Among the many video game projects I’ve scouted out through social media or crowdfunding websites is a very promising Metroidvania title with a great deal of potential. Blu, under development at MyOwnGames based in Paris, France, tells the story of the titular character and takes place in a setting reminiscent of Feudal Japan, but with a more varied range of influences in terms of conceptual design. The ninja apprentice Blu must save the land of Talpa from an entity known as The Corrupted amidst a conspiracy that has gripped the land for centuries. The game is almost funded on Kickstarter after what has been a very popular campaign, and with 11 days left to go, I thought it was about time that I gave my verdict on my first impressions of this title after playing the demo. If you’d like to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, you can do so via the link below:
You can also download the demo from the Game’s Steam page via this link:
And if you would also like to read my Q&A with the game’s lead programmer, Damian “Dam” Robinett, you can do so via this link:
But in the meantime, here’s what I thought of Blu in the beta stages of its development:
As I said, the game is set in a world largely based on Feudal Japan, but the Corruption has taken hold of enemies that are very much based on Medieval fantasy, resembling trolls orcs, whilst at the same time, including mechanics enemies similar to those of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s from there that players can understand how Dead Cells became a huge influence on this game, but even in the early stages of development, I can understand how some of these new ideas also come together to form their own cohesive concept. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Lukas Piel, is also extremely catchy and befitting of the settings of the game.
A traditional Metroidvania, players must scour the world in search of collectibles and new abilities in order to advance. It’s also heavy on combat, puzzle-solving, and leveling up preemptively acquired skills, giving it an RPG feel similar to the likes of Dust and Ori 1 and 2. Again, from early on, I could see the potential this game has, with the number of different weapons available to purchase throughout, and the satisfaction to be gained by upgrading abilities and equipment as the game goes on. There is also a fair bit of strategy involved, and different approaches that need to be taken in accordance with what enemies the player faces, similar to Blasphemous, but nowhere near as unforgiving. For as much as I love Blasphemous, the lower difficulty in comparison is welcome.
Since the game is still in the preliminary stages of development, the controls are a little stiff, and the character animations in accordance with them, have not yet been perfected it would seem. But once they have been refined to a greater extent, the controls should be no problem. The demo’s control scheme is far more tailored to the mouse and keyboard, though it can be played with a controller, which in the long-term, will be preferable to most players, so they just need to make sure that controller support is built upon before release, and then there should be no problem with the control scheme whatsoever.
With so many things to do, so many abilities to acquire and upgrade, so many weapons to choose from and so many story elements to it, Blu has the potential to last an exceptionally long time, especially for a Metroidvania game. How long it lasts, to me, depends on the full size of the world, which doesn’t seem to have been revealed yet. My biggest hope for this title is for it to include an open world that, at the bare minimum, is comparable to that of the Ori games, or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, or another upcoming Metroidvania that I’m currently keeping tabs on; Anew: The Distant Light. As long as that is the case where Blu is concerned, then I think we will have quite an impressive title on our hands.
The storyline also has a lot of potential for expanding upon. The basic premise is interesting on its own, but I can’t wait for the introduction of things like support characters, sub-plots, and whatever themes will be perpetuated throughout. Being reminiscent of Feudal Japan, there are a lot of stories told throughout that era that the developers could potentially hearken back to or reference, but as this game clearly is its own fully cohesive concept, there is potential for even more to happen within the story.
Though clearly not without its influences, Blu certainly has the potential to stand out among the many different Metroidvania titles that have been released throughout both the eighth and ninth generations of gaming so far. It will certainly do well to top a lot of the games in the genre that have lacked in more than enough aspects such as Exodus, The Swapper, and Xeodrifter. The game also seems to do better to perpetuate the culture and behavior of ninjas than what many other games do; not to the same extent that Mark of the Ninja, but to a better extent than the likes of Strider or Ninja Gaiden, which portray ninjas as kill-crazy warriors as opposed to how they really operate.
Overall, Blu’s demo certainly perpetuates the potential that this game has to make waves throughout the indie community. The Kickstarter campaign needs to be funded as soon as possible for this title to see the light of day, and it will have certainly been money well spent by the backers and the developers.