Blood of the Werewolf Review: Half growl, half whimper
I had a weird relationship with Blood of the Werewolf. The game got off to quite the entertaining start, and I genuinely had a good time with it ... for about three hours. That first half of the game was pretty good, but a lack of evolution made the last three hours a much more tedious and dull affair. Consistency isn't always problematic for a game, but in the case of Blood of the Werewolf, it most certainly was.
You play as Selena, a werewolf in search of her baby who's been kidnapped. As if that wasn't enough, her husband was murdered, adding to her grief. Unfortunately, Selena's a largely uninteresting character due to her monotone voice and lack of personality. The enemies you encounter along the way are no different, and hearing them speak during story sequences sounds very much like listening to someone read a script in a hurry just so he can catch the bus and get home before dark. It's a shame, because Blood of the Werewolf features some awesome classic movie monsters worthy of much better performances.
If you're a fan of challenging platformers, you'll definitely find what you're looking for here. Inspired by classics of the '80s and '90s, Blood of the Werewolf makes no attempts to go easy on you. The game certainly eases you into its challenging difficulty, though even from the start you're tasked with performing perilous leaps over deadly pitfalls and forced to avoid unpredictable enemy attacks. You have unlimited lives, so it's never an overly frustrating ordeal, but even then, the old school challenge is inherent throughout, and it's highly rewarding.
The most interesting thing about Blood of the Werewolf is how different Selena's human and wolf forms are. As a human, Selena can us her crossbow to take down baddies. These sequences are almost like a run 'n' gun game because they often require you to move and shoot. It's especially difficult (yet totally satisfying) jumping from ledges or ladders onto a parallel platform, shooting enemies, and dodging projectiles all at the same time.
As a wolf, Selena functions quite differently. She can perform a double jump, claw at enemies, pull off a powerful rush attack, and even come crashing onto the ground for a huge impact. Whenever you play as a wolf, you're tasked with jumping over larger chasms, which can get tough in stages where the wind is blowing. Beating up enemies, on the other hand, is a bit easier on account of your superhuman wolf strength.
Both forms feature some additional abilities and power-ups. Human Selena can equip a multi-arrow shot that's super powerful, as well as a fire arrow that does lingering damage. Meanwhile wolf Selena can shoot projectiles and heal herself. In addition, collectible sigils are scattered all over the place — snag enough of these, and you'll increase your health and strength, eventually becoming a powerhouse. Don't worry about the game getting too easy, though; even if you can take out enemies with no trouble, the level designs themselves get much more daunting later on.
Despite some great mechanics, fun platforming, and decent combat, Blood of the Werewolf lacks the overall polish that indie titles like Super Meat Boy and DustForce thrive on. Controlling Selena doesn't always feel as tight as it should. In addition, the aforementioned windy stages can be ridiculously troublesome, especially when you repeatedly keep missing a platform by even the slightest amount of distance. This causes the game to go from pleasantly tough to infuriatingly cheap.
Blood of the Werewolf is a fairly nice game to look at. The environments are rich and colorful, and everything has a great hand-drawn look. The enemy designs could be better, which becomes more and more apparent when you realize that you're constantly fighting a lot of the same creatures. Even then, the bosses certainly look pretty cool, and Selena has a great appearance, too.
In addition to the uninspired voice acting, the soundtrack in Blood of the Werewolf is equally forgettable. You might hear a song or two that you actually like, but they loop so frequently that it's easy to get sick of them. Add to that the fact that some of the later songs sound absolutely cheesy, and you've got a soundtrack that's hard to really enjoy.
It's important to note that Blood of the Werewolf isn't a bad game. It's just ever-static. When you start, it's easy to fall for it from the get-go, but the deeper in you get, the more you realize you're doing a lot of the same things. Not to mention those same things get more frustrating as the game progresses. The foundation for a solid platformer is here, and retro purists who love a good challenge will undoubtedly have a fine time, but in the end, Blood of the Werewolf is more of a loud whimper than a growl.
Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.