Bloodroots, a short, fast-paced tale of chaos and revenge, challenges you to stab, loot, loot, and otherwise kill dozens of thugs with the relentless efficiency of the Wild West’s most celebrated outlaw and the crazy spirit of Bugs Bunny dragging Yosemite Sam. Whether you’re doing this for the sake of the well-written story and the excitement of a score chase, Bloodroots can be stylish, graceful, and surprisingly comfortable to pick up, despite demanding massive attention to detail. This is our Bloodroots Review.
Bloodroots Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Developer: Paper Cult
- Publisher: Paper Cult
- Genres: Action game
- Release Date: September 2019
Bloodroots Review: Official Trailer Video
Bloodroots Review: Gameplay
Bloodroots put you on the warpath with the Wild West outlaw Mr. Wolf, who wants revenge against his gang, the Blood Beasts. The beasts, all wearing animal skins and using Reservoir Dogs codenames, such as Mr. Boar and Mrs. Crow, almost betray and murder him after killing an entire city on behalf of their new leader, Mr. Black Wolf. From the time he recovers from his attempted murder, Mr. Wolf has one goal: to kill his former gang and anyone who comes between them.
The story, while predictable and straightforward, is made captivating by a healthy dialogue that forges complex characters. Although Mr. Wolf rarely speaks, you learn a lot about him; his story and the gang’s history are told in carefully crafted interactive flashbacks and through his encounters with the beasts. You don’t spend too much storytime on a character – this is an action game, and the gameplay is paramount – but by tracking down each former partner, you will understand and enjoy your time with them.
Everyone in Bloodroots is a villain, but you find out that each character has their perspective on how the gang came up and fell. Upon hearing Mr. Wolf’s past of the Beasts, in their unique voices, it will not only help you understand the situation better but also understand that there is more to their lives than a single act of revenge. That’s not to say you won’t have any reservations about your mission – being bad guys through and through – but you understand why they made their choices, which makes your hunt more satisfying.
That hunt is more of a series of wild massacres. Each of the Bloodthirsty Beasts now has their gang, with camps and fortresses full of henchmen. These henchmen are easy to steer: often, a single blow with a weapon or even a punch is enough, but there are many, and Mr. Wolf is just as vulnerable, so you have to work fast and keep moving otherwise they will bring you down. Every challenge in Bloodroots amounts to an improvised whirlwind of violence.
Fortunately, every level is riddled with murder tools. Almost any benign object, from a fence post to a giant fish, can be a weapon. You can jump on rolling objects, such as wagons and barrels, both conventional and red explosives, to bulldoze your enemies until you crash. There are traditional Wild West-style weapons such as axes, knives and pistols, and unconventional weapons such as golden spears, flamethrowers, land mines, snowballs, and cannons that shoot you in the air so you can fall back to Earth and over an area as a human mortar shell.
To master Bloodroots, you need to not only recognize each weapon on sight but also have a good understanding of what they are doing. Each weapon works a little differently; the ax is just a quick blow, while the cavalry sword is a short attack. Some weapons give you traversal options: Long weapons like ladders and rods, for example, let you jump pole vault to a higher area by pressing jump.
While killing quickly is critical, quite a bit of platforming is also involved. Many of the levels are multi-layered, with holes for hopping and holes for you to fall into. Because many weapons also give you extra movement options, choosing the right weapon for the next few seconds can be just as much about reaching an enemy as it is about killing it. To be efficient, you must grab and use a range of weapons in an order in which you can progress without hoarding or going back.
The levels also benefit from a camera prepared to maximize the impact of your killing choreography. Most of the challenge areas are shown from an isometric perspective, with the camera sliding in or out in places to show you more or less your surroundings. Sometimes that means you have to get up close so that a specific path fills the screen; other times, the camera moves out to show the broader range of an area, which can help you see the chaos you create more fully.
You would think it would be challenging to master dozens of different weapons and how they work; however, going from one to the other very quickly feels like second nature. It helps that every level of the game introduces new weapons from start to finish, often one or two at a time, so you learn at a steady, digestible pace. And as you learn their quirks, paths begin to form through the levels in your mind. When everything starts to click, planning and improvisation feel almost the same.
While it is easy to keep playing, death at Bloodroots can often be very frustrating. Whether it’s input lag or technical issues, it sometimes feels like you’re moving faster than the game can. There were many instances where I pressed a button to grab a weapon but found that I didn’t pick it up and didn’t have the attack and movement I expected. And with long-range weapons like rifles and bows, you have to rely on an inconsistent directional automatic aiming system.
There are also times when Bloodroots’ penchant for cinematography can actively put you at a disadvantage. Sometimes the camera comes out too far, making it difficult to see where a jump will land. From time to time, the camera shifts to a horizontal view that appears to be a 2D plane, but it doesn’t, letting you take a wrong angle when you approach an enemy and miss an attack. This game requires precision, so it can be very frustrating when the camera and level design add additional hurdles.
And yet, like so many challenging score chases, Bloodroots is still incredibly satisfying when you’re ultimately successful. At the highest altitudes, you’ll find your way, bouncing from weapon to weapon, killing to kill, to string together a perfect run. Better yet, there are so many ways to approach each area that no matter how well you do, you can always do it better, faster, and crazier. That’s it for our Bloodroots Review.
Whether you’re playing for the sake of the well-written story and the excitement of a score chase, Bloodroots can be stylish, graceful, and surprisingly comfortable to pick up, despite demanding massive attention to detail.