Last updated on June 6th, 2017
As crowdfunding continues to be an important early step for indie game developers, the various platforms are at times inundated with new games, many of which are mediocre. But every now and then, one catches a bit of fire and buzz as it barrels through funding goals. Blasphemous is one of such recent meteors. From Spanish developer, The Game Kitchen, creators of The Last Door, Blasphemous is a 2D action platformer with an unmistakable Soulslike vibe that combines hack and slash combat with a rich and evocative narrative and non-linear levels. It is scheduled to release in Q1 2019 and has already met its Kickstarter goal and is surging past its stretch goals.
Story & Setting
The game is set in the land of Orthodoxia where religion reigns supreme and churches outnumber people 2 to 1, which seems incredibly inefficient but let’s roll with it. You will come to in a hellish territory during the Age of Corruption. You play as The Penitent One, a rogue nomad hunting evil with only your trusty sword. You are the last survivor of a group known as The Silent Sorrow who were all condemned to be tossed into the Abyss of the Eternal Grief. Holy drama, although the story is said to be presented through clues in the level, similar to Dark Souls. Much of the game and it’s visual design and cultural core is inspired by the Spanish city of Seville and the dark and arresting visuals are all handmade pixel art. It’s all brooding, moody and tinged with gore and goes quite well with a metal soundtrack.
Blasphemous’ gameplay is focused around fast and gratifying hack and slash combat against an array of large and deadly creatures. The levels are non-linear and let you travel wherever you please similar to the aforementioned Salt and Sanctuary. As you fight through the world, you will chain your encounters and if you do so well enough you will unlock a power boost called Martyr’s Excommunication mode that will make you almost unstoppable. In these various encounters, you will be able to execute some quite gory kills and can customize your fighting style further with rosary beads and relics that boost your abilities. The bosses are being designed to be epic affairs, both mechanically and aesthetically with some seriously intriguing and horrifying monstrosities presented in the game’s early media. Everything in this game looks appropriately doomed and one gets a strong vibe of the occult and other taboo ideologies that have sprung from the overbearing nature of religious dogma.
Beyond hitting their initial funding goal, they proceeded to blitz through their stretch goals. Some of the features they will now be adding are:
- Bosses only mode unlocked after beating the game (woot for rush modes)
- New Game Plus with new secrets and challenges
- Nightmare Mode (increased difficulty)
- Render modes
- Weekly Challenges of events, quests, secrets or easter eggs
Those are some pretty nifty additions, all of which increase the replayability potential of the game; the bosses only mode and New Game Plus and difficulty mode should satisfy the more masochistic Dark Souls/Ninja Gaiden fans. Weekly events are also a great way to keep the base engaged long term.
There are a few remaining tiers left, such as language translation and most interestingly an Online feature called Seeds where you can collect and plant seeds in your world and the will grow as plants in another player’s world. Eating these plants will have unpredictable results. This bit of asynchronous multiplayer has definite intriguing risk/reward potential and seems like it might give helpful and more devious players alike a chance at some great interactions.
For right now the game is only guaranteed to be coming to PC, but console ports for the PS4, Xbox One and Switch are in the plans, provided everything goes well. Once they confirm the platforms, they will establish new reward tiers or add-ons for each platform and let backers know how to get the version they want.
Want more brutal? Who doesn’t? Have some screens:
Blasphemous looks oppressive, heavy and metal as hell. And it looks like it’s going to be a blast in the vein of games like Salt and Sanctuary and the recently released Metroidvania, Dead Cells. We’ll be putting together a much more in depth preview in the future, once we have seen more of the gameplay and all that’s inside. Thoughts on Blasphemous? Let us know what you think in the comments.