Blood Nova Is An Indie Adventure With Heart, That You’ll Love

After a devastating event on an interstellar lighthouse, Princess Love must solve a conspiracy before it's too late. Blood Nova is available now on Steam.

Point and click adventurers can’t get enough of the genre (speaking for a generation), so the likelihood of hearing the name Blood Nova should be enough. But maybe you didn’t back the Kickstarter or pick it up earlier in the month when it was released on Steam? Don’t click touch that address bar; here are some words.

Developed and published by Cosmic VoidBlood Nova tells the tale of Princess Love, her best friend Kel, and a web of conspiracy. About to reluctantly take the helm as Empress of the Galactic Empire, the interstellar lighthouse the two are visiting is attacked, leaving everyone dead. Was Love the target, or was there something else behind the attack?

First and foremost, this is a gorgeous game. Art is subjective, but admirers of pixel art and classic point and clicks from the 486 era will be in their element. It’s more on par with Leisure Suit Larry II, but with the close-up shots of the key players in the game turned up to 11. But let’s quickly address the point and click aspect, as it’s not a typical Sierra/LucasArts game.

Blood Nova Review - Love ya
Love. Source: Steam

Blood Nova Review

Blood Nova is from the perspective of Princess Love – and another character – in a first-person viewpoint. The mechanics are the same: a cursor exists for interacting with the scenery and selecting inventory to use with it or combine with your current selection of goodies. Love seldom appears on the screen beside a talking head perspective, similar to a visual novel. It could be argued that the game is a blend of the point and click and ‘kinetic novel’; the narrative is the game’s driving force.

A review code was received for the game, and as a point and click, there will be a bias towards it. Ain’t that the truth? But… I’m not the biggest fan of visual novels, pixel art, or complicated fantasy plots heavy on lore, notably space politics. Have you read Dune? The movies don’t count. I glossed over the character names, galaxies and motivations for the first 30 minutes or so, allowing the relationship between Love and Kel to keep me engaged. However, playing this as a slow burner (a good thing – really), it was easy to forget the world outside and focus on Love’s.

Blood Nova isn’t a talkie but relies on its strong storytelling skills (a.k.a; those of writer and designer Ross Joseph Gardner). Playing exclusively on the Steam Deck, the lines of text, while never excessive, can give the illusion that this is solely a visual novel, but that’s not the case. The puzzles are a decent balance and weren’t too taxing, nor were they on rails. A shooting mini-game worked fine on the Deck, but there was one ‘blob’ puzzle that tested my patience after failing it three times in a row. Other than that, the gameplay isn’t illogical – no ridiculous item combinations or point and click in-jokes.

Love In Space

Despite the reservations of this being a love story set in space, I found the story to be pretty damn alluring, and by the time of the climax, I could probably get a respectable score on Adele facts. No, not the Cockney singer. Play the game, and you’ll find out. The artwork is lovely throughout and the purple and pink hues popped in every scene, as did the music, without ever being intrusive. Though Love’s “Dude” lines and early spoiled child routines grated a tad, she grows as a character and one you’ll root for. But it’s most definitely the storytelling that’s the standout here, and that’s saying something, considering all those other elements.

A little point and click, with some visual novel mechanics where there aren’t any fears of death or poor narrative choices, Blood Nova is most definitely a standout in the indie point and click world. Again, there’s a bias from me towards the genre, but this isn’t a conventional pixel hunt or offers the hilarity that stems from the LucasArts catalogue or the more recent, most excellent Lucy Dreaming. Instead, Blood Nova is a brilliant sci-fi story that will appeal to those looking for a compelling, self-contained story complemented by some lovely artwork. Let’s hope there’s more from the developer in the near future. 

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