Skip to main content

Playing Bella Wants Blood is satisfying in the same way pulling clogged hair from a shower drain is

I wish I hadn’t touched it but I want to do it again

Horrible structures of which no man should speak tower-ishly defend in Bella Wants Blood
Image credit: Sonderland

In my eternal quest to describe games concisely enough that you don’t feel robbed of time you could have just watched a trailer with, I am compelled to use many of the same words and word combinations ad nauseam. So, when a game like horror tower defence Bella Wants Blood comes along and uses some odd nouns, I get all excited. Here, that’s because I get to recklessly spaff out terms like ‘Blood Gutters’, ‘The Rattler’, and your friend and mine, ‘The Stabber’. Barely an atom quivers in Bella Wants Blood that hasn’t been stylised or made odd and alluring in some way.

In yet another win for the language economy, Bella Wants Blood is both a title and a broad overview of just what the hell is going on here, anyway. Bella is an ever-hungry monstrosity, and I imagine my nose would start bleeding more profusely for every additional fact I knew about her. You’ll carve her out a network of Blood Gutters, down which interlope a gribbly menagerie of skittering buglets. Bella does not like chewing, only supping, and so grows impatient for every creature she’s forced to masticate. To prevent her eventually turning those insidious incisors in your direction, you’ll want to set up your Stabbers and Rattlers, your Slingers and Lookers, to slow, debuff, shoot, and shank the bugs before they reach her gaping maw. You pick upgrade paths and encounters from a map between stages, and try to get as far as possible in a single run.

Watch on YouTube

So, yes, it’s a tower defence game, but with every element lent such rich fictive snippets and art that it feels horrifically alive in a way many others don’t. The result is that Bella is terrifying. I genuinely do not want to displease her. She feels like a survival horror monster banging on the door outside, only she’s here in the room with me. I try to keep her happy. I unwrap each gift gratefully and treasure the nasty trinket within. It’s like Christmas morning but the Rubik's Cube your got in your stocking was accidentally the scary square from Hellraiser. Now there are spikes where no spikes were previously, and quivering flesh arranged like cheese and pineapple skewers along the mantlepiece. I hate it here and I’m not yet ready to leave. You can find the Steam demo here.

Read this next