Bleed (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Bleed is a somewhat unique run and gun shooter platformer featuring retro graphics and sensibilities.  The story is a little unclear.  I think you’re a girl who is either gunning to be the number one video game hero or she’s just imaging it all (as you see her on the start screen writing a story at her desk and you select stages off a list that she’s writing).  But once you start playing, it really doesn’t matter as you’ll just be shooting everything that moves in this frantic downloadable game for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (reviewed on PS4 here).

In the game you move left and right in 2-D space, but you jump using the R trigger button.  It’s a bit unconventional, but the reason it’s that way is because you use the right analog stick to aim and shoot in any direction.  So it’s like a twin stick shooter mixed with a 2-D platformer.  Press the jump button in midair and you can do a double jump/dash move.  Hold down the L button to slow down time for a short while, and the R button changes your current weapon.

You can buy new weapons as well as health and power upgrades in a shop, using your score as a means of currency.  You can carry two weapons at a time.  You’ll start out using a quick but weak machine gun and a slow but strong missile launcher.  But later you can buy laser guns, spread shots, and much more.  You can also unlock new characters by beating the game in different difficulty selections.  And a second player can join in, too, which is cool.

I only had two main problems with the game.  One is that it’s insanely hard, even on Easy mode.  The other problem is that jumping felt a little floaty, which was especially noticeable when you had to make precise jumps.  But if you enjoy old school run and gun shooters like Contra, you may want to check this one out anyway.

Kid Factor:

Bleed is rated T for Teen with an ESRB descriptor of Language.  Wait, what?  I first thought that the ESRB web page might’ve gotten their wires crossed, but that’s the rating it gets on all the official Bleed pages I looked at.  Honestly I don’t remember seeing any bad language in the game, but there is lots of shooting and retro style violence, and when you shoot some enemies, they’ll burst into splats of pixelly red stuff.  But really the game’s no more violent than an early 90’s arcade game.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and some gamers may get frustrated at the high difficulty.

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