Our #4 game this year earns the spot as perhaps the least original in terms of design but being an all-around title that sticks the landing and delivers from beginning to end.
Blasphemous was a huge step up in quality and presentation from The Game Bakers, who made the great and retro-themed Last Door series.
With Blasphemous, this is one of the best looking pixel-art games I’ve seen to date, with an original story about a world that has transformed by religious allegory. The games for similar world-building to the Souls series – with every item having lore about the character or the world around it.
What Blasphemous does right is that it’s the purest example of making a 2D Souls-like I’ve seen to date. Not since Salt and Sanctuary has a game gotten that combination of progression and challenge correct. The gameplay is firing on all cylinders in terms of its combat and platforming. There’s as much focus on maneuvering around as there is with fighting the various denizens of the world.
I also enjoyed the boss fights, with none of them feeling out of place for the design or being frustrating to fight; a complete 180 from Remnant From the Ashes.
Just looking at screenshots of the game, it would be easy to lump Blasphemous in with Bloodstained Ritual of the Night and declare it a metroidvania title, but that’s not the case. Blasphemous is more along the lines of a souls-like, given its focus on player progression. You’re not going to be unlocking new movement options or changing how you play through the game. Instead, the game is built on the player getting better at it.
What keeps the game from ranking higher isn’t anything wrong with it, but the fact that the other games just felt better to me. As I said at the start, Blasphemous just works from beginning to end — if you enjoyed the first 10 minutes of it, you’ll enjoy the rest of the experience.
Sometimes a game doesn’t have to do anything unique in terms of its gameplay, and it’s more important in the 2D space to have a finetuned gameplay loop above all else. The developers have announced DLC and more content coming, and I’ll be waiting to dive back into this amazing world.
With that said, we’re into the top 3 tomorrow starting with one of my favorite indie games that chances are none of you reading this have played.
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