Discover Blade Runner with extra blades in our Blade Assault review.
The market has been flooded with roguelites over the years due to the popularity of the genre. Fluro saturated sci-fi video games and films are also staying in vogue. As I booted up the Blade Assault and saw the skyline of the upperclass skycity of Esperanza, the corrupt rulers of the world, I anticipated moody cyberpunk action.
And oh boy did I get that! Blade Runner was sent out into the world on January 17th 2022, created by Team Suneat and published by Neowiz. It’s a solid, fun time, but it doesn’t jump out extraordinary either. The upshot; a good time with a few janky edges to razor away. So is this blade sharp or blunt? Find out in our Blade Assault review.
Blade Assault Review – Story
The plot isn’t super important to the Blade Assault. The world also isn’t particularly fleshed out. You stay for the lazers, blood and seedy bars, not deep storytelling or profound dialogue. You play as Kil, who wants sweet sweet revenge against the military dictator empire Esperanza.
After an attempted prison break, you’re backhand slapped so hard by the Big Bads that you fall down from the heights of the dazzling sky city (in a gorgeous establishing shot) into the dank, mutant infested underclass dwellings below. You and a ragtag bunch of rogues come together to give that dastardly empire get their comeuppance.
You get tiny bits of character development and other titbits on the world, but the real focus is the gameplay and that loop of challenging oneself with another run, and another, and another. The plot and characters are too vague and undeveloped to really have any kind of impact, which is a shame. Some interesting plot threads were hinted at, but disappointingly nothing was done with them.
Blade Assault Review – Gameplay
Blade Assault is a 2D platformer rouguelite that puts you in charge of Kil, who employs a chainsaw sword (a chasword?) to slice and dice his enemies. After a while of messing around with Revenge Man ™, you get access to others, such as Darcy and Jenny. Darcy uses a katana to nimbly swish about the screen, cutting up her foes for a hit and run. Jenny is a shadowy assassin who primarily uses a Kusurigama (a chain sickle – I had to google it, too) that is laced with poison.
Being able to switch characters with unique playstyles helps keep the combat fresh. Jett is a fourth character added in the 1.2 update. He uses his fists for some big damage, acting as a melee fighter to widen the pool of options for different play-styles.
The meat to sink your teeth into with this game is the abilities and upgrades you can acquire for the characters. Mixing and matching your build for various limb tearing results is entertaining. There are three elements that you can play around with are ice, fire, as well as lightning. Lighting can chain to damage multiple enemies, fire gives a a stacked burn debuff and ice freezes and increases your resistance.
There are passives for your weapons, as well as sub weapon attacks, skills you can upgrade etc. This leads to fabulous chaos on the screen, pushing you to keep moving from stage to stage. The bosses healthbars were a bit too spongy for my liking at times, though, which was frustrating rather than a fair challenge.
And speaking of screens, mine felt like a bunch of party poppers going off at a five-year-old’s birthday. All the element-slinging and bullet blasts are great, but it can get *too* busy and make it hard to figure out where things are at times.
Blade Assault – Visuals and Audio
In terms of feel, channel the distant landscape of the 80’s, such as Blade Runner, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Street Fighter, and then you’ll be able to place your finger on the atmosphere the developers were going for. The pixel artwork is pleasant, and the colours in some scenes really do pop out with a fluoro splash.
The music was memorable, with energized, electronic tracks that kept pace with the insanity happening on the screen. The blood pumping doof-doof beat to the main theme and other tunes was head-bang inducing.
Intense techno beats in the main theme of Blade Assault.
All the elements that the game has are good, but they never seem to come together enough to develop a strong identity, and so the game just didn’t have that sticking power for me personally. However, it is a fun button mash kinda roguelite. The game has been receiving a steady stream of updates by it’s devoted dev team to iron out any bugs, and adding modifications.
So why should you play Blade Assault?
- You like cyperpunk bloodbaths
- Fluro, detailed pixel art
- Mix and match customization is your jam
But why shouldn’t you play Blade Assault?
- You want more meat to the story
- Too much chaos on the screen is confusing for you
- You want something with a longer playtime
A review code on Nintendo Switch was kindly provided for the purpose of our Blade Assault review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of our roguelike/roguelite reviews, and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about all things indie gaming!