As much as I want to gush over the latest Nintendo Direct, I thought I’d talk about what game I was playing as I waited for the stream to start. Bleed 2 came out recently for the Switch, but it originally launched last year on Steam.

Story

If you’re expecting a serious plot with emotional connections and internal conflicts, get the heck out of here. Bleed 2 is as quirky as it gets. From the main character supposedly being cherished by the world as the only hero that matters to the “rival” refusing to play video games with her so he could battle her to the death. That said, I chuckled along with the lines of dialogue present in between levels of the game.

Graphics

In hindsight, the tilesets and backgrounds aren’t all that fancy. I guess I haven’t thought about them because of the bigger in-your-face enemies that players would encounter and the bullets that’d fly all over. There’s a lot to visually enjoy about Bleed 2, in case you can’t tell by the immediately memorable character designs.

Audio

The music certainly doesn’t slack off to bring in a blood-pumping score. It’s not totally varied; you’ll be hearing a lot of electric guitars and the like. Nevertheless, I feel the high energy of the results adds to the game nicely.

Gameplay

Before I dug into this game, I thought about my experience with the Bleed 1 demo. I remember it being a lot of fun to triple-jump around terrain and aim rapidly firing weapons. Wouldn’t you know it, Bleed 2 has those gameplay mechanics and then some. I guess you could say it’s one of those “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sequels. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, of course. Triple jumping and twin-stick shooting is the name of the game but there are other mechanics woven into the formula. Projectiles flashing pink are able to be deflected via a sword by flicking the right analog stick (as opposed to holding it that direction to shoot rapidly). You’re also able to briefly slow down time to either knock off some extra damage or make a quick getaway from being struck yourself.

Bleed 2 is short, but it’s an action-packed blast while it lasts. It feels like a homage to ’90s arcade shooters except it plays out in its own special way. The challenge is also just right. It doesn’t hold your hand by any means but as long as you can beat a boss phase within having a full health bar, you should be just fine. Death in this game is a slap on the wrist. If that seems deflating, you may get a kick out of playing through the game under one life in Arcade mode. There are extra modes before and after the campaign is over, from the Endless and Challenge modes to the extra playable characters that you may unlock.

Verdict

Overall, Bleed 2 is another great indie darling gracing Nintendo’s shiny hybrid with open firearms. Fans of the genre are sure to get a kick out of this one and this isn’t too shabby of a pick if you’re looking for a quality game to play on a budget.