An ancient evil is finally defeated, but not before it succeeds in shattering the sun. The Shadow Titan’s death releases a blight on that land that corrupts all; But a brave few venture forward to restore the land in Revolver Digital’s Blightbound
A side-scrolling action RPG, Blightbound tasks up to three players, made up of either human controlled characters or bots, to complete quests and dungeons with the aim of releasing the land from the grip of the blight and the evils it creates.
From a mountain top camp, our hero is tasked with an initial foray into the graveyard to rescue a recent scouting party who haven’t returned. Introducing players to the skills each class of character has at hand, this first level acts as a tutorial ensuring you know the ropes before all hell breaks loose.
Back at camp you are treated to a few more explanations in how gear and experience works and how to power up your selected characters as you complete various dungeon runs. Spending points in the classic RPG stats such as Power and Agility raises either your damage or movement speed and with five stats to spend your points across it’s quite easy to focus in a certain category to build characters which suit your play style or compensate for things you find particularly difficult.
Gear and cash found throughout each level can also be equipped to add further bonuses and higher level gear often has rarer attributes making repeated runs on higher levels key for those trying to build the right armour set. Thankfully, Blightbound tells you what enemy drops each type of collectible item so you can focus on farming a specific area or level to find a higher level variant or just another of the same type to bestow to another character.
New characters can be rescued from the blight if you can find them within a level and then escape successfully after completing your mission. You can find them back at the camp and fall into one of three camps — Warriors, Assassins and Mystics. Each had a set of skills and attributes and made for a variation on the theme of the first three characters you unlock in the tutorial.
Whilst three players can cooperate together through the dangers of Blightbound it’s also possible to play through in single player with two bits as random characters. Whilst the bots are welcome; there are instances where some human intelligence is better. Healing can be challenging with bots in play since it’s an Area of Effect spell. You’ll need them to get within a certain radius of the caster and it’s not always easy. There are also several puzzles using pressure plates which the bots just seemed to ignore and it meant a restart of several levels when the AI didn’t kick in causing an impasse.
Blightbound is also pretty challenging and more strategic than most side scrolling fighters (like the recent Streets of Rage 4). Enemies hit hard, even in the first few levels, and it’s easy to suddenly find yourself down or without enough mana to heal up. Hit and run tactics tend to work best and holding on to your skills for the more challenging adversaries is wise.
Graphically the game shines, The art style of the player characters is reminiscent of the style used in Darkest Dungeon, with heavy outlines used to detail the models and splashes of colour across the high resolution artwork. The world you explore is three dimensional, as a contrast, although the static camera ensures it’s always viewed from the same angle as it alters it’s zoom level depending on the situation.
Quite a challenging affair, Blightbound is best played with a few friends as communication is key in the later stages. A smooth fighter with a sharp presentation and some good atmospheric level design which is further accentuated by some excellent voice acting bringing the protagonists to life.
Blightbound is out now on Xbox Series X, PC and PS5.