From indie developer Paper Cult, Bloodroots is a brilliantly designed game that sees the player work their way through countless enemies in the most violent and creative ways possible. Boasting a quirky and intriguing story along with some great visuals, the game is brought together by a superb soundtrack and an emphasis on improvisation, and all in all, Bloodroots combines chaos, creativity, and carrots into something special.
Starring the ruthless Mister Wolf, a man who is killed right at the beginning of the game, Bloodroots follows his mysterious resurrection and quest for revenge against a group of similarly eccentric villains. Although the real focus of the game is its combat the story that sets up each act add up to a truly interesting, funny, and smart narrative.
Visually Bloodroots delivers something not unlike a 3D Samurai Jack, with over the top action and some great character designs, combined with a sombre tone, and some very fitting music. The likes of Mister Wolf, the countless henchmen he takes on and the higher up villains like Mister Black Wolf, Miss Bison, and Mr Boar inhabit a bright, colourful, and intriguingly designed world that makes the player want to explore and experiment as much as possible.
Another of the games biggest draws is a killer soundtrack. From Vibe Avenue each level boasts an electric western track that perfectly suits the setting and style of that area. On top of that, each accompanies working through endless waves of enemies and somehow manages to suit any number of gruesome attacks, no matter if that is with a carrot, a sword, or a corpse for a weapon.
But ultimately, where Bloodroots shines more than anywhere else is in its level design and unique gameplay mechanics. In another game, the idea of using almost everything you see as a weapon could simply be a gimmick, where plenty are available but there are only a few that the player actually uses. But in Bloodroots it is quickly revealed to be an ingenious and meticulously thought out system with much more to it than first appears.
As Mister Wolf progresses through the early levels of Bloodroots it becomes clear that the variety of weapons leads to several different ways to take on a situation. The game encourages a level of freedom that in turn leads to some genuine creativity, through various traps and a wide variety of weapons.
After the first few levels the patterns and directions the game subtly puts forward become clearer, and the level design more apparent. Mister Wolf is able to angle a dash through a line of enemies brandishing a sword (which enables him to dash), that move quickly brings him to a new weapon like a ladder that allows him to jump over an upcoming gap, at which point he arrives at a large sword perfect for taking out the group of enemies waiting behind a tree, which he can cut down to fall on top of them.
The player can use the various carrots, wooden tables, dead bodies, and trees however you wish but as the game becomes more familiar you can see where it is pushing you and why that weapon will help in one scenario, but might not be the best for another. This brings an intriguing level of puzzle solving to the game, particularly if you want to climb the leaderboards and get the most points in the least amount of time.
Bloodroots wants the player to learn the best way through a level. So even though Mister Wolf dies after one hit, he respawns almost instantly, allowing the player to make mistakes and experiment with as many different methods of sociopathic mass murder as they like.
Adding even more to the game is some great boss battles, which harness as much of what the player has learnt up until that point in large set pieces. And the changeable animal skins (or ‘Hats’) that allow special perks or effects when replaying a level. These hats are interchangeable at Mister Wolf’s campsite, which the player visits in-between story chapters to sleep (which often leads to a cutscene here Mister Wolf is killed or he talks to the ghosts of his enemies…). The first unlockable animal skins, which Mister Wolf swaps for the Wolfskin he normally wears, include a Bear Skin which “punches enemies to bits” and a Boar Skin which proves a constant dash punch.
All in all the lightning-paced action game combines some smooth and intuitive gameplay with some great visuals, a solid soundtrack, some extremely fun boss battles, and some clever systems and mechanics which hide a very in-depth game beneath the surface. In short, Bloodroots is fast, silly, fun, creative, and addictive, all of which add up to a truly great game.
Bloodroots is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, check out the trailer HERE