Horror games usually become more twisted and depraved as the story progresses, often pushing the lead character to breaking point as they do whatever it takes to survive. This Switch exclusive takes a different approach. As the story unfolds it becomes increasingly ludicrous, to the point where it becomes impossible to take it seriously.
Well, you can’t spell slaughter without laughter.
It begins in a typical horror adventure fashion, resulting in a somewhat misleading first impression. While driving at night the nameless female lead collides into a deer. Her car considerably damaged, she ventures into a nearby abattoir to seek help. Once inside, she finds the reception desk unmanned and soon discovers that the slaughterhouse is being used for deranged experiments.
What then ensues is an hour-long struggle to escape, filled with blood and gore, amusingly ropey cut-scenes, wildly out of place thrash metal, and pixilated nudity of both the male and female variety. Due to featuring low poly and heavily pixilated PSone-style visuals, none of this is neither particularly offensive nor arousing. Think along the lines of the legendary fake ‘nude cheat’ screenshots for the original Tomb Raider.
As budget games go, this one is better structured than most. It begins with a spot of stealth – mostly confined to small areas – as you try and run and hide from a boiler-suit wearing psychopath, ducking behind objects while observing their patrol path.
There are no puzzles to speak of. Instead, keys must be found to access the next area, in one instance located in an overflowing toilet. The game’s second half then favours combat, pitting you against grotesque ‘cowboys’ – fully naked half men, half bovine hybrids with dangly man bits. Incidentally, the stone statues of said creatures are also rather generously endowed.
Initially, combat seems woeful. Hilariously broken, in fact. It soon emerges to be a simple case of timing strikes perfectly – using a fire axe as a weapon, one chance is all you get. If you miss a swing due to poor timing, you’re a goner. It takes practise to get into the swing of things, no pun intended, but once mastered it’s easy to take down (decapitate) several enemies in a row with relative ease.
Action sequences are punctuated with fast-paced corridor chases, presented similarly to Crash Bandicoot’s famous running-into-the-screen boulder levels. They’re little more than memory tests, essentially, prompting you to learn the correct path while avoiding beartraps and sawblades. Sawblades that slice our intrepid Peggy Hill alike cleanly in two, no less. Failing to keep an eye on the stamina bar can also result in a messy end.
It should be evident by now that Blood Breed is a pretty simple game, even making age-old classics such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill appear contemporary by comparison. It does the bare minimum to scrape by, and the game mechanics are all rather clunky and unrefined. It’s also a shame the general presentation isn’t slicker – it nails the low poly 32-bit visual style, but ugly menus let it down.
Yet, none of this really matters. Blood Breed is a frankly ridiculous horror romp, which in turn makes it quite moreish and unlike anything else we’ve played recently. As an inexpensive (£5.99) download it hits the spot, entertaining for its hour-long duration, and highly reminiscent of the ‘best worst’ games the PSone had to offer.