I will always be a sucker for a stylish, combo-heavy platform brawler, and Bladed Fury is reminding me pleasantly of Vanillaware's Muramasa on the Wii and Vita. Set in ancient mythological China, a princess attempts to clear her name against accusations of murder by stabbing a lot of people, apparently. In amongst its lushly drawn human villains there's demons and skellingtons to be battered, or apparently shot with an ancient Chinese anti-tank cannon. NEXT Studio's hack n' slasher is due out next month on December 18th - take a peek at the very swish trailer below.
While it's hard to read into the specifics from the short and sweet trailer, there's a lot that catches my eye. There's some satisfying parrying action going on, and projectiles can be deflected back to their source by smacking them in mid-air. There's some platforming challenges too, buoyed by air combos to keep the player afloat. Enemy sprites are big and chunky, and beautifully drawn, and I adore that scene with the silhouetted protagonist and the skeletons fighting behind paper screens. Some cool boss designs in there too, like the giant grey lady with four enormous robot arms.
I'm beginning to suspect that this might not be the most historically accurate game, but I'm eager to play it. NEXT have set themselves a challenge though - I've got high hopes for its combat, now that I've seen just how gorgeous it looks. Fingers crossed. If nothing else, it's a feast for the eyes - the painterly aesthetic and backdrops rendered in broad strokes contrast nicely with the finer detail on the character sprites. The animation looks nice, too - enough frames to sell sharper movements, but a lot of lifting is done by segmenting larger characters and tweening.
As an aside, I can't help but notice that despite this being a Chinese-developed game, set in ancient China, it also contains plunging necklines, dismemberment (that guy holding his own head, for example) and a lot of skulls. I admit that I'm no expert on the Chinese government's control over media, but it does reinforce what I've heard about the rules being capricious and scattershot in their enforcement. Rainbow Six Siege recently kicked up a storm through its compliance with Chinese regulations - I'm curious whether Bladed Fury is also slated for a Chinese release.