DOOMBLADE by Muro Studios
The continued success of the Metroidvania has yielded some great experimentation over the last few years. Games like Dead Cells have melded the genre with the addictive nature of Rogue-lites. Others, like Axiom Verge. opt to pay direct tribute to the classics that inspired them.
DOOMBLADE sits somewhere in the middle, taking the standard format of its influences but expanding upon it with some incredibly fresh and frenetic gameplay. But the question is: how does it stack up to its peers?
My Sword Will Not Sleep
Gloom Girl, the last of the Gloomfolk, hears a voice calling to her. The source? An imprisoned sentient sword known only as DOOMBLADE. Upon being freed, the blade makes her an offer: unlock its true power and use it to slay the Dread Lords that have corrupted her world.
It’s about as simple as game premises get, but DOOMBLADE is anything but generic. The game throws a wrench into the usual Metroidvania formula by combining your movement and attacks into a single, distinct action. While Gloom Girl can move and hop on her own, aiming towards an enemy and hitting the trigger sends her rocketing towards it, blade drawn.
The end result is combat that leads to you feeling less like an adventurer and more like a bladed super ball, ricocheting between anything that gets in your way in a flurry of death and viscera. It’s exactly as rad as it sounds.
Not content with just a viscerally satisfying combat system, DOOMBLADE incorporates it into the other key element of any Metroidvania game: world traversal. Suddenly enemies are less obstacles and more ways to reach new places, and your ever-expanding array of attacks and moves only builds on this.
It’s an essentially perfect melting of combat and exploration that absolutely deserves to be commended.
Slave to the Sword
Not to be outdone, the game boasts some fantastic production, too. The lush, moody visuals are complimented by a soundtrack equally meant to evoke both awe and bloodlust, and it’s extremely effective. The combat music in particular is often a real highlight.
While these all combine to make DOOMBLADE a borderline essential experience, it does have some notable issues.
For starters, the art style can sometimes lead to cluttered screens where enemies are difficult to spot. It’s more prevalent in some areas than others, but taking damage to something you didn’t see is always frustrating.
However, a bigger issue comes with the difficulty spikes found in combat. Gloom Girl gets extremely few invincibility frames when being hit, meaning it’s extremely easy to get comboed to death by big groups. While not a dealbreaker on its own, it becomes all the more frustrating when combined with enemies whose weak spots are difficult to target. Between enemy clutter and finicky targeting, bosses often became infuriating.
Despite its issues, DOOMBLADE is still absolutely worth experiencing for any fans of Metroidvanias or hack-and-slash action games. I just can’t help but wonder how many of them will think it’s worth pushing through the frustration to finish.
DOOMBLADE is now available via Steam
Watch the trailer for DOOMBLADE below: