The tale of revenge has been one that has captivated audiences, no matter the medium. There is just something satisfying in seeing someone getting their comeuppance and that feeling is hard to replicate under any other circumstances. In Paper Cult’s Bloodroots, that poetic justice is delivered by players’ own hands, and boy, is this lightning-quick action game utterly fun and engaging.
It is a straightforward enough premise. As Mr. Wolf, you are left for dead by a gang led by a colourful variety of villains. All are named hilariously after various animals, and their characteristics are eerily similar too. Having made it out alive, it is time for this woodsman to take his revenge by going on a swift and murderous rampage throughout the many levels of Bloodroots.
The gameplay loop and design sound simple enough, but to truly realise the true art of killing, there is plenty to learn and perfect throughout your adventures. Killing enemies takes only one hit, but so do you. You can chain multiple kills together, and your proficiency in doing so will be graded at the end. It is like a traditional score chase, leaderboard hook, but so much bloodier.
However, the truly unique aspects that set Bloodroots apart from the pack are the tools at your disposal, as well as the playgrounds of death in each level. Sure, you can melee the first unsuspecting foe, but what about the rest of the hoodlums? Perhaps you will want to set them on fire, roll over them with barrels, a deadly axe is always handy – their final destination is yours to chart. Even the seemingly harmless carrot is a potent weapon in Mr. Wolf’s capable hands.
As you arrive in each of the levels in Bloodroots’ three acts, the true potential of this wacky arsenal is yours to realise. Limited only by your imagination and the deftness of your control, it can either be poetry in motion or a horror film of your own demise. Mastering the various weapons is an immensely gratifying process, and the unrelenting nature of the game keeps you driving forward at all times.
The level designs are brilliantly concocted as well, providing players with multiple routes and options towards the end goal. As you replay and understand each level better, you will begin to see ideal routes that will take full advantage of the weapons. With limited use of each object, you will learn to string together kills, switching weapons with ease, and the mayhem that ensues is always a thing of beauty.
There appear to be optimal paths you can take, but straying off the beaten path is nevertheless rewarding in its own sense. The sense of freedom and creative problem solving is punctuated by the intense action on-screen, delivered in a stylistic fashion that is a visual delight. Even if you find yourself at the wrong end of a stick, Bloodroots never truly feels frustrating. Every death is a learning experience that makes you an even better killing machine.
Those lessons learned will serve you well as you come up against the various bosses of the gang. Capping off the end of each act, it will take all of the skills and tricks you have mastered thus far in order to bring the villains to their knees. Even better yet, they are not like the typical stages. Rather, each boss fight presents distinctly different conditions that keep things fresh.
Movement is quick enough, although you will definitely need to get used to Mr. Wolf’s speed and range of motion. He is agile enough to zip around stages, jump heights, and generally dice through all who stand in his way. Just beware of the icy areas though, those might just be your biggest threat.
After you have completed the main storyline of the game, Bloodroots is not over. For those chasing high scores and efficiency, the neverending and expeditious cycle of gameplay will keep you entertained for hours. There are even hidden wolves to uncover, as well as different hats to unlock. Each brings not just cosmetic changes, but also gameplay modifiers that can refresh your replays.
The revenge tale that is Bloodroots is brought to life further by the artistic choices made by Paper Cult. The vibrant colours, stark lines, and environments are all brilliantly captured, and the rocking soundtrack will have you on an adrenaline rush throughout.
Although Mr. Wolf is the strong, silent type, he is balanced by some truly nefarious villains. The despicableness of the enemy seemingly leaps off the screen, and are interesting enough to keep you digging for more. Anything you will learn about Mr. Wolf comes via these interactions, and the buildup towards the end is something worth your time.
A bloody good time from start to finish, Bloodroots champions its gameplay and style that is a wonderful addition to the likes of Hotline Miami and Ape Out. A spellbinding world, insanely creative murder weapons, and breathtaking art direction elevate Paper Cult’s Bloodroots into an action title to kill for.
Bloodroots is available on the US PSN store for US$19.99.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Guaranteed to be a good time, kill off your boredom with the fantastic Bloodroots.
Gameplay - 9/10
Story - 8/10
Presentation - 8/10
Value - 8/10