey and let people port their titles over then its not going to keep with me as much.
    There are games out there worth 400 Microsoft points but in the present XBLIG market you’re better aiming with 240 as the high price point and 80 as the low rather than going for 400 or at least that’s what I believe. As Steam and XBLIG are very different markets with Steam having people buying cheaper titles just for the hell of it while on XBLIG its essentially people looking for some really good deal / hidden gem title.

  7. I absolutely love this game. The controls do take getting used to. Okay, a LOT of getting used to. But once you get used to the controls, actually think the use the bullet time often instead of just as a last ditch thing, and play around with the weapons and what works better in which situations, this is one of the best platformer shooters around.

    I played all the way through normal this weekend and leveled up my character enough to tackle a few of the stages on hard. Then, after very many tries I was finally able to beat the first level on V Hard. It has a bit of grindmanship to it, where the more you play the better both you as a player and your character become, allowing you to tackle harder and harder challenges and difficulty levels. I suspect I’ll be playing this until I can beat the entire story on V Hard, pulling off crazy dodging stunts and wanting more still. If I have a complaint it’s that the game is too short for a $5 game on XBLIG, but it’s not like it’s THAT short. I just want more.

    Damn fine job guys. Damn fine job.

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  10. Dean says:

    Indie Gamer Chick? get a dick you ho.

  11. james says:

    I got it on PC today off steam and the controls are good on it (once you’ve figured out that you actually still need to aim up with your double jump to go out) I really enjoyed it and I’m currently playing through on a harder difficulty to unlock more characters

  12. Boon says:

    Its a sweet game and if you think its boring you should try that shit on very hard or arcade mode with 1 life for the whole playthrough haha. The reason the dash (which has 3 jumps not 2 as the review says haha) is bound to the wasd for direction is so that on higher difficulties you can dodge in 1 direction and fire in another which is soo needed on hard +. 5/5 £3.50 on steam played like 40 hours so worth.

  13. Charles says:

    I’ll agree with some of the previous comments and say that the control scheme is a bit cumbersome. Using a controller was still far better than trying to manage with mouse and keyboard. However, once I got used to it the game became something wonderful to play. I only discovered this on PC once it got on to Steam and I’m glad I picked it up. I still can’t get through arcade mode on easy though – I’m just not that coordinated.

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  16. Gamer says:

    You recommend some but your to negative 75 percent of the time which makes people think it sucks.

    And I have a hard time seeing how some of your games are reviewed, I understand you got your own style but bias blinds people from being objective.

    And is all the insulting just for show or what? It just seems real immature or forced.

    • My reviews are not objective. Reviews are subjective personal opinions. I also fail to see where I display bias here. I also believe that you have to highlight what’s wrong about a game in order to legitimize what works about a game. If I just focus on the good stuff, that would make me a cheerleader that doesn’t help developers except for making them feel good. Fuck that.

      Thanks for the feedback though.

      • Gamer says:

        I mean your reviews in general seem to hold quite a bit bias, and there’s a difference between healthy criticism and an excuse to insult someone’s work. To many people hide behind the word opinion, a review should be a review not an opinion there’s enough of those already. And I do agree with you that indie devs need criticism but your style and some points are questionable is all I’m saying.

        • “a review should be a review not an opinion”

          I’ll tell you what: when you find a review that’s not an opinion, get back to me.

          • hmmmm says:

            I loved how you cut off the rest of my point real mature grow the fuck indie gamer child.

            And I know plenty.

            • I just don’t understand where you’re coming from. Game reviews are subjective personal opinions. A review without opinion isn’t a review: it’s a summary. That’s not what I do.

              And it’s not insulting someone’s work to say it’s not perfect.

              By the way, the developers of Bleed, since this review has gone up, have gone on to become some of my best friends among game developers. They just hosted a contest here a few weeks ago. We talk on a regular basis. They don’t believe I “insulted their work” as you put it. If you don’t believe me, ask them yourself. I get along with the development community. There is a lot of mutual respect.

              • hmmmm says:

                Yea some are and some aren’t personal opinion for example, I can’t stand cal of duty but I’m going to be honest and tell you that the controls are tight, the graphica are amazing, and the gameplay has depth or whatever. Maybe games shouldnt have so much personal opinion in them and I wasn’t only talking about bleed I’m glad you made friends with the devs

                But many people are lead away due to silly opinions instead of actual reviews.

                • Your Call of Duty example doesn’t work though because you’re basing it on the belief that there will be a universal consensus of how well a game controls. There won’t be. So if I dislike the controls of one game, I shouldn’t say I feel otherwise. Aren’t you in essence advocating for dishonesty in a review? If my reviews don’t contain my true, authentic opinion on a game, what good are they?

                  And what makes an opinion “silly” versus “valid”. Is it only valid if the opinion agrees with your point of view, and silly if it disagrees?

          • I’ve taken the liberty of editing your review in order to make it objective – after reading this version, I’m not sure I’ll be purchasing this game :p

            Bleed

            The story centers around Wryn, a pink-haired chick with dreams of being the biggest hero in gaming history. She decides the best way to go about becoming this is to go around killing all the previous top heroes.

            Shooting is done TwickS-style. You can do [double jumping] twice before landing.

            You have unlimited ammo and no range-limits, giving your character full 360 degree control over firing upon enemies. The starting weapons [are] a pistol and a rocket launcher. You earn points in every level that you can spend in a shop to unlock alternative guns. Only two can be equipped at a time.

            Once you beat the game, extra play modes open.

            Bleed was developed by Bootdisk Revolution
            400 Microsoft Points said [redacted]

        • hmmmm says:

          Could you repost that last one? Its all one letter each line and I’m not even going to attempt.

          • Your Call of Duty example doesn’t work though because you’re basing it on the belief that there will be a universal consensus of how well a game controls. There won’t be. So if I dislike the controls of one game, I shouldn’t say I feel otherwise. Aren’t you in essence advocating for dishonesty in a review? If my reviews don’t contain my true, authentic opinion on a game, what good are they?

            And what makes an opinion “silly” versus “valid”. Is it only valid if the opinion agrees with your point of view, and silly if it disagrees?

            • hmmmm says:

              I’m not saying you shouldn’t be honest, but you can also be morw objective at the same time, but we don’t need to express evert detail of our emotion or thoughts when people google reviews they just want to know if its good or not, they could care less about how we feel.

              I can sit here and say I thought dmc was bad just because I’m to attached to the old ones and ao.many smc.fans would exagerate there opinion ans give it lower scores from there dislike of the changes alone and this is wrong and because of mostly fans it got very mixed reviews, the game is actually good. But because of that we may never see another dmc game.

              I do like this conversation and ee both are making valid points. And I do believe I misjudged you I’m an old gamer so, I don’t agree with peoples standards of gaming today 100 percent but I do live in the now.

              • See though, you’re now advocating against the very thing that earned me my following and popularity. I don’t review like everyone else. There are plenty of generic game critics that are interchangeable with one-another. If I’m not your cup of tea, go to them.

                By the way, the glitch was on your end, not mine. For someone who talks about being insulting, you’re the only one calling names and being rude in these comments. You’ve shown impatience when I wasn’t immediately around to approve it.

                http://indiegamerchick.com/2011/09/17/dead-pixels/#comment-17253

                And now here. I checked with a few people. The comments are showing up just fine, and you’re being a douche about it. I would think someone who would call someone else “Indie Gamer Child” would want to, you know, not act like a spoiled child. Such behavior has no place here.

              • hmmmm says:

                First of all I never said it was on your end, seconly you still didn’t prove my point and you felt the need to attack when I said something nice.

                And I’m pretty damn sure I asked you to repost never demanding it real.mature chick real.mature and what a way to avoid the point.

              • Charles says:

                I’ve been keeping track of this conversation all day and I really have to side with Indie Gamer Chick. If people “just want to know if [a game is] good or not”, then they are asking for an opinion. The quality of a game is entirely subjective based on who happens to be playing it. As a game critic myself, I have to wonder how you expect someone to say something is good or not in an objective way since that implies a value judgement.
                The one thing that finally drove me into piping up about this is your comment of “I’m an old gamer” which implies a lot, but mostly that you’re saying that you believe yourself to be more mature or knowledgeable than IGC here. Of course you don’t say that directly, but it wasn’t a subtle or tactful implication.

                • hmmmm says:

                  I can’t read this well, but I’m not the only one who thinks this way in fact allot do, the longer you game or live life the more you realise that opinions are usually far from the truth espicially in gaming ans my guess is most of you have a while.

                • No point in further going. The dude has been name calling and snotty from the get go and I just blocked him from further commenting.

                  You were right. The implication was that he was older and thus is opinion is more validated. I guess. Thankfully the world doesn’t work like that though.

      • hmmmm says:

        I don’t mind my message was approved it was meant for you anyhow but you know I have a point, I think your a cool person in many ways but in some way slacking and we all do. Its just something to consider.

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