Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Metroidvania in 2.5D!
By Teresa Whitehouse
Posted 11:59 am on May 17, 2019
Remember the older Castlevania games? A new game in this exploration style, typically called Metroidvania, is coming to all platforms later this year, and it’s called Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Originally funded by a Kickstarter in 2015, a demo was available at PAX East 2019, and I got the chance to give it a shot and play the opening level. Set in a gothic-era world, you play as Miriam, a woman awoken from a 10-year coma after enduring the experiments of an alchemist’s guild. These experiments included implanting magi-crystals into Miriam so that she could absorb powers from demons. Gebel, the main antagonist, is the original host of the magi-crystal experiments and lost his sense of humanity. He now has a goal to destroy mankind, and he wants Miriam to help. You explore Gebel’s castle in order to stop him from achieving his goal.
The game has a unique visual dynamic described as 2.5D, which combines 3D graphics with a 2D world. While the world graphics do look 3D thanks to shading and other elements that you can see below, the developers kept movement on the X/Y-axis only. The combat was interesting, as you absorb demon crystals called shards that give you different skills and abilities throughout the game. The color of the shard denotes what kind of power-ups you will receive. You can’t choose whether or not you get the shard, but the shard powers as a whole can be removed, so if you don’t want to be bothered by something like a double-jump, turning off the ability is possible in the pause menu. Along with various power-ups and abilities of the shards, there are weapons and outfits that you can use to boost stats and change combat style. My favorite combat item was a pair of boots that allowed you to kick your enemies right in the face!
The controls of basic gameplay mechanics were pretty self-explanatory, with things getting slightly more complicated as you add different abilities with the shards. Each ability unlocked has a different button combination to activate it, so after the first few, it was a bit harder to keep track. I’m sure that more time with the game will have made the ability controls easier to remember.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is scheduled for release later in 2019, after development complications delayed its original 2017 launch date. Hopefully, the wait is worthwhile for all the game’s Kickstarter donors and patient fans.