We’ve only just passed that time of year where everyone grabs a bucket of popcorn and either heads to the movie theaters or pops in a DVD before sitting down on the couch to take in a classic horror flick. The fine folks over at Scientifically Proven have set out to capture that same sense of the classic horror kings but with their own unique twist. How well does their platformer, Blood of the Werewolf, hold up? Is it good enough to howl at the moon or should it be put down with a silver bullet? Let’s find out.
Selena was a devoted wife, a loving mother, and a wickedly powerful werewolf. Now, with her husband slain and her child taken captive by other monsters, she vows to take her vengeance and recover the only thing that still matters to her – her child. The task won’t be easy, however. She’ll have to face harsh landscapes and the evil monsters behind the plot themselves.
Blood of the Werewolf is, at its face, a fairly straightforward 2-D platformer game. You’ll control a lady named Selena who wields a crossbow that she can aim in a circle around her to fire at baddies. Along the way she can also pick up some upgrades that will let you either fire flaming bolts that ignite their target or multiple bolts at a time.
One of the most pleasant surprises (and most significant impacts on gameplay) is the fact that, when exposed to the moonlight, Selena transforms from her small, human form to a giant, bloodthirsty werewolf. This provides a fantastic change of pace as well as some welcome variety in how the level designers were able to keep things mixed up.
There are several notable differences in the gameplay portions between Selena’s human form and her werewolf form. First, her human form can jump and climb ladders, but her werewolf form is capable of double-jumping. Second, where she can attack from range as a human, when she’s jonesin’ for blood, nothing but the claws will do. The werewolf form is able to slash and swipe at enemies to take them down. A heavier attack can be executed for major damage. The werewolf also gets a meter that fills as she consumes the hearts of her fallen foes, which she can harness for devastating attacks. This allows each form to contain its own unique play experience, keeping things fresh for the player.
As with any platformer, level design is a major element of the overall game. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the team at Scientifically Proven have studied their forerunners and know how to build some intense sets. Many of the elements used throughout the game will feel familiar to anyone who’s dug in to platformer in the last three decades. They use them to great effect, however.
Timed crushing walls, crumbling platforms, fire traps, well placed enemies, and more fill every level. Conquering each stage provides a real sense of accomplishment for challenge seekers. The only problem, though, is that the game isn’t really catered for newcomers of the genre. Veterans will likely experience a few points where they have to take a break and walk away or risk destroying hardware to ease their frustration. The game keeps a death counter for you, though, and the checkpoint system is well implemented, keeping it manageable for anyone willing to continue trying their hand.
The storytelling in Blood of the Werewolf really feels top notch. Selena’s narrative between missions are both well written and voice acted, giving the players a sense of the rage she feels while trying to impart narrative to the players and she searches for her child. It’s a fun, interesting story and they do a good job executing on it.
The art style in Blood of the Werewolf is wonderfully done. The color palette caters those classic horror settings. If you’ve ever played through a Castlevania game, you’ll feel right at home with the aesthetic. What’s more than the colors and settings, the characters and animations are quite fun to see and watch. The 2.5-D engine almost makes the characters feel somewhat papercraft, almost giving the sense that you’re playing through an animated film instead of a game.
The music is both fun and thematic. It captures some of the ominous feeling you’d get from one of the classic horror films like Frankenstein or Dracula, but it keeps the game feeling somewhat lighthearted while it drives the action. As mentioned earlier, the voice acting genuinely feels great. Selena’s narrative wonderfully performed, and in her interactions with some of the other monsters she encounters, you can really sense the emotion she’s conveying. Don’t mute this game – especially during story moments.
Overall, Blood of the Werewolf is a great platformer. It provides a wonderful sense of atmosphere, the story is well written and well told, and the gameplay mechanics feel fantastic. You may destroy a keyboard or controller out of rage, but you’ll want to buy another to see this great game to the end. Fans of platformers, especially old-school platformers, should give this game a serious look.
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