Dark Souls Meets Hotline Miami? That’s Blood Alloy

As I wade through the acres of lovely roguelikes that are so splendidly birthing from the gaming pods, my awful half-empty heart can’t stop itself from asking one question: but what about all the metroidvanias? Why aren’t we being overwhelmed by those, too? So thank goodness for Frank Washburn, who has thrown his Harmonix uniform into the laundry basket and donned the casualwear of an indie developer – Suppressive Fire Games. They’re bringing us Blood Alloy.

We’ve all had days like this. You wake up in a laboratory, can’t remember who on Earth you are, and then – tsk – discover that you’ve been converted into a cyborg against your will. Tuesdays, eh?! That’s the fate of Blood Alloy’s female lead character, who for reasons she doesn’t know, has everyone she meets trying to make her all dead.

Hey, how about that! A metroidvania that looks like one! I’m loving that combination of SNESy graphics and mouse/keyboard-controlled action. And that’s an interesting list of inspirations – Dark Souls, Vanquish and Hotline Miami. Right now my criticism would be that those jumps look incredibly floaty, but of course this is pre-alpha, so hopefully we’ll see some gravity in there soon.

Oh, and a Kickstarter. I say that, because I’ve only just noticed, and in telling us about the project, Washburn didn’t even mention it. He’s only after $50k, and we do need more of this sort of thing.


  1. szendroib says:

    Some of the stages are way too hard to read in the trailer. Blue platforms in front of blue background for example. The game itself could end up being fun, time will tell.

  2. RedViv says:

    Up with that sort of thing!

  3. Metalfish says:

    Surprised these comments aren’t full of abuse.

    • Moni says:

      Everyone trying to avoid being Contraversial.

      Something, something Turrican.

      Metal Slug.

  4. Oryon says:

    I would have rather said it was ‘inspired by’ Abuse, which it looks exactly like….except worse.

    • faelnor says:

      I logged in to say just that.

      It’s fine to pretend to take inspiration from all those critically-acclaimed games, not so much when the gameplay video shows something so completely different. In fact, it looks so strinkingly similar to Abuse (especially the character’s and enemies’ animations as well as the scrolling) that I’m wondering if they’re using its public domain source release as a base.

      • botonjim says:

        Well they do acknowledge Abuse, and explain the reason for the inclusion of every one of their supposed influences in the Kickstarter:

        “Metroid: Rich worlds, environmental storytelling, discovering secrets, gaining new abilities and weapons

        Turrican: 360-degree aiming, level design that rewards exploration

        Hotline Miami: Savage gunplay, ruthlessly aggressive enemies, pounding soundtrack

        Demon’s Souls/ Dark Souls: Stamina-based combat mechanics, cohesive world-building,

        Vanquish: Extremely mobile main character, blisteringly fast-paced combat

        Abuse: Dark atmosphere, terrifying enemies, simultaneous run-and-gun gameplay with 360 degree aiming

        Deus Ex: Brilliant storyline, gameplay and narrative that completely branch for the last half-hour of gameplay depending on your choices”

        After watching the video and reading the explanations most of them do make some sense to me (except the Turrican one, that’s quite redundant when you already have Metroid and Abuse in the mix). I think this looks quite good.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      It definitely looks more like it’s been lifted from Abuse than any of the games it lists as inspiration.

      I also have to agree that it looks worse, can’t place my finger on it but it may be something to do with how odd some of the animations look.

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        Her upper body doesn’t jiggle and the color scheme is all over the place, and it’s generally not as well drawn as abuse.

    • Nim says:

      It may well be that these developers have never played Abuse, it is 17 years old after all. It may also be that they choose not to mention it out of concern that their intended audience have never played abuse, which is more likely. All the titles they have chosen to draw influences from are fairly recent after all. Also we must remember that what is currently being shown is pre-alpha material so we should not be too damning yet.

    • belgand says:

      It’s interesting how many games in recent years have obviously been inspired by Abuse. I remember when it came out it got a good bit of press, but obviously not enough and just sort of vanished away. Almost as interesting is how few of them manage to acknowledge it or may not even be aware of it themselves.

  5. golem09 says:

    I hate 2D controls where I have to move with keyboard and aim with the mouse. Just feels weird to me. At the same time, doing this with a controller is not precise enough.

    And then there is my weird aversion for 2D (platformers) with those long, high characters. They’re the reason I never liked Super Metroid or Castlevania.

    • noodlecake says:

      easy solution. Move with left analogue stick, aim with right analogue stick. Much more intuitive and comfortable ;)

    • nimbulan says:

      That’s really too bad, I love mouse aiming in 2D games. It’s much much precise than the clumsy aiming of gamepad joysticks though some games like to screw it up by moving the camera with your crosshair.

  6. DrScuttles says:

    Having recently been on a bit of a Castlevania binge and what with Dark Souls being the best of all the things, this looks right up my shady and dangerous-looking alley.
    Having said that, it cites Dark Souls as a source of inspiration but nothing in the trailer suggests the same deliberate heft of that game. Granted it’s probably not the kind of thing you can make a judgement on after about 2 minutes of early footage. I’m getting flashes of the old Amiga game Assassin from it, too.

    • golem09 says:

      Maybe it has the bonfire/respawn mechanic for enemies.

      • David Shute says:

        From watching the blue bar in the top corner of the screen, I suspect it’s got a Dark Souls-inspired stamina mechanic.

    • tasteful says:

      darksoulslike means Hard

    • kyrieee says:

      “Inspired by Dark Souls” doesn’t mean that much to me. So you want to make a game like one of the best games ever made? Good on you, but DkS’s brilliance is in its execution not in one core concept you can easily replicate. It’s like setting out to make a platformer inspired by Super Meat Boy, it’s not good because it’s hard, it’s good because it’s fucking good.

  7. Monkeh says:

    IMO those jumps look the good kind of floaty.. if that makes any sense. :P
    Lots of air time but still fully in control.

  8. Bull0 says:

    Awful lot of “This game is X meets Y” headlines lately!

    • MarcP says:

      Aye, with awfully little ressemblance to the games listed.

      People can enjoy the same things in different ways, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

    • DrScuttles says:

      This game is like X meets Y, on acid!

      • Bull0 says:

        I laughed :D

      • wcq says:

        I pictured people meeting over a pit of acid.
        Probably in an evil lair of some description.

        • DrScuttles says:

          That’s far more appropriate to the medium of video games than my own notion of a bunch of people rambling confusedly at 6 in the morning about whether Thomas the Tank Engine is CGI or still models because look at the faces, they’re all blurred and CGI isn’t exactly real, but it exists, doesn’t it? It’s in a computer somewhere and that was made by a man so sure it is real in all senses of the word but it’s not really real, like we’re real and here and oh, Noddy’s on, look, he’s lost his killing arm.

  9. Jack_Dandy says:

    This game looks like a terrible clone of Abuse.

  10. Harlander says:

    Hmm… combining something I enjoyed (Hotline Miami) with something I hated (Dark Souls)?

    This promises to be something I’ll… be perfectly ambivalent about?

  11. Turkey says:

    “Inspired by the people who brought you your favorite games.”

  12. The_invalid says:

    I really want to like the idea behind this, but I’m skeptical as to why they need such a large team and $50,000 to make something that, when I first saw it, thought it was going to be a free release developed by maybe a team of three at the most.

  13. Glottis1 says:

    Looks like decent web browser game. Why would people play money to play this?

  14. Lucid says:

    Exactly what about this even resembles Dark Souls or Hotline Miami?

    What a terrible comparison to make, for shame.

    • chiablo says:

      I agree… people like to throw around the Dark Souls name without any context at all. The only time I’ve ever agreed with people comparing a game to Dark Souls is with La Mulana. But even then, you have to really stretch your imagination to link the two.

    • Fatrat says:

      I think Road Rash meets Street Fighter would be about as accurate as their own comparisons/inspirations. Are they just trying to ride coattails or something? Definitely looks more like Abuse (as mentioned above), except not good. Hell, for a more recent comparison, how about Shadow Complex on the 360? Except, again, not good.

      I’m sure they can improve it if they get funding, but i don’t like these comparisons being self-applied like this.

    • FraynkWash says:

      Hi all! Thanks for all of the feedback and the comments.

      I’m a huge fan of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls – spent dozens of hours PvP’ing in 4-1 with a claymore+faith build. I’ll agree that the Dark Souls comparison is not immediately apparent without a discussion of the game’s mechanics – so here goes!

      The combat in the Souls games is defined by stamina regulation – attacking, blocking, and dodging all consume stamina, and the act of holding up your shield slows your stamina regen. Thus your stamina management becomes critical, and it makes every action or inaction you take. A secondary component to this is the visual tell of every enemy about to attack you with its melee weapon. Now, when you swap out melee weapons with guns, that pre-emptive “visual tell” of an incoming attack is gone – to say nothing of the range aspect involved. That’s why we compensated by upping the speed and dynamic abilities of the player character. I know Dark Souls combat is slow, methodical, and thoughtful, but we’re still tweaking the gameplay to get it to feel great with guns – using Dark Soul’s stamina mechanics as a starting point. Hope this clears thing up!

      • derbefrier says:

        nice thanks for the explanation. game looks great cant wait to try it out!

      • Beefsurgeon says:

        I think it looks pretty good so far!

        The enlightened commenter would do well to take a look at the “Sources of Inspiration” section on the Kickstarter page. It explains what elements are being incorporated from the games mentioned.

  15. Keyrock says:

    This honestly reminded me of Strider more than anything else.

  16. noodlecake says:

    There’s Owlboy in development which is an absolutely beautiful metroidvania game. Definitely worth checking out if nobody has seen it.

  17. Doghaus says:

    They want to have a look at that running animation. It’s the fact the upper body remains static while the legs move that gives it that weird “slidey” feel I think. The jumping looks fun though (I like the jet-pack-to-wall-climb combo) and I approve of platformers with mouse aiming.

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, and it seems a little too quick to me as well. I don’t mind the jumping that much, but it’s distracting when the upper body simply acts like a stationary turret.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Well, she is a cyborg. Just saying.

  18. SillyWizard says:

    Ah, combat cartwheels. I propose that they scrap their current concept, and run with a Gymkata theme.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • belgand says:

      A noble idea, but I think a gymkhana theme would be even better. We still have yet to see a truly definitive example in video games. Even after Gymkhana Girl paired up with Angel Summoner!

  19. Tommando says:

    Speaking of Kickstarted Metroidvanias, this lovely game just released a few days ago: link to desura.com

    You RPS folks should take a look at it.

  20. nimbulan says:

    As much as I’m always hungering for more Metroidvania games, this one doesn’t seem to have much going for it. I understand it’s alpha/pre-alpha, but the whole video looks like placeholder art on the very first playable build. Everything about it just looks clumsy and ugly. If this isn’t what the game will look and play like when it’s done then it’s nowhere near ready to be shown to the public.

    When competing with games like A.N.N.E and Ghost Song, new Metroidvanias really need to make themselves stand out and give people a reason to back the project.

  21. JiminyJickers says:

    Looks great, me want.

  22. Scrofa says:

    Looks exactly like Abuse, but with tasteless visual design.

  23. Thrashie says:

    Hmm.. Ouya is being listed as platform combined with the 50k makes me wonder if they will double their income and go for 6 months exclusive.