You and I have unfinished business.
Acrobatics, swordplay, gun-slinging, and video games go together like peas in a pod. In what looks like a rushed attempt between a Strider clone and some recent twin-stick shooters, we have Blood Alloy: Reborn. While there are a collection of our favorite action game mechanics like charging a beam like Mega Man, double jumping and air dashing with a sword attack like a Capcom versus game, and having a score attack component like Geometry Wars–there are also a lot of bugs and unrefined aspects to Blood Alloy. Its biggest failure is that it is being marketed as a complete game. In a world filled with big titles like Street Fighter V being launched while missing a lot of modes, it is very dangerous to a tiny developer to throw something as raw as this on our lap.
The gameplay is broken. Aerial swordplay is unreliable. Your charge beam seems to be your best weapon, but sometimes it just doesn’t fully charge for some reason. Also, if you are standing still or cornered, rapid fire is essentially out the window because the game thinks you are going for the charge beam. You have to be immobile to activate the charge beam, which counteracts the whole idea of a twin-stick shooter. There are so many disjointed aspects to the action, that you really have to sit with the game for a long time to figure out your style of play. Your other bonus attacks that use your blue sword bar seem to be unreliable as well. The bonuses for not attacking for one and two minutes do not make any sense in a twin-stick shooting game that relies on a sustained kill multiplier for your high score. The controls are frustrating.
To me, the gold standard in games created by a tiny developer is Axiom Verge. That game is a Metroidvania adventure where you get a lot of cool guns, upgrades that increase mobility in a creative not-Metroid way, and a deep enough game that you can run it multiple ways. That very stylistic, retro-looking game was developed over the course of five years by one man and then went into a huge testing phase before its release. A few months after release came a single patch that got rid of a few minor bugs for speedrunning purposes. That game was well-conceived and meticulously executed. By contrast, Blood Alloy: Reborn is a byproduct of a failed Kickstarter game that was proposed to be in the Metroidvania style. The developer then decided that they felt good with what they had and would release a game with the mechanics they had put together in the attempt to get their adventure game greenlighted down the road. And that is how we end up with Blood Alloy: Reborn. The levels are unfinished. You just shoot and slash things until you die and get a final score. The benefit to playing is your score helps you level up, unlock stages, and obtain tech that upgrades your character. They have style as well as kill streak bonus modifiers.
The imagery is on par with a SNES game, and the sound is a little above that. After I downloaded the game on Steam, I couldn’t get the controls to work. I saw it was made specifically with the XBox 360 wired controller, and couldn’t get my wireless XBox One or XBox 360 controllers to work via USB. According to the developer, they are waiting for their wireless receiver to come so they can fix the controller issue. I found that if I scrolled down the input menu, I could manually switch the controls for the XBox 360 to my PS4 controller. There also was no way to revert the controls to the original settings. During my time in the support section, I found that they removed the option to be able to have a fast restart on a level because sometimes people would press that button too fast and have their save files become corrupted. So to fix that issue, they just removed that feature. For the most part, the developers are honestly trying to fix this game. Time can only tell when they will feel Blood Alloy has flopped and that it’s no longer worth it to them to keep fixing the game. Perhaps they launched the game early to get some payouts going so that the development team could stay invested in the project without starving themselves.
On the bright side of things, you could get good at this game and enjoy playing it. The comboriffic nature of the game might be fun to you. The upgrades you unlock down the road might actually be worth playing the game for. The developers might just follow through and add the style and finesse Blood Alloy: Reborn needs. But as of right now, Blood Alloy is in a meteoric downward spiral towards the bargain bin.