A tl;dr Haiku:
Shoot at stuff with guns
And it will die pretty quick.
Real short games: hooray?
An indie developed platformer for the PC, Bleed is a decent game that doesn’t last long enough to make an impact. Though, even if it was longer, it would just be more tiresome, rather than any more interesting. There aren’t any glaring things that leap out as wrong with the game, but it has nagging problems and doesn’t do anything well enough to stand out. That coupled with an incredibly short playtime makes Bleed a forgettable title.
The basic game idea is simple: run through levels killing enemies until the boss is reached, then kill the boss. To do this, I use guns, a jump mechanic than allows for a quarter-dozen bonus hops before I have to land, and the ability to slow down time. These powers are cool mechanics in their own right, but they aren’t exactly necessary. The ability to slow time pretty much just gives me a few extra moments of reaction time if I feel I need it, and is only actually integrated into the level design once or twice. The multiple jumps are handled a little better, with the ability to change directions multiple times in mid-air being necessary to navigate some levels, but I feel like the game tries to use two primary mechanics poorly rather than focus on one, and that makes it feel like neither is working.
The difficulty in the game is also optional. Not only in the sense of the traditional Easy, Normal, Hard options, but in that there is no real penalty for death. Checkpoints are incredibly common and, when I want to, I can just bulldoze my way through a segment, reach a checkpoint, die, and repeat the process with full health. The ease of rushing a level is a shame because that’s where the game’s strengths lay. Killing the enemies is never hard. Avoiding all the tricky environmental hazards as I drive through murder town? That is. Dipping and dodging through falling rocks, avoiding spike pits as the screen forces me down, timing dashes through security lasers – that’s where the fun is to me. Which is why the fact that the game focuses mostly on killing enemies is a tad annoying.
I feel like the different modes offered, like Arcade where I try to beat the game with a single life, are an attempt to crank up the modest difficulty. But, even then, it makes it seem like the lack of initial challenge is only thought of after the fact. After plodding through a game which never really grips me, it is hard to want to go and continue to play the other modes and try for achievements.
It’s hard to recommend Bleed. It can be fun for short bursts and it’s not going to break the bank, being an indie game. But, it’s also short enough so that despite the little you pay for it, you might still not be getting your money’s worth. If you’re a big fan of action platformers, or even if you see it for a discounted price, then it might be worth a try. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. You aren’t going to be missing out on much.