HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewBlade Assault Review

Blade Assault Review


Set in a desolate sci-fi world, Blade Assault puts you in the shoes of a resistance force that is fighting to defeat corrupt military leaders.

The core gameplay loop consists of fighting through levels, with groups of enemies spawning throughout. The levels themselves are fairly straightforward. They are very horizontal in their layout and there isn’t much in terms of exploration. Levels have chests spread throughout them that you can purchase to receive upgrades. These upgrades can boost your health, evasion abilities, and modify how you deal damage.

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At the end of each level you have to activate a “port” which will spawn a wave of enemies to fight through. This is tied to a unique “Assault Level” system that greatly influences the difficulty and challenge of each run. The assault level gradually increases while you are fighting this final wave of enemies and for each level it increases your enemies get a random buff.

These buffs can make enemies resistant to knock back, add status effects to their attacks, and cause them to explode on death, causing massive damage. Even at lower levels, these buffs can make a run incredibly challenging. However, at the end of each stage, you come across an NPC that allows you to “hack” the assault level and decrease it by one. This is incredibly helpful, especially on longer runs, but by decreasing the level it limits the upgrades you can purchase.

It’s a unique system that allows Blade Assault to stand out from other games in the genre. It’s also the core part of what makes each run different.

Speaking of cores, your weapons are built around “cores” that you pick up. There are fire, lighting, and freeze cores that can provide status effects and stat boosts during your run. These are less varied than you might see in other games, but they still provide a decent level of combat variety. There are also chests spread throughout the levels, which can be purchased with gems you pick up. These are more generalized effects that can improve your odds of finding better cores, add simple effects to your attacks, and so on.

To further diversify the gameplay, there are also three different characters to play as, each with their own weapons and skills. You start off with only one character unlocked and as you get coins and other resources, you are able to unlock characters and upgrades.

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As far as world building goes, the character designs were a bit hit or miss to me, but the overall animation quality is great. Besides impressive visuals, Blade Assault also features some good sound design and a solid soundtrack that never feels repetitive. There is one flaw in the world building, mind, and that is the game’s terrible dialogue. The NPCs talk to each other awkwardly and the charm that exists in the visuals and design of the game does not translate into how characters communicate with each other.

While playing Blade Assault, I couldn’t help but notice how similar it felt to Dead Cells; another roguelike that is incredibly fun. Blade Assault is fun and has a solid foundation, but there are a few shortcomings which dampened my thoughts on the game.

These issues stem from bugs and, what I assume are, issues with the port from PC. For starters, there is an issue with the interface and currency values updating during the runs. As I collected gems and other items, the values wouldn’t change until I either purchased a chest pickup, or progressed to the next level. Roguelikes are built on planning ahead for that specific run, so a faulty interface makes things frustrating to say the least. It’s not the worst thing to play around, since all levels have chests and their cost is fairly low, but it is a constant annoyance.

However, the real flaw with Blade Assault are in upgrades not applying properly from run to run. In the world hub where you respawn after each run, there are characters that allow you to train and upgrade your stats. This is common in roguelikes, and upgrading those stats is typically needed to make it to the end of the game. I decided to invest heavily in the health stats to make it so I could survive longer each run. But as soon as I left the world hub, all the increased health was gone from my character, and I was back to my default stats.

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I also invested in other abilities, but with my health gone, I severely doubt that any of the other stats managed to stay in effect too. While the interface not updating is annoying, this bug makes the game much, much more difficult.

The gameplay loop is solid, but there are quite a few bugs that need to be patched before Blade Assault could be classed as a truly good game. I wouldn’t call the bugs game-breaking but they certainly make the game harder to enjoy. It’s a shame because it’s obvious how much effort and care has gone into this; the assault system is unique and requires the player to choose between decreasing enemy difficulty or upgrading player abilities, which is a great risk/reward system.

I hope these issues get fixed because I’d love to play Blade Assault as it is meant to be played.

Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor
Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
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