Blood of the Werewolf Review
Challenging platformers aren’t exactly lacking these days, and although action-platformers are slightly less in abundance they’re still very frequent. It takes a lot for difficult platformers to stand out from the crowd of excellent torture platformers like Cloudberry Kingdom or Super Meat Boy, something which Blood of the Werewolf manages to do pretty well with its colourful art style and fluid transition between methodical human form and fast-paced and all-powerful werewolf form. Although there are certainly more difficult platformers out there, Blood of the Werewolf manages to remain challenging and engaging throughout its 6-7 hour lifespan; and for $10 you could do a lot worse.
The game tries to tell a deep and investing story about a human-werewolf mother who seeks to save her child from evil, basically. It offers a cute little distraction from the gameplay but feels ultimately unnecessary, and some questionable writing makes it feel even more pointless. A little context doesn’t hurt the game and some people will surely appreciate the break between the frustratingly difficult levels, and the mini-cutscenes feature some decent voice acting and they have a pretty nice visual aesthetic to them. A variety of horror flick villains and monsters make quick cameos, usually in amount of blue relics, often placed in risky or hard to reach places, but the game the form of boss fights, from Dracula to Mr. Hyde from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Gameplay combines precise platforming, especially later in the game, with taking out targets who insist on making your life living hell. Basic gameplay has you play in human form when indoors, wielding a crossbow that can fire single shots or multi shots, and a werewolf when outside, which, naturally, can rip foes to shreds with its all powerful claws as well as a host of unlockable abilities. New werewolf abilities and their upgrades can be found throughout levels, hidden out of sight or out of reach, health upgrades must also be collected and so deep exploration and cautious progress can be nicely rewarding. Since your health will increase after collecting a certain amount of health relics, the game would definitely benefit by telling you how many more relics you need for your next upgrade.
The game is split into several stages that take place in a nice variety of locations, from snowy peaks to dark, dank woods. Early levels have stronger focus on action and offer generally feature pretty forgiving platforming, but as the game progresses the platforming starts to get more precise and often pretty punishing. Blood of the Werewolf is at its best when it’s fluidly switching between human sections and werewolf sections, which is certainly done better later in the game. Human sections feel calculated and methodically paced, often requiring you to snipe projectile firing enemies that prevent you from making progress, whilst werewolf sections have a fast and exciting pace to them, as you rip through enemies half your size and dash through platforming segments. The constant variation in pace fits excellently with the game’s general tone. The excellent level design of every stage makes precision platforming completely necessary in order to progress, as avoiding projectiles and falling objects requires some calculated movements. Thankfully, although later stages can get pretty punishing at times, most of the checkpoints are fair and well-spaced out.
Boss encounters act as filler in between every second stage, and range from super intense and challenging to pretty lacklustre, but that usually depends on how long it takes you to figure out attack patterns. Most boss fights take advantage of both human and werewolf form, taking particular advantage of the werewolf’s double jump and the human’s slow movement speed and long range. The last couple of bosses in particular can get really challenging at times, and the last boss really starts to outstay its welcome after the first three phases. Boss encounters are a great way to see the benefit of your upgrade hunting, especially your health upgrades, and really make exploration feel rewarding.
Blood of the Werewolf has a vibrant and unique art style that plays well off of the goofy fantasy-horror themes. An intense and slightly goofy soundtrack fits the game well whilst some decent voice acting does the job serviceably, although the dialogue can get a little self-serious at times and sometimes the game’s tone seems a little confused at times, as it tries to juggle a goofy art style and fun horror flick cameos with a tense and self-serious storyline. Naturally, this is a platformer, and a precise one at that, so the game controls much better with a controller, but the game is actually playable with a mouse and keyboard and I actually found aiming the crossbow to be easier with a mouse.
Overall, it’s a fun and challenging 6-7 hour experience with some decent replay value in the form of upgrade hunting and collecting all of the relics, and for $10 you could do a lot worse. The challenge generally feels fair with some well-spaced checkpoints to match. Unfortunately, the game’s story features some questionable writing and the self-serious tone of the dialogue often clashes with the colourful art style and cartoony appearance.