Bloodstained Ritual of the Night – The second game in the bloodstained series that was one of Kickstarters most successful games of 2015, Koji Igarashi brings his talents to this the second intsallemnt of the series. Fans of the first can rest assured that this game does nothing wrong and only builds on its formula. I got about 30 minutes of time with a playable demo build, and my impressions were overall positive.

I was allowed two separate scenarios, one where I Started with nothing, and one where I started with a well geared character to fight a boss.  The first scenario started me at the beginning of the game, with nothing but a pair of boot to kick with, and my wits. I quickly learned the games basic controls and got down to business.

Anyone familiar with castlevania is going to feel right at home here, I myself was briefly addicted to Aria of Sorrow so I was able to hop right in. Enemies mostly came in the form of simple single hits mobs, or larger easily patterned mobs that took 4 or 5 hits to take down. I enjoyed the mix or exploration  and combat, and of course this is a metroidvania so there was plenty of exploring to do.

Exploring was well rewarded with new items, lots of mana potions, and the occasional gold reward. The game has a lot of cool throwbacks, like hitting the lights drops items, and bosses don’t have a weak spot, but instead are one large hitbox.

I enjoyed the flat art style, and the characters, but with my limited time I didn’t really get to explore much. I was able to clear out the first area, which was a ship, and fight the first boss, who was as massive as all Metroidvania bosses should be. I fought him twice, the first time I died immediately, because I am not good at video games. The second time I learned how to use potions (you have to pause the game to do so) and managed to win. It was a fun battle, and the boss had plenty of moves and it enjoyed the jumping and dodging.

Beyond the basics, Bloodstained offers a few unique things. First is how it deals with magic, every enemy you kill has a chance to drop a magical crystal shard. These shards are where you get your various magic powers from. So an enemy that shoots an arrow, might drop a shard that lets you shoot an arrow, a fire enemy, let you create fire, etc. It’s an interesting system, and I like how it makes each different enemy seem worth it to engage and not just run past.

Combat is a simple formula, one button for attack, one button for one magic spell, one button for a second spell, and jumping. It’s a simple formula that is a nice call back to a much simpler time in gaming. My demo was short, but even in the time I had I was able to find several weapons, including one ranged weapon which had two types of ammo. So its clear that although I didn’t get to see too many, there will be tons of weapons.

I had a good time playing Bloodstained Ritual of the Night, and I think it will be a good entry in to the series for both veteran fans of the genre, and new comers.