Bleed is an ‘Old School’ all action 2-D shooter/platformer from developers Bootdisk Revolution. It was originally released for the Xbox 360 back in December 2012, followed by a Windows release in early 2013 – available through Desura, Steam and the developer’s website. Shoot forward 5 years and it’s back! Whats more, its now available on the Xbox One! The question is though, just how does Bleed stack up 5 years later?
Remember the old school games from the past? Well, so do the developers! Bleed uses an old, but popular layout within each level – platforming and killing, mini boss killing, more platforming and killing followed by a final boss too, erm.. kill! With 7 levels of action, the game isn’t very long, and any seasoned gamer should be able to polish it off in around 2 hours. But the old school ‘feel’ appeals to the older gamer – like myself, and I couldn’t help but going back to it once complete.
Bleed focuses on combat and action over substance, and that’s generally not a bad thing for this genre of game. With a few simple controls, you can feel like a total badass, dispelling everything in your way. Utilising a twin stick combo for shooting – with one for aim and one for fire, a handy triple jump and the ability to slow time briefly, the controls all flow well together. There is a constant need to do multiple actions at once in Bleed, and at the beginning, this is a little complicated, but you soon get the hang of it – jumping, dodging and slowing time become second nature to you, and that’s when this game really comes alive.
Although all of your actions are needed, the ability to slow time is the single most important weapon in your arsenal and one you should use at every opportunity. Learning and memorising an enemy’s pattern is the key to surviving each level. Once you have figured them out its a simple case of slowing time at just the right moment, allowing you to capitalise by firing on it’s weak spot or even to dodge what would be catastrophic damage from an enemy weapon. Don’t worry too much about dying though, as death isn’t the end. Thanks to having unlimited lives in the normal game modes, you can come back again and again and again and….. you get the picture.
There were a few times in Bleed when dying wasn’t a fault of my own slow reflexes, and this was generally down to my poor choice in loadouts for the level. As you progress through the game, you will begin to unlock shiny new weapons. Gained by either compleating a level or purchasing them from the shop at the menu. You will discover straight away if your new loadout isn’t quite as destructive as you thought it might be! Is it because the guns don’t work well together? Is an enemy to overpowered for a certain weapon? Alas no, it boils down to 2 major facts – The starting pistols appear to be the best all round weapon in the game, and the other weapons are too suited for single situations. Rather disappointing considering there are a total of 12 different kinds of weapons you can choose from
Other than the weapon choices, the platforming parts of each level do get a tad repetitive. Slowing the action down a little bit too much to be enjoyed. Does it take anything away from the game overall? Not really, as the fluidity of the action more than makes up for the levels limited downfalls.
Overall Bleed is a rather capable nod back to the classic age of gaming, simple in its implementation yet frustratingly difficult in parts. And, if like me, you love older games, then bleed is a great game for you to while away a few hours playing here and there.
Bleed is available now via the Xbox Store Here for a rather reasonable £7.99