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Blood Alloy: Reborn Review

                   Blood Alloy: Reborn from Suppressive Fire Games is an arena-style platform shooter with a 16-bit aesthetic. It promises fast-paced gameplay, fully traversable terrain, swarms of enemies, and an awesome soundtrack. And, for what it's worth, it delivers on at least some of those things. But overall, the game is a weird, messy thing. It's an arena shooter that behaves like it's a platformer, a game that requires more precision than either the controls or the game type allows for. But even if this were all, it's flaws far outweigh it's strengths, and the game ultimately falters in spite of itself. But more, as always, below.

                Blood Alloy Reborn casts you as Nia Rhys, a cyborg warrior who uses the BLade Assisted Traversal System (or BLAST) to slide and whirl around arenas and carve up robots. As the combos grow, Nia will regain lost health, de-cloak "kidnap drones" that allow her to rescue soldiers at a bonus, and of course, face more difficult enemies. The BLAST system allows you to slide around the arena, traveling up surfaces and bouncing from point to point as you shoot down robots in your way, even giving you alternate combat options like homing missiles and devastating wave attacks. When it works correctly, it can be really cool as you slide through arenas carving up metal enemies and bouncing from surface to surface as you slide.

                   When it works properly. But the problem is, even with a controller and when played as recommended, the controls are slippery and weird. In spite of the range of weapons, I found myself using the same three or four over and over again, or mashing buttons as I flailed around the arena, the metal onslaught mainly dying out of embarrassment rather than anything I had direct agency over. Maybe it's that I'm spoiled from SUPERHOT last week, but nothing I did felt particularly awesome, or even like it had much impact on the game I was playing. It just seemed like I was sliding around the arena for who knows what ends. And you will slide quite a bit, as pretty much anything puts you into a slide. 

                   Even then, the dodgy hit detection meant that it wasn't all that much fun, either. It's difficult to tell if you've been hit, or sometimes what was even in the vicinity to hit you. More often than not, the ride comes to an end with a measly score, having no idea how or why to continue. If this weren't bad enough, the way you regenerate health is pretty much a nonstarter as well. The game tells you that once you reach a 10-combo or above, you'll start regenerating health. This...strangely did not happen too much. I actually took a moment in the action (the enemy patterns are...bizarre) to watch, and sure enough, no movement. 

                      The graphics are also a bit of an issue. There is not clear delineation between the environments, making some jumps more guesswork than solid. There were several times I leapt at what I thought was a traversible surface, only to find that it was set dressing. Similarly, I would try to rush through what looked like background, only to find out it was all too solid. While in a regular platformer, this is something easily overcome, in an arena setting this kind of thing tends to seriously bog the game down. And while the arenas are large, that combined with enemy behavior means it's a lot of running around, and the gunning is sporadic when it does come. I also didn't notice a ton of enemy variety.

                       In fact, just looking at the title screen, the whole thing feels very rough. With a few updates, I'm sure it'll become polished and play great, but as of right now, it just feels off, unsatisfying. 

                    So in the end, I have to say that this is, while a game with potential, not a game I'm interested in playing until the kinks are worked out. I hope it improves from the early issues into the game it wants to be, but right now, it's far too rough. A shame, because there really are some awesome moments when you're sliding around arenas laying waste to enemies. 

2/5

The reviewer received an early access copy of this game for review.

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