Take command of a flying ship to become the champion in a reality TV based game show. You must forge alliances and make enemies to give you an edge on the competition. Originally, Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing was a VR game, but the Xbox version is played using the controller. It’s aerial combat with the ability to tweak your ship in mid combat. There are many events, and after a few of them you’ll get to vote or be voted against to be kicked off the show. It’s all about who has the highest amount of points. You cannot die but if you get voted out, you’ll have to start a fresh season from the beginning.
Here’s what I liked:
Friendship or Championship — Have you ever seen Survivor or any other reality television where people get “voted off the island”? Contestants battle it out over challenges and the ones who aren’t winning can be voted off. Then the next week it starts all over with fewer participants. I am not sure I’ve played a game that involves these same characteristics. It’s done quite well in Bow to Blood. The best part about it is when you’re trying to make alliances to save yourself from being voted out of the season. Struggling to keep the right people happy so that when it comes down to the vote, they have your back. Being voted for and against can make you nervous. All of your hard work can be gone in an instant. There is a spider web of choices that can make or break the outcome of you becoming champion. It’s not as simple as just getting high points and winning. The other challengers actually do pretty well and it always seems like it’s a close race to the top. Therefore, making the tough decisions with the other people will be the deciding factor on whether you can become the champion.
The Host — The announcer actually feels like a real game show host. His voice injects excitement into the arena and he always sounds like everything is awesome. This is how actual hosts seem to be in most shows. They never seem to be on anyone’s side but the fans. It is, of course, about ratings and money. I really enjoyed the delivery of lines said by him. The other crew members (there’s only two of them) also talk, which adds a bit more to the story. They can say some pretty interesting things.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Up Close and Personal — In virtual reality, the perspective is your own. Using your controller instead is sluggish and doesn’t feel natural. The ship takes up quite a bit of screen causing it to be an obstacle you face throughout. There is no way to change to a third-person perspective or to move the camera around. You’re stuck in virtual reality mode and it’s as if your ship is interfering with “line of sight”. Luckily there is no collision damage because many times you will be hitting walls trying to maneuver around. There’s just too much ship being shown.
Air Combat — Clunky controls only hinder any finesse while shooting down the enemy. Besides the slow movement, actually attacking something feels like a chore. It’s not just bad combat; you can easily forget the controls for abilities. I often just clicked them all. At times I wished there was a tactical approach where the game would pause and I could select what I wanted to do. After several hours, I still winged it when it came to anything else but shooting. There is special ammo but when using it, I felt I was wasting it. They literally give you like one or two uses when you obtain it, so it’s quite rare. It’s crazy to me to have ammo options but be so extremely limited to using it. After using it and feeling it had no real impact, it’s back to boring normal ammo that you’ll be using for hours.
Sore Loser— After every couple of events, you may save your game. If you want, you can quit any time you feel you’ve done poorly so that you can retry again without having to start a new season. However, if you have been voted off the show, then the game auto-saves making you need to start from scratch. This constant battle between having high points and just getting through the game to complete it isn’t balanced and will feel unfair. I just wanted to win once, and never play again. There is no extra content beyond the one season you can play. There are zero reasons to want to play again and nothing to do besides the one mode. The season isn’t fast either, it takes quite some time to complete one if you’re having to retry events. It’s a tedious situation where you’re bound to lose. If you start falling into
If you want a good VR game to play, you will not find that here. Mostly because it’s not actually VR-enabled on the Xbox. I’ve never played this as a VR title, but I can tell that any fun that can be had would be there. I love the idea and the implemented narrative of competing with people as friends or enemies. The sacrifice on becoming friends will sometimes land you with too few points to continue on, forcing you to make some enemies which also make it a lot more difficult. There is only one season, you cannot continue to “next year”. It would have been great to be able to continue your relationships with the others, as well as see new ones join in. Just another thing to be disappointed in. A mess of a flying and aiming system, Bow to Blood delivers moderate entertainment that doesn’t make me want to continue playing it. I think you would be able to assume how I would vote.
Score: Limited Appeal
Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing was published and developed by Tribetoy Inc. on Xbox One. It was released on April 3, 2019, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.