Blood of the Werewolf review (XBLA)
Blood of the Werewolf was developed by Scientifically Proven and published by Midnight City. It was released on June 11, 2014 on Xbox 360 for $6.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
In Blood of the Werewolf, players take on the role of Selena, werewolf mother out for revenge. The game is made up of various combinations of two types of gameplay — indoors, Selena is a crossbow-wielding vampire hunter, and at night, she transforms into a vicious werewolf. The game attempts to recapture the best of classic games like Capcom’s Ghouls ‘n Ghosts by focusing on difficult sidescrolling gameplay. Unfortunately, it is an attempt only, thanks to extreme repetition of the worst elements of those games without success at carrying over much of the charm of the classics. A lack of enemy variety and a failure to integrate many of the game’s abilities into the core gameplay hampers what might have been an enjoyable experience.
Here’s what we liked:
Responsive controls — Selena responds well in both human and werewolf forms, which is an absolute must for a demanding platformer. Giving double jump exclusively to the werewolf helps to differentiate how each form plays as well.
Extreme retro elements — The 1930’s B-movie introduction of each stage and the world map ripped right out of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (complete with moving avatar symbolizing progress) are fantastically well done. Unfortunately, the rest of the game does not embrace this retro aesthetic and feels rather generic by comparison.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Backtracking — After a difficult platforming sequence, the last thing a player should have to do is choose between moving forward, or jumping down a floor back to where they began, collecting a sigil in the process. The player has already proven they can get past the sequence once — asking them to do it again only serves to waste time, especially after the fifth or sixth time this situation occurs.
360 degree aiming — One of the great moments in a platformer is finding the appropriate position for any given situation. Selena’s perfect controls actually hamper the experience in this regard — because she can aim in any direction at any time, the player is almost always in a position where they have a clean shot at an enemy. Limiting the angles of attack would have promoted more active play. Additionally, the rotation of Selena’s arm as the player rotates the right analog stick is a low point in an otherwise nicely animated character.
Werewolf form — The werewolf form should feel powerful, visceral… and it falls flat, largely because it relies on short-range projectiles meant to give the impression of biting rather than actually physically biting enemies. This takes away from the main fantasy of being a werewolf in the first place — physical combat. As is, players will likely find themselves eager to get through werewolf sequences to return to Selena’s superior human form.
Instant death — Blood of the Werewolf, after the first stage, makes frequent use of instant death traps in the form of moving crushers. Saying these are overused is an understatement, as they quickly become the guiding design point of subsequent stages. Readers will notice that two of the images used in this review (taken from the official preview images on the Microsoft Store) are of crusher sequences — there’s a reason for that.
Blood of the Werewolf never reaches the height of the games it draws inspiration from. The tone is unfocused as well — the plot is presented as serious, but background images occasionally tell a joke that feels out of place when compared to the setting. Even ardent platforming fans will find little here to warrant a purchase.
Score: Skip It