Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Offline)

It must be tough being a developer in the roguelite space these days. The absolute explosion of popularity the genre has enjoyed in recent years has spawned a staggering array of innovative new titles that find cool ways to create new gaming experiences or reinterpret old ones, but the competition has never been greater. high and the quality bar is only rising. Unfortunately, Blade Assault does not meet this bar. Looks like it rolled off the treadmill after someone asked ChatGPT to create a “challenging 2D action roguelite”. For some gamers, honestly, that might be enough, but you can find games that are better worth your time.

Blade Assault puts you in the role of an angry guy named Kil who, uh, wants watch those responsible for overseeing Esperanza’s military utopia. After landing a blow in the first few minutes after a prison break, Kil is outmatched by his rivals and driven from the beautiful floating community to the mutant-infested pits of the underground city far below. After narrowly surviving this incident and angrier than ever, Kil joins a resistance formed among other misfits and begins his long journey back to finish the job.

Blade Assault Review - Screenshot 2 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

It’s a pretty simple premise, and if Blade Assault could allow it to stay that way that would be great, but the game takes itself too seriously and completely fails in its attempts to make you care about any of its characters. Kil, for example, is the epitome of Shadow The Hedgehog’s edgy loner with a one-dimensional personality. That in itself wouldn’t matter too much in a typical roguelite, but Blade Assault makes feeble attempts to convey that there’s a much bigger tragic story between him and the ruler of Esperanza, without really trying to give it meaning. So the game occupies this weird space where it’s never quite clear if the writing is intentionally vague and a bit silly or if you’re supposed to take it seriously. Either way, it doesn’t work.

Gameplay-wise, Blade Assault follows the 2D action-roguelite gamebook very closely. You progress from stage to stage eliminating everything that moves while gradually accumulating upgrades and equipment that differs with each race, finally losing everything when you die and are sent back to the start. Before your next run, you can use various currencies to improve relations with useful NPCs or to buy new permanent upgrades to make future runs a little easier. It’s a simple loop that’s already been well tested, and while Blade Assault doesn’t add anything significant or new to the formula, it still works quite well here.

Each basic step is divided into approximately two halves. The first asks you to clear the room of bad guys without dying yourself, while the second asks you to do so. again but with higher stakes. You see, enemies that arrive in the second half are usually stronger, and as long as at least one of them is alive, a Chance of Rain-style “Danger Level” meter will continue to appear. The danger level persists throughout your run and your life will generally get worse as it increases, although the buffed enemies it creates act as a great source for finding rarer parts at higher volume . We like the dynamic difficulty added by the danger level, as both have the benefit of keeping it as low or high as possible.

Blade Assault Review - Screenshot 3 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Offline)

Once you’ve cleared a room, you’ll usually be offered a reward that will allow you to progress and score your character build. There are three main elemental classes: fire, ice, and lightning, and each has a unique set of abilities and effects, such as lightning attacks that chain to nearby enemies or fire attacks that give most enemies a burn debuff. Learning how different abilities and stat boosts interact with each other adds a lot to every run, as you’ll almost certainly have a unique build every time you go out, and it’s great to find some nice synergies to abuse at the same time. coming. careers. Even so, it seems the pool of possible pickups is quite limited, making variety between races difficult. Hopefully the fixes will be out and the devs can keep developing this.

Aside from gear and upgrades, the most important way to change your playstyle between matches is to simply choose another playable character. Although it takes a while to play as Kil before they become available, there are three other characters you can eventually unlock who all feel quite distinct.

Darcy, for example, trades in Kil’s big chainsaw for a fancy katana; his style of play involves outmaneuvering enemies with deft acrobatics and slicing them to shreds with quick slashes. While Kil feels like the more fleshed out character, eventually being able to unlock two more weapons that noticeably change his approach to combat, we still appreciate what these other characters bring to the table. They all feel viable in their own way and add another dimension to consider when strategizing on potential loot drops; something that’s just good in a race with Jenny maybe great if it drops while Darcy is active.

Blade Assault Review - Screenshot 4 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Connected)

While the character variety is welcome, it only does so much to refine the mid-level combat system. The problem here is that it can be quite difficult to keep track of where your character is and what they’re doing when you’re surrounded by more than a dozen enemies using flashy elemental attacks, which happens all the time. . There’s nothing wrong with a bit of chaos in a roguelite, but here it just feels out of control and gets in the way of enjoying the game. Worse still, we’ve encountered many instances where enemies (especially bosses ) felt too squishy for the current difficulty level – it’s just not fun to take out a boss for almost ten minutes with a Blissey level health pool when he can kill you with a few good hits and end a race you’ve been on for more than an hour. So the combat feels pretty sloppy and quickly becomes tedious as the glitches increase in many races, which is bad news when 90% of your time with Blade Assault is spent in combat.

However, the main problem with Blade Assault is not so much what it has as what it has. No, which is something unique that sets it apart from others. Blade Assault is capable of delivering a challenging and action-packed roguelite experience, but the problem is that there is a group other games that offer the same thing, only better. While we were playing Blade Assault, it never really managed to fully answer the question of why anyone would choose to play it on, say, Dead Cells or Rogue Legacy or Hades. Blade Assault shares a lot of commonality with those games, but it adds nothing significant and never comes close to its heights. It’s the kind of game that feels like it’s heavily based on everything that’s worked in other games without stopping to consider it. because They worked on each case.

Blade Assault Review - Screenshot 5 of 5Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Offline)

Blade Assault also fails in its presentation. The 16-bit art style on display is passable, but the animations are rather simplistic and the pixel art looks too basic compared to peers like UnderMine or One Step From Eden. Those visuals could be forgiven if the performance was solid, but Blade Assault also drops the ball there. The Switch version seems to be aiming for 30 FPS, but we noticed plenty of instances of screen clutter where there were big drops, sometimes interrupting the on-screen action as the game huffed and huffed trying to do everything. load.


Looks like Blade Assault could It should be a good game with a few more years of focused and iterative development, but what we have today isn’t enough. Its uninspired visuals, chaotic combat, and general lack of identity work against it in a crowded, popular genre. While it pretty much runs on the basic action roguelite model and can be fun to build on its cast of playable characters, Blade Assault just doesn’t do enough to earn a spot. in your library. If you’re absolutely crazy for another roguelite and aren’t happy with the huge selection of great titles already on Switch, this might be worth a shot.

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