Bleed Review

Wryn is a simple girl, with simple needs. All she wants to do is murder, explode and eviscerate the former heroes of the world, who’ve grown lazy and complacent, so that she can become the new greatest hero. Is that so much to ask?

Bleed is a 2-D twinstick shooter/platformer that originally released back in December 2012 by Bootdisk Revolution on the now defunct Xbox Live Indie Games service on the Xbox 360. It’s recently been rebranded as the Creator’s Program, but it follows the same ideology: putting creative tools in the hands of everyone and giving them the ability to share their games with the world. Granted, most of them were awful beat ‘em ups and Minecraft clones, but the idea itself was brilliant. Plus, there was some genuine fun to be had amongst the garbage. Who remembers “I Made A Game With Zombies In It!”?

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Fast forward to now, and Bleed is being re-released as a full game, with achievements too! What a time to be alive. A lot has changed since then, with games like Butcher giving fans of the genre some memorable highlights, so does this game still stack up?

For the most part, Bleed follows the typical formula of 2-D shooters: do a platforming section, fight bosses then beat the level. It’s hardly breaking the mold, but it does what it needs to do very well. The bosses and mini-bosses that you’ll encounter across the 7 levels are varied enough to make each fight a unique challenge, but follow distinct patterns which make them beatable.

It’s old school gaming at its most fundamental: learn the pattern and strike when vulnerable. Again, it’s hardly original but the formula works, and it helps that controlling Wryn feels fast and responsive, and the controls themselves are perfectly suited to slaughtering former heroes. With jump mapped to the right trigger, it’s incredibly easy for you to move around the level whilst blasting the enemies.

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Bleed boasts 12 different kinds of weapons to use on your crusade, though most have to be unlocked either by completing the game or unlocking them at the shop. There’s fun to be had experimenting with different loadouts on different levels to see what works, but ultimately the starting pistols seem to be the best all around tools for whatever you encounter. The other weapons are too situational to recommend as anything other than the occasional secondary.

Fortunately, Wryn’s ability to slow down time proves to be infinitely more useful than half of her armoury. By holding down left trigger, time slows to a crawl, giving you a greater opportunity to escape projectile barrages unscathed or to capitalise on a boss’ vulnerable moments. It’s easily the most effective tool in Wryn’s arsenal, and one you should use as much as possible.

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The longevity might be an issue for some. As stated earlier, the game only has 7 levels and competent players can get those done on the normal difficulty setting in around two hours at most. Though there are 4 difficulty settings and an arcade mode which tasks you with completing the game on one life, such things are only really appealing to those hardcore players.

The biggest flaw of Bleed is the time spent between boss fights. The platforming sections are easily the weakest part of the whole game, as the action and tension are reduced significantly. The obstacles are also annoying and can feel cheap in some areas. The bubbles in level 6 are particularly troublesome, for instance. Still, Bleed is a great 2-D shooter, available at a reasonable price to boot. Now we just wait for Bootdisk Revolution to bring the sequel out on Xbox One too. It’s okay, we’ll be patient.

Bleed is available right now on the Xbox Store for £7.99. Are you interesting in playing it, or do you think it looks bleeding awful? Check out the trailer and sound off in the comments.

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