If there’s one thing that a Souls-alike needs to get right (Soulsyvania, in this case), it’s evocative boss names, and Blasphemous clearly has it all worked out. Featuring the likes of “Expósito, Scion Of Abjuration”, “Three Anguishes” and “Our Lady Of The Charred Visage” in its new trailer, it’s no surprise that The Game Kitchen’s grim platform hack n’ slasher has attracted publisher Team 17. While neither publisher or developer want to guess at a release date, we can at least see it in motion. Below, a trailer dripping with blood, holy viscera and all the trappings of ecclesial horror.
Those well read of the Good Book of RPS will remember that Blasphemous did well for itself on Kickstarter a couple years back. While the game has obviously sailed past its November 2018 release date (as almost all crowdfunded games do), the extra development time and backing of a publisher have clearly done it no harm. Its gorgeous, unsettling sprite art is obviously a big step up from the studio’s first game, The Last Door. While being a very well-regarded horror point-and-click adventure, its chunky low-fi pixels conveyed the broad strokes, but few gory details.
It looks like Blasphemous is walking that fine line between Dark Souls and Metroid, too. Weighty and committed sword swings and parries seem to be central to the combat, but the masked protagonist – The Penitent One – seems agile. A ledge-grab and a limited wall-jump give him some vertical agility. Breaking from Souls inspirations, there is no stamina meter, replacing it with a super-move gauge that charges with hits landed, which should hopefully give combat its own distinct rhythm. Between that and the messy finishing moves, it feels it’s evolved in parallel with Sekiro.
While the sprites themselves are detailed and smoothly animated, the camera is pulled back just far enough to give the environments a nice sense of scale, and allow for some enormous bosses. It’s a black metal visual treat, and will apparently tell the story of the land of Cvstodia (brvtal), and its inhabitants transformed by an event called The Miracle. It’s rich with pseudo-biblical texture, and a world I’m excited to explore, and probably die repeatedly in.