Blood Breed, a game by Blake McKinnon as you will frequently be reminded, was a free download on the Switch. Without realising it was the full game, I thought it’d be worth test driving it for the 30 minutes or hour duration you can expect from a demo, but found out it was the complete game.
What should probably have been renamed ‘McKinnon’ due to the number of times it showed in the opening credits (this was a family affair as it’s a low budget, straight to video release), this horror game immediately felt like playing a PlayStation game, along the lines of the original Silent Hill.
Alas, this PlayStation comparison was not for the right reasons as ignoring the dated visuals (I liked ’em), the controls in Blood Breed were quite off a lot of the time and there was a lot of wandering around and clumsy deaths on par with the original Tomb Raider, only on a much smaller scale.
Blood Breed Review – Nintendo Switch
There wasn’t much hope for Blood Breed, published by Baltoro Games. When you get past the McKinnon credits, you find that the protagonist has hit a deer which was carrying a vat of blood as it spills it across the freeway along with its own fluids. There are no hints on what to do here.
Gut instinct, if you’re nice, is to check on the deer/put it out of its misery, but you can’t interact with it. Nor can you interact with the car to locate a mobile phone, tyre iron in case any mad ice hockey maniacs stalk you, or simply to sit in the car to wait for a tow truck.
I headed back in case there was a petrol station but hit an invisible wall, then the woods to the left of the car, but there was nothing. Funk this, I’m going to walk home. Nope. Going straight is another invisible wall. Aha – an abandoned factory; let’s scrummage around for a key left outside and head inside.
Brilliant: a mad ice hockey maniac is stomping about with a sharp pointy tool, and someone has left the meat grinders on that will slice me in half. I came in here because…? Despite the context, I was quite enjoying it for nostalgia purposes. Blood Breed feels like playing a 20-year old game on an emulator; only there are no modern updates to the controls or filters. The included VHS filter only disguises the choppy animation.
Painting The Pixels Red
As an indie title, Blood Breed is interesting, but the controls are so clumsy, the frequent deaths because of being unable to determine if a grinder will touch you or whether the maniac has seen you squatting in plain sight starts to get repetitive and frustrating. Plus it makes as much sense as an 80s/90s teen horror: why enter this building? Why are there keys scattered all over the place and who the hell left bear traps all over the place?! Video games: I want my answer.
The difficulty level in Blood Breed is challenging, but it’s more down to the technical limitations. There are frame drops (if I noticed them, it’s terrible) and the character doesn’t respond to commands very well. Traps are clumsily placed, the UI is ugly and the game can be completed in around an hour. But… I liked the presentation, it’s an indie title with a minuscule team, and you know what? at the time of playing this, it was free. Just because games are free doesn’t mean you should play them regardless, but Blood Breed is worth your time if you complete it the first time: that’s an hour or so. What else were you going to do?
However, the game is glitchy, and due to the clumsy deaths and vanilla gameplay, it’s not a game I can recommend as a purchase, but because it’s free, losing an hour is not the end of the world. Unless the world ends in an hour, you might want to do something else, like make a few cups of tea, read a book, or anything else. I recommend playing Paratopic instead.
Also, be aware that this game isn’t safe for work. Of course, we all play games at work (well, if you review games, that’s an excuse) but there are a lot of wobbly bits and claret. You can turn them off, but if we’re judging the graphics, you’d probably be able to draw a more realistic schlong if you’re into it.