Blood Alloy: Reborn Review: It Self-Destructs
You know, there’s a lot to say for a game that’s broken in so many ways that whenever I play it I’d get a migraine. Most of those words aren’t words I’d ever thought I'd include in a review for a professional site.
Blood Alloy: Reborn is a 2D acrobatic shooter game developed by Suppressive Fire Games and published by Nkidu Games Inc. All of the game’s features are introduced through a tutorial that goes over all of the controls and challenges you may face throughout the game. This part of the game is well done because it shows you everything the game has to offer and from there you can choose whether or not you want to continue.
If you decide not to continue, you won’t be missing much.
From there you can test your skills in 3 separate levels with a variety of monsters that you can ruthlessly tear through with all of your abilities, while synched up with 80’s synth pop music. The game is about achieving a high score, rather than progressing through more and more difficult challenges. It swarms you with enemies and has you rely on what you learned in order to progress. This would be quite a bit easier if it wasn’t for the fact that the controls to the game are semi-functional at best.
When playing Blood Alloy: Reborn, you may notice that things that clearly require you to have a hair trigger response time, but the controls won’t always respond to what you put in. Sometimes it’ll let off a delayed blast from your blaster or sometimes it may just not work at all, leaving you to be swarmed by legions of robots with not much you can do about it.
Well, there is something you can do about it, if you managed to get an X10 combo a random thing is deployed in the level for you to protect and, after you do this, you get health. Here’s the problem with that: that thing, be it robot or android, gets deployed in a random spot in the level. There’s an arrow pointing to it, sure, but you have to sprint in order to get to it and if you get unlucky enough that it’s spawned far away I can guarantee you it’s already dead before you get there, as is any chance you had at regenerating your health. This means you have to play it safe to rack up the points and stay alive, which the game actively discourages you to do by penalizing you because you won’t gather as many points for combos, and that means you won’t get another chance to heal unless you risk everything to do so.
Even if you manage to spawn another healing thing, if it randomly spawns in a strange place again, you will again find yourself with less health than you had before, while in a situation that will become absolutely futile. There’s a combo system that the game wants you to master in order to become ranked on the online scoreboards, or for you to slowly “unlock” the whole soundtrack via the upgrades section rather than listening to the same tune over and over again. It’s an annoying way of enticing players to get better at the game, giving them the looming threat of the same looping 80’s synth pop. It sounds great and fun at first, but as time goes on, you’ll notice it starts bleeding together. Not to mention there's only three environments that you can play in and you have to unlock them with the scores you get. It's a vague sense of progression that the game tries to motivate you with and fails miserably.
Then there’s the fact that the game claims it has controller compatibility, when in reality the only place the controller functions is on the game's menu screen. If you want to actually get it to work, you have to go on the steam forums and hope someone has found a solution to your problem. Since not all of the fixes that are posted there actually work with Blood Alloy: Reborn. For example, none of the things I tried worked with the game, to which I decided to go use that same controller on another game in which, surprise, it worked. It’s not the controller, it’s the game.
Blood Alloy: Reborn is a mess of a game that nobody should have to put themselves through. It barely functions half the time, and the rest of the time it makes bonehead design decisions that clearly should have been sorted out in the games long early access phase. What makes matters worse is that the last update to the game wasn’t a bug fix, but a “gif uploader”, and the last update to fix the game was in March of last year. The developers completely abandoned Blood Alloy: Reborn after its release and, if they aren’t bothering to touch their game anymore, you shouldn’t bother playing it. You’ll save on migraine pills that way.
Note: A copy of this game was provided by the publisher.