(This review assumes you have already read my review on Bleed which can be found here)
Bleed 2 is an action-packed, shoot-em-up platformer. Released in early 2017 by Ian Campbell and published on consoles by Digerati Digital, Bleed 2 is the sequel to 2013’s Bleed. I really enjoyed Bleed and my review is very recent. So does Bleed 2 hold up as a sequel to the original? Digerati provided me a code when it launched on Switch, so let’s compare.
Once again, in Bleed 2 you take control of Wryn who is now the world’s greatest and only hero, to fight a new villain named Valentine who has emerged; it’s up to you to put a stop to her evil plans. This time you team up with The Rival to do so! Bleed 2 introduces many things to the series and breaks specific conventions, one way it does this is that it has a two player co-op mode. A second player takes control of a Wryn recolor and you can both clean house together. I wasn’t able to try it for this review, but doesn’t seem like it would be bad based on my solo experience.
The original Bleed sometimes felt too much like Mega Man X but does Bleed 2 improve on that issue? Bleed 2’s gameplay feels very similar to the original. You still can fire in any direction, you still have three mid-air dashes, and you still have the ability to slow down time. However, Bleed 2 gives Wryn the sword right at the beginning. You have the ability to reflect bullets of your sword’s color, Wryn’s sword is purple so she can reflect any purple bullet or object flying her way. It’s a really interesting mechanic for how simple it is, it provides many great moments in boss-fights as well. After completing the story you gain access to other playable characters, The Rival for example, has a yellow sword as his only difference which means he can reflect yellow instead of purple. This feels very much like a classic Sonic game or the difference between X and Zero from the Mega Man X. For that type of game, it works rather well.
Bleed 2’s level design is brilliant. At absolutely no point in my adventure did I feel damage was unavoidable, or something wasn’t obvious when going through a regular level. Some assets and designs bleed together across levels, creating a less memorable experience, but that is sort of unavoidable if you wish to tell a story using gameplay and level design. Bleed 2 also has an “Endless” mode, which auto-generates levels in a world for you to fight in. I don’t particularly enjoy this mode though, with auto-generation comes many potential issues, and in Bleed 2 they put a damper on the experience of the mode. That being said, it’s a side-mode so it’s not important for completion. I prefer developers put time and effort into designing brilliant and fluid levels instead of an algorithm to mix and match puzzle pieces. Your enjoyment of this mode will depend on if you enjoy these types of things in other games. Bleed 2’s generation can sometimes create unfair situations though, which nobody enjoys, but overall, it’s not too bad of a system.
Presentation overall is good and much better than the original’s. Sprite quality is improved throughout the game; they fixed odd looking sprites and animations from Bleed 1. Bleed 2 also reintroduces some enemies and bosses from Bleed 1; they look better than ever with a heavier emphasis on shading and a “less is more” focus. Specific visual effects, such as the dash, look brilliant in this style too. The music is always amazing, there are little to no repeating tracks, and the music feels much more prominent on your adventure sort of like the music does in Classic Sonic or Mega Man games. The music itself sounds like something you’d find in a Genesis cartridge. Sound design is great the sounds are satisfying, crunchy, and never get grating. All of them are a definite improvement over Bleed’s.
Bleed 2 is a very short game. The campaign took me just over an hour and a half to complete. Some may not like that length for the price, but Bleed 2 rewards your skill at gameplay with more gameplay. You can easily sink 10-15 hours into Bleed 2 collecting every achievement or getting the highest scores in Endless mode. If you’re the person who beat Sonic Mania, then hopped in again as Knuckles and Tails you won’t be dissatisfied with Bleed 2’s length or it’s extras; this is especially true if you’re a completionist.
Overall, Bleed 2 is an improvement over the original in almost every way. If you enjoyed Bleed 1 and are on the fence, I recommend jumping off of the fence and go to the “buy game” button immediately. Bleed 2 is one of my personal favorite indie games of all time and I believe it deserves the praise I give it. You can pick up Bleed 2 on most modern platforms and I highly recommend you do when you need something to play.
A Switch review copy was provided by the developer
supiroguy has awarded Bleed 2 The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval