Review
Episode

#BLUD has a memorable tone-perfect cartoon style, if only its gameplay left the same impression

Exit 73 Games have nailed the nostalgic look of your favourite weird cartoons from the nineties and 2000s

June 17, 2024 12:00 AM

#BLUD is a delightfully zany dungeon crawler that melds action RPG elements with the hyperkinetic charm of 90s cartoons a love letter to those who grew up on Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents and its ilk.

It promises a vampire apocalypse, social media antics, and field hockey practice, all wrapped in a vibrant, animated package, however, while it nails the aesthetic, the gameplay experience can be a mixed bag.

Nostalgia overload

You are Becky Brewster, a young girl who’s just moved to a new town with her dad.

Upon discovering her late mother was a vampire hunter and her dad’s company is a front for ancient evil, Becky must juggle fitting in at her new school with her newfound destiny as a monster hunter.

By day, it’s all about hockey, social media, and attending classes. By night, you’re battling vampires and other possessed creatures.

Visually and stylistically, #BLUD hits the mark.

The game’s animation and art direction will be an incredibly successful nostalgic dopamine hit for fans of 90s and early 2000s cartoons. It's just perfect and it make sense, developers Exit 73 Studios have a history making tie-ins for the most popular cartoons of the last couple of decades.

The world feels alive and engaging, with a small-town charm that invites exploration.

So, if you are nostalgic for the simplicity of the good old days, when you would lounge on the couch soaking up the silliness of shows like Angry Beavers or early SpongeBob, the execution alone will keep you satisfied despite any shortcomings.

#BLUD’s tone is a high point, flipping effortlessly between light-hearted school antics and dark, supernatural elements.

The transitions from the cutesy school environment to the bloody battles with giant demon rats are seamless and well-executed.

Anti-social media

Unfortunately, the combat leaves much to be desired. Movement is slick and satisfyingly cartoony, but the fighting mechanics can be frustrating.

Landing hits, particularly with heavy moves, feels imprecise, making battles often more annoying than enjoyable.

Or perhaps I just need to get good?  The game recommends using a controller, but I found mouse and keyboard perfectly fine, as this recommendation seems to be more about encouraging a relaxed, casual approach than technical necessity.

#BLUD struggles the most with pacing, particularly early on. The introduction is painfully slow, filled with mundane conversations and ultra-basic combat tutorials.

By the time the real action kicked in, I was already weary from endless social interactions and trivial tasks.

The heavy emphasis on social media, while charming and satirical, often felt like unnecessary busywork.

Once I stopped obsessing over every detail and embraced the core monster-hunting gameplay, the experience improved significantly.

The town of Carpentersville is surprisingly large and detailed, inviting exploration. However, the need for a run button made exploration a chore.

Reruns

#BLUD is a game that knows what it wants to be and fully embraces its quirky, nostalgic identity.

It’s clear the developers have a genuine passion and fondness for the fun of its inspiration material and that fun comes through in the final product.

Its art style and thematic elements will strongly resonate with those who fondly remember the era it draws from.

Sadly the game's sluggish beginning, tiring and frustrating combat mechanics, and occasionally monotonous social media elements may diminish the overall experience.

If you’re drawn to the cartoon nostalgia and don’t mind a heavy dose of schoolyard drama mixed with your monster slaying, #BLUD might just be worth your time.

For those less enchanted by its stylistic choices, there may not be a lot to keep you coming back.

A copy of #BLUD on PC was provide to SIFTER for the purpose of this review.

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#BLUD

XBOX ONE
PS4
SWITCH
PC
Developer:
Exit 73 Studios
Publisher:
Humble Games
Release Date:
June 18, 2024
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