Sometimes you become possessed by projects that aren’t even yours. These few months I have been engulfed by a game called Bloodstained – Ritual of the Night, by Koji Igarashi, often credited as simply IGA. If you do not know about him, he is the maker of Symphony of the Night, a highly received Castlevania games on multiple systems and this is a love letter to those that enjoy a good IGAvania.
Along with the internal hype I am feeling, I have given a whole lot of thought, ideas and feedback to the official fan forums, which the developers visit from time to time: http://bloodstainedfanforums.com
The common themes that people complain about gives me the feel that they do not know what an IGAvania is all about.
I have had the thrill of trying out the E3 2016 Demo, and later this year, all the backers (those of us that have helped the project going strong) will get the next demo. Hopefully there will be enough adventure in the demo to let me give a more in-depth constructive feedback back to the developers. I am all for helping out, mostly if it is as enjoyable as a game like Bloodstained. And the hero in the game is a cursed female by the name of Miriam. A gothic story about love, passion, alchemy and hellish creatures.
No need to complain
The common themes that people complain about gives me the feel that they do not know what an IGAvania is all about. So please let me explain the comparison between an IGAvania and a Metroidvania game for dummies.
- IGAvania is about exploration, tight control, shopkeepers and loot. RPG combined with classic Castlevania. There is also grinding involved.
- Metroidvania is about exploration, but also about shooting, finding weapons and running with a timer.
There is of course so much more attached to each of these type of games, but keeping this in mind you will understand the basics behind the expressions. While many sites have this confused people that understand the difference read Metroidvania as IGAvania. There is no harm in that.
Also worth mentioning, since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night came out, there have been an arsenal of weapons for the hero to use. Alchemy and crafting will also take part in Bloodstained.
So, why ‘Bloodstained’?
“We thought it was a perfect fit to describe the stained glass curse that spreads, like a virus, across the host’s body. That explains “Stained,” at least. As for the rest of the title, IGA has always been a big fan of blood. (And naming the game “Igavania” was a bit too embarrassing for IGA.)” [source]
“When we initially started this Kickstarter project, we knew a lot of these side-scrolling games were referred to as Metroidvanias. But when we began the project, we thought, “We shouldn’t use the name Metroid because that’s someone else’s IP.” So this “Igavania” name is not something I made up, this is something that others made up. We decided to call it Igavania and it was something that stuck with the fans and they started calling it that too. It’s embarrassing for me but I’m very honored and I didn’t expect that to stick with everyone.” – IGA [source] Thanks to Lestaroth for the quote and about the info on the IGAvania genre.
So what do people complain about?
First and mostly about Miriam, the heroines speed.
- Her running: There will be upgrades so she will get around quicker. But this game is still an IGAvania, not an Metroidvania. No issue here. Perhaps we wont see her changing into a wolf and run across the map in a few seconds, but there will be enough to get even speedrunners a good ‘run for the money‘.
- Animation makes her look slow: Playing her doesn’t feel slow at all, but if it looks that way I guess and it will look that way until the animations are rendered differently – or – you have to deal with it. The feel is more important here as she can double jump, dash away and aim in all directions with both shards (alchemic magical powers) and weapons.
- Castlevania characters had faster attacks than Miriam: I am having a hard time agreeing with this one, while older games just handled one weapon of an Belmont, Alucard in Symphony of the Night had a great range of weapons, from slow to super fast. We can’t compare just yet how fast Miriams fastest weapon will be like because we probably haven’t seen it yet. Having Alucards beginning and Miriams beginning side by side doesn’t do anyone justice since Alucard had a high-end weapon right at the start, while Miriam had .. well, just a simple level 1 sword.
It looks dumb / boring: Some areas are almost done, others are not. The copy + phase mechanic will also seem a bit less compare to any older games which had a lot of copy + phase. There will be random generated corridors and backgrounds that goes along with your journey through the village and castle. It is all for the better and within just a few months of development there was a big difference in how the Village looked and felt.
I am not a reviewer, this is just my two cents, and to back this up you really should join the forums if you are loving what you are seeing in Bloodstained. We discuss all day and all night about features, requests, ideas and making poll about many different questions. Podcasts are a really nice bonus and the Bloodstained discord is always a peach to take part in.
Bloodstained is coming out on PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam and GoG) early 2018.
If you want to pre-order it you will also recieve a swordwhip (epic ingame weapon) and a ‘Pure Miriam’ skin to slay demons with and a powerful hidden boss.
Thanks for the read. Can’t wait for the Bloodstained release!