Sunday, February 12, 2017

Indie Impressions - Bleed 2

Bleed 2

Now Available on Steam

Developed by Ian Campbell (Bootdisk Revolution)

The pink-haired hero is back, the world renown bad-ass and beloved hero now going for a promotion to Greatest Hero of the World. Wryn returns with her slick, stylish acrobatics and her rapidfire dispensers of justice, and brings some flashy new reflecting abilities to the table in the sequel to Bleed. The surprise sleeper-hit Xbox indie title has come a seriously long way since its debut five years ago with even tighter and more refined dash controls, a way sharper visual style with much more fluid animations but the same great retro feel, and an even wilder journey into the very cosmos itself.

What was once energetic and fast-paced gameplay is now full-on hyperactive chaos due to the addition of the bullet-reflecting mechanic. The same satisfying three-stage air dodging is here but the addition of a quick-slicing sword that attacks at the quick tap of an attack adds an entirely new layer of depth to the already face-melting combat of Bleed. The adorably and diabolically designed enemies populate your screen with each transition and unleash a hail of bullet-hell patterns

The bosses are what really seal the deal in Bleed 2. Like some kind of Treasure inspired Alien Soldier boss battle onslaught they seem to come endlessly between frenetic sections of platforming that whip by you in a flash. Each ridiculously imaginative boss and their intuitive attack pattern tops the last in terms of sheer genius. Intense chases on the tops of missile-launching trucks, careful parkour through the skies across streaming rockets, and careening mechs that are gargantuan in size and chase you through crumbling city streets are only some of the backdrops for these incredible showdowns.

Beautiful bright and poppy compositions from the fantastic and legendary Jukio Kallio grace each stage, with a bit of seriously ferocious energy when needed. Some serious guitar riffage for the hectic chases through city scenes and some serenely kosmiche synth sounds for the more introspective ventures into otherworldly scenery. Songs that sound like they'd be fitting in some kind of a bad-ass 90's anime epic, there couldn't be a more fitting soundtrack for the cartoonish yet tough and stylish world of Bleed 2.

I'm blown away by what has been accomplished with Bleed 2 since its predecessor. My expectations have been more than surpassed, I've already spent a good 10hrs replaying the different modes and I'm still not totally confident with my parrying and dodging skills. It's also incredible what a world of difference Jukio Kallio's soundtrack makes, I'm completely infatuated with it as I have been his past soundtracks (particularly with doseone for Gun Godz). This easily ranks in my top sidescrolling action games of all time, holding a spot right between various Treasure classics. (I definitely get a Dynamite Headdy vibe from some of the almost theatrical set-ups for boss fights)

Bleed 2 comes packed with some great extras and unlockables. There's multiple extra modes to tackle before or after the story, including an Arcade mode with multiple playstyles to chase you score through the whole campaign in one go and an insane Challenge mode that pits you against multiple bosses at a time. With a whole arsenal of new and unique weapons to tear through stages with and some familiar faces that appear as playable characters to unlock and even bring with you into some co-ordinated co-op.

With so many new ways to play, such a fresh and sharp new look, and an incredible soundtrack that brings the series even more to life than ever before Bleed 2 beats out its already sleeper-hit-status predecessor ten-fold.

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