In BLEED you play as Wryn, a girl with big ambitions to become the ultimate hero by taking on the greatest heroes of all time. At its core bleed is a fast paced 2D platformer, that is mixed with twin stick shooting, giving the game an overall unique feel. This mix of platforming and twin stick shooting means getting to learn a whole new controller layout, typical platformers will have you pressing the A button to jump, in BLEED however, your right thumb will will be too busy aiming and shooting with the right stick, so jump has been bound to the right trigger. I did find myself struggling to get used to this as my instincts were to reach for the A button, but a few minutes of acclimatising to pulling the right trigger and I was away. It works well, keeping the gameplay flowing as you jump around the screen firing at anything that moves.
Wryn also has the ability to slow down time, while it only lasts for a few seconds, it is a vital part of gameplay and using it at the right time is essential. It gives a sense of satisfaction, especially during boss fights to nail a jump through a storm of bullets without taking any damage. Speaking of which Boss fights do come regularly, with mini bosses to keep you on your toes to break up the platforming sections and of course take your life down before meeting the main bosses.
They are tricky at first but BLEED stays true to the old school platforming rule of learning patterns, you’ll want to practice each level to not only make it to the boss with as much life as possible, but also learn their attack patterns. this is key to making it through BLEED, while the game is short with just 7 levels it’s the challenge of coming back again and again, once you feel comfortable, up the difficulty. Which I have to say even on easy the game is a challenge. To aid you though, Wryn earns points as you play through the game, which can be spent in the shop between levels to purchase new weapons and power ups to make life that little bit easier once you do retry or up the difficulty.
The shop contains a variety of weapons that once purchased can be equipped in any combination, and upgrades to health and energy. While Wryn can only carry two weapons at a time, you can change them out during a level by simply pausing the game and accessing the change weapons menu. It’s also worth noting that BLEED can be played in couch co-op.
Life span is probably the biggest issue with BLEED while some may relish in the challenge of upping the difficulty, practising boss fights in challenge mode or taking on the one life only arcade mode, some may find it too frustrating and give up quite early. It’s definitely a game any hardcore gamer should check out, while casual gamers should be prepared for their patience to be tested. Visually the game is bright and colourful, with 16 bit graphics keeping true to its roots, and the audio is quite fitting too.