Super-stylish platform hack n' slasher Bladed Fury is out now. Heavily inspired by Muramasa: The Demon Blade on Wii and undoubtedly cribbing a bit of Vanillaware's painterly art-style, it's a gorgeous bit of Chinese mythological stabbery. A sword-swinging princess is accused of murdering her father, so goes on a quest to address this injustice by stabbing everything in her path instead, including all manner of demons, ghosts and skellingtons. I've really enjoyed what I've played of it so far and NEXT Studios have launched it at budget price. Check out the trailer below.
Bladed Fury is a game that looks absolutely stonking in screenshots, and nearly as good in motion. While I think some of the bigger, chunkier sprites could have done with a few extra frames of animation, it looks consistently great. The combat animations are snappy, fast and readable, and it's always satisfying to juggle swarms of smaller enemies, while dashing around bigger ones. While visually inspired by Muramasa, unlike its over-padded inspiration, Bladed Fury has no fat on its bones. You bounce from one setpiece battle to the next, with frequent boss fights. Dialogue aside, it's all action, all the time.
While not an enormous game - maybe around 4-5 hours long with an unlockable Hard mode for replay value - that's a very hard thing to grumble about considering its launch price. This is an astonishingly polished game, and even the translation seems good, if a little bit dry. Translating from Chinese is a struggle for a lot of studios, so I'm glad that this manages to tell a coherent story, and introduced me to a few new creatures and figures of myth and legend to read up on. NEXT Studios are definitely one to watch - they've come a long way since the slightly wonky Death Coming, and their upcoming Unheard looks clever. In the meantime, I recommend this one to anyone who likes combo-heavy combat, especially at this price.
Bladed Fury is out now on Steam for £5.03/€5.73/$6.99 for the first two days, and will go up to ten dollars afterwards.