I feel like Blasphemous released at a great time. The 2D action game borrowed the punishing Souls-like difficulty and added some unique gameplay elements. Players were able to focus on survival using a variety of abilities and equipment and learn to traverse through the environment reminiscent of a Metroidvania. Now, developer The Game Kitchen has double-downed on their love of gothic 2D action by launching Strife and Ruin, a DLC collaboration with Bloodstained Ritual of the Night’s main protagonist, Miriam.
The result is just as unique as the base game as the developers have given fans a punishingly difficult set of stages that feature timed-platforming and navigation.
Blasphemous: Strife and Ruin begins after meeting Miriam, who explains that you must travel to collect shards to continue her journey. She can’t do it herself because she cannot travel through the portals that lead to the shards. So you jump in and set off.
The first level is pretty much a tease as players who have a basic idea of maneuvering will find their way to the first goal. I loved this because I was under the impression that they would all be like this, and boy, was I wrong. The other shards are scattered at four other places on the map, and it’s up to you to go search for them.
Each level increases in difficulty and will test your knowledge of the game’s various traversal mechanics, including wall jumping, lantern jumps, and platforming. The timing in these sections is punishingly tight, and you are sure to die at least once during each stage. This is mainly because the team thought it would be fun to lay traps everywhere, but it’s all a part of the experience.
The level designs are awesome, and I found myself eager to continue trying. You wouldn’t expect so much to happen when the timer is counting down from 3 minutes, but the team proved that a lot could happen in that short amount of time. That time limit made me want to continue since if the developers thought 3 minutes was enough, then maybe the end is just a little further than your furthest attempt.
I believe that most of the stages are fair, but they require a lot of trial-and-error. Sometimes I would think that I was in the clear, and then spikes would come out of the wall for a clean kill. You never feel safe in these stages, and I thought the change of pace from such a meticulous action game was a fun distraction when compared to the lore-filled world awaiting you on the other side of the portal.
Once you collect all the of the shards, you’ll get a special present from Miriam, but I wouldn’t want to spoil that. Still, I wish there were different music tracks for each level. It could be because I heard the same song for hours while I completed the DLC, but I did get tired of the upbeat guitar track after a while.
Blasphemous: Strife and Ruin is currently free for all players, so I encourage you to jump in and give it a shot if you haven’t played the base game after completion. This may even be what new players need to purchase the game and test their resolve against this nightmarish adventure. I had a lot of fun with the DLC, and I hope to see more from this world and the developer.
In case you missed it, check out our review of Blasphemous.
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