Published on February 8th, 2013 | by Simon Booth | Indie Writer1
XBL Indie Game of the Month – Bleed
Bullet-time allows you to re-enact those super-slow motion scenes from your favourite action films. Following its implementation in Max Payne, it has appeared in a number of titles such as Platinum’s Vanquish and Rockstar San Diego’s Red Dead Redemption. However, due to bullet-time appearing fairly late in gaming chronology, earlier titles never benefited from a design feature that was perfectly suited for 2D gaming. That is, until now.
Bleed takes the best of the run-and-gun genre and adds the ability to slow down time to a crawl, allowing you to take out enemies with pin-point accuracy. You have a considerable amount of bullet-time that replenishes automatically when it’s ran dry and you’re eventually able to spend in-game points to increase the rate at which the meter replenishes. On tougher modes, every second of bullet-time becomes crucial, due to Ian Campbell’s (sole employee of Bootdisk Revolution) inclusion of bullet-hell elements, which make Bleed feel like so much more than a simple retro shooter.
The controls take a bit of getting used to, but it’s basically a twin stick shooter with the right rigger used to jump and the left trigger used to implement bullet-time. Clear the first level and the controls become a natural extension of your intentions as you find yourself unconsciously diving through streams of rapid-fire machine gun shells while shooting over your shoulder at some huge gelatinous blob.
Bleed features some lovely pixel animation that is reminiscent of Cave Story’s art style. Wryn (the game’s protagonist) may have also succeeded in being the most likeable and substantial character in the run-and-gun genre and it makes a welcome change to the usual cast of robots and 80s styled Arnie-clones that we’re usually given.
Finish the game and there’s still tons left to do, such as unlocking new weapons and characters and testing your skills on the punishing higher difficulty settings. When measured alongside its run-and-gun predecessors, Bleed easily competes with the likes of Gunstar Heroes and Contra III. The game’s quality is all the more surprising when you discover that it’s Campbell’s debut. Bootdisk Revolution could be the developer to watch out for in the future.
At 400 Microsoft Points, the game is one of the pricier, but also one of the best titles in the XBLIG library. If you don’t have access to an Xbox 360, then you can purchase the game directly online or support the game on Steam’s Greenlight service.