Bleed Review

Unceasing combat is the driving force of the fast and challenging Bleed.

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Robotic spiders are a menace that must be stopped. When an eight-legged monster exterminates humans instead of the metallic mosquitoes it should be hunting, no one is going to complain if its death is quick and silent. But if you can exact revenge with style, that's all the better. In Bleed, flashiness is a virtue. Sling a murder of missiles towards the aggressive arachnid while slowing down time to avoid its retaliatory blows. When caught in a pinch, glide away from danger. Just don't let go of that trigger for a second. Bleed is a relentless adventure that houses impressive depth beneath its excitable exterior.

Wryn has a bad case of hero envy. The six greatest heroes in history have become monstrous versions of their former selves, fueling a self-referential story of conquest. Altruism is not Wryn's driving force; rather, she craves the glory that comes from saving the populace. So you embark on a seven-stage quest to rid the world of pustulating blobs, malevolent worms, and any other vile being unlucky enough to meet the wrong side of your flamethrower.

Bleed is an action-centric platformer in which any moment you spend not firing bullets is time wasted. With a limitless supply of ammunition and a weak gag reflex, you plow through an unceasing horde of attackers, never taking so much as a minute to reflect on all the bloodshed you've caused. It's that inexorable march that makes Bleed so engrossing. The soaring pace of combat pushes you continually forward. Rooms connected by the memories of fallen creatures lead you down the violent path you've chosen. Slay a nest of swirling plasma balls before exterminating feisty cats and then fleeing from a stalking helicopter. But don't think Wryn is happy with running away. Seconds later, you square off against the whirlybird in a short-lived battle as you quickly prove that mere machinery is no match for your guile.

Bullets will only get you so far. Wryn is not only an expert marksman, but has super-heroic jumping ability as well. Double jumping? That's for amateurs. Triple jumping proves that you're serious about your work. Throw in a handy wall jump, and Wryn can stay airborne for long enough to clear out an entire room. Jumping isn't limited to vertical flight, either. You glide in whatever direction you tap, which allows you to smoothly dash past laser beams or egg-spewing craters while cutting down enemies from any direction. The satisfying movement in Bleed helps invigorate the experience. Shooting and jumping are handled so deftly that, once you understand Wryn's abilities, you can quickly eradicate your foes without taking a whiff of damage yourself.

When things get hectic, you have a special power to fall back on. Wryn can slow down time, and this makes it even more exciting to dodge the many obstacles around you. Patrolling particle guns and alarming laser grids force you to slow things down so you can move by unscathed, and this urges you to move more deliberately than you would during the raw action moments. However, it's in the boss fights that your power becomes indispensible. The evil foes move in patterns that force you to make use of Wryn's impressive abilities. You may need to slow down time to avoid sporadic gun spray or triple leap to dodge a screaming fist, and it's empowering to survive these tricky battles.

You earn credits by killing enemies as efficiently as possible, and you use your wealth between levels to unlock better gear. Buff your health or slow-mo bar if you're dying too quickly, or unlock better guns if you crave more variety. Explosive mines and a ricocheting laser are good alternatives to the pistols and rocket launcher you start with, and it's fun to mix and match your various weapons. It is unfortunate that you only have two in your inventory at a time and have to go to the pause menu to access the rest. Switching between guns is exciting, so it would be great if you could unleash your full arsenal against a boss. Still, there's enough firepower to keep you invested in your killing spree even after the ending credits roll.

It takes less than an hour to plow through Bleed, but there are reasons to test yourself on the hardest difficulty settings. You won't come close to maxing out your weaponry your first time through, so you have to kill many more foes if you want to see all the toys Wryn can play with. Plus, higher difficulty settings mix up enemy placement and attack patterns, so if you think you know everything, you're in for a rude awakening. Finally, if you're skilled enough, you get new characters to play around with. These have different traits than Wryn, giving you even more variety if you haven't tired of killing yet.

Variety is one of Bleed's greatest strengths. Levels shuttle you down a dangerous elevator shaft, across racing trains, and into the belly of the beast. None of these are particularly novel, but they do well to mix up the action as you pop-pop-pop your attackers. One hiccup is the two-player mode. The camera is locked on player one, so it's easy to leave your friend behind. Plus, Bleed is at its best when you've mastered your move set and can unleash hell on those conniving monsters. Adding another player just throws a wrench in your spokes.

There's little in Bleed that hasn't been seen before. But even though it hasn't reinvented how we kill baddies in two dimensions, it's still a fun and satisfying adventure. For just $5, you get a few hours of fast-paced combat, and there's punishing side missions tucked away for those who crave a challenge. Think you can get through the entire game without dying? Tight mechanics make it possible, but it takes dedication to earn that triumph. Bleed is an energetic tale of heroic conquest.

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The Good
Smooth and satisfying mechanics
Varied unlocks to strive for
Incentives to try harder difficulty levels
The Bad
Troubled two-player mode
7.5
Good
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Discussion

47 comments
LE5LO
LE5LO

@TomMcShea Good review, glad to see you covering smaller games like this. It makes a nice change to all the coverage the AAA's get while these games like this usually go unnoticed by the mainstream. Kudos Tom and GameSpot!

LE5LO
LE5LO

I think the gameplay looks great, but the art could've benefited from a little more work. Still, for $5...not bad.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

yeah ... Tom Mcshea... keep reviewing PC games ... don't come back to playstation

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

We all know an indie game scoring bellow 8 = shit

Saying that I don't judge a game on a review from Tom.

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

Better aiming with mouse and keyboard, or better movement with a controller...

Hmmm....

How about an analog stick in a keyboard?

Prats1993
Prats1993

This is old, i played it last year. WTF. How did it only just get greenlit?

GameYakuza
GameYakuza

well, that proves you shouldn't judge a book from its cover

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

So this crap is supposedly "better" than Dead Island Riptide. Ugh huh.

edpeterson
edpeterson

Now I don't know what to think, I loved the demo I played but Tom Mcshea is usually terrible when it comes to rating games, I mean he gave Deadpool a 5.5 and Fable: The Journey an 8.0. Maybe the reason for the decent rating is because this game is kind of unknown (It did come out in February of this year, I'm surprised it took like 5 months until a review came out on GS) and thus the review wouldn't get much attention he gave another great game a bad review? 

Stebsis
Stebsis

So almost as good as Last of Us?

This has been the mandatory LoU comment of the review.

AzraRillian
AzraRillian

This is how every Mega Man game should have been, and I think i've played almost all of them (happily, in some cases)

StonerDemon
StonerDemon

I hope this game has Meshuggah's "Bleed" as its soundtrack.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

Thats what Tom Mc Shea said!

Anyway...i didnt played yet, looks interesting.

speedfreak48t5p
speedfreak48t5p

Reviewed by everyone's favorite gamespot personality. The legendary Tom Mc Shea himself.

guisasso
guisasso

holy shit this seams incredibly hard

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Oh god this game on consoles...ut uh. That control scheme is just insane.

WTA2k5
WTA2k5

Beat you to it, GameSpot.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@dr_Mabuse I've got to disagree, it doesn't matter if it's pixelated if the art style is interesting, see Super Meat Boy, Fez but mainly Capybara's games, specifically Super Time Force, are so pretty, the old style was executed right, yet these games are still kind of extensive on system power.

I'm developing a 2d shooter and limiting myself to an old laptop with 64mb of VRAM, if I made the graphics any more high res than basic pixel art I'd have to substitute almost everything I've added. I like the restriction I've given myself. It basically means everyone with a non gaming laptop circa 2005 will be able to play it. So it's still about making something fun, but not excluding a whole heap of people in the process just because they haven't kept up with the latest hardware.

Middle of Australian winter here...

Very funny poem Mabuse, hope to read more in the future. ;-)


TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@LE5LO Thanks! I'm glad you appreciate having smaller games covered. If you ever see something interesting out there, feel free to email me (or any of my coworkers). I wouldn't want something to fall through the cracks just because it doesn't have a huge marketing budget.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@hippiesanta I love the theory that I don't like PlayStation games considering Sony makes my two primary systems.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@DarknautXXX If they work simultaeneously on PC, I'd love to try an x360 controller in one hand, mouse in the other. I'd probably end up dropping and breaking both due to coordination issues though.

kabalzer0
kabalzer0

@DarknautXXX aiming with the right stick is not that much worse than with a mouse... to be honest, imo twin stick style games control way better with a controller.

Prats1993
Prats1993

Dead Island is fuckin trash and lacks any sense of thoughtfulness in its design. bleed is a far better crafted and well designed game despite its short length and low budget presentation. In short, Bleed shits on Dead Island, deal with it.

kabalzer0
kabalzer0

@AzraRillian if megaman would be like this it would suck. Megaman is a completely different game. its all about precision and Bleed is all about fast paced shooting with no precision needed

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@guisasso Nah, it's pretty easy on normal. The difficulty doesn't kick in until you bump up it up to hard.

dr_Mabuse
dr_Mabuse

@LE5LO @dr_Mabuse 

Well, while I do appreciate the effort and certainly the creativity. Then my preference remains: Please let us see the full potential of our ever-developing maschines.

And that is said, realising that some of the most entertaining games indeed were those keep-it-simple-and-focus-on-the-giddam-fun' games like "Pitstop", "World Games" and the wonders of the pixelated heaven that Epyx' spew out so many decades ago..

But the development goes forward, not aft my fellow sailor.

Wishing a creative winter down under,

/Dr. Mabuse jr.

I went for the fame

- Pirated a game.

Now I'm in a cell in the States

...Getting pumped by me' mates.

AzraRillian
AzraRillian

@kabalzer0 @AzraRillian true in some ways, what i meant was more the way that enemies keep coming at you, keeping you on your toes. though i'll agree that the slow motion skill in this game does seem to detract from  that. it would be nice if it could only be used for a split second, so that you can't spam it.

faer666
faer666

@TomMcShea @WTA2k5 you better be careful Tom that guy has 20 levels on you ud get wrekt 1v1

Bleed More Info

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  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • Xbox 360
    Bleed is an action-platformer focused on stylish, acrobatic dodging and fluid, challenging gameplay.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 26 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Bleed
    Developed by:
    BootdiskRevolution, Ianthraxx
    Published by:
    BootdiskRevolution, Ianthraxx
    Genres:
    Action