Nintendo’s indie-friendly environment has helped brought back the 2D platform game, which was a staple of the 16-bit era. While the upcoming games for the eShop all look to be fantastic, I can’t help but feel that a certain aspect, a certain balance, of the 16-bit era is being missed. While games like Super Mario World, Rocket Knight Adventures, and Sonic 2 were all fantastic experiences and cherished memories, there was another side to that coin. Some developers seem to have forgotten games like Castlevania Dracula X, Altered Beast, and Splatterhouse. The violence and pure fun of these games helped carve a whole new sub-genre and for a while, it didn’t seem like any companies remembered that; that is, until Causal Bit Games came along and showed that they remember the genre and want it back in the limelight.
Insanity’s Blade is an upcoming 2D side-scroller for the Wii U eShop and this game wouldn’t feel out of place on Genesis or SNES. I could see the box art now: a demon, a pentagram, some blood, and someone getting their head ripped off. It tells the story of a father, Thurstan, who has to travel to hell to save the souls of his wife and son. Do you really need to know anything more about the story after reading that?
The game has a solid soundtrack with some rocking tunes and offers tight controls. Graphically, Insanity’s Blade is dark, brooding, and bloody. The style in the demo is reminiscent of the first level of Castlevania: Dracula X, with fire surrounding the entire village and Thurstan having to avoid falling, flaming rocks while battling through gruesome demons, bats, and charred bodies. Along with the typical jumping, punching, and grabbing abilities, he can throw demons across the level and pummel opponents into oblivion. Platforming gets tricky at times, but the game handles it well. A leveling system is also offered, which allows Thurstan access to more abilities and moves to help keep the game fresh as you progress.
Although the demo I played was short, it did offer a big boss battle with a classic weak spot to exploit. Insanity’s Blade might not change the platforming genre, but it taps into a market of bloody and hellish games that seem to have slipped by the wayside on most modern consoles. When Insanity’s Blade is released, I will be taking the highway to hell and I think a lot of retro game lovers will be joining me.