Review – Bladed Fury (PS4)

Games like ICEY and My Time at Portia made me want to pay extra attention to the up and coming Chinese gaming scene. Turns out it’s not all about mobile games backed by Tencent’s near-infinite supply of money. Apparently Tencent occasionally funds smaller indie projects from their subsidiaries as well. Bladed Fury was originally released a few years ago for PC, but it didn’t receive a lot of attention. A shame, considering the fact this is actually a pretty good sidescroller. Now that the game is finally available on other platforms, such as the PS4, it’s time to check out what we were missing out all along.

Bladed Fury Boss

Bladed Fury features some dope boss battles.

Bladed Fury is a pseudo-metroidvania focused heavily on storytelling. It is a bit confusing, given the barrage of names and characters thrown at you from every angle, but the core plot revolves around a princess escaping from her family’s castle after being wrongly accused of killing her father. She now journeys the world trying to cleanse her name and get revenge on those who wronged her. You’ll be greeted to tons of voiced cutscenes (all in Mandarin, mind you), walls of text and backstory bits, but this is a game you can easily skip all exposition sections and focus solely on the gameplay, which is by far its strongest asset.

This isn’t just a pretty game whose art style reminded me of a mix between classic Chinese art and, for some reason, Samurai Jack. The best thing about Bladed Fury is being able to chain the craziest combos by juggling enemies in the air with your swords and wushu techniques. Throw them up in the air with a strong attack, proceed to slash them with quick attacks, and them bring them all down to earth with extreme prejudice with a spinning drop kick. Not only is it really freaking stylish, but the controls are really responsive and easy to learn. Each and every attack at your disposal packs one hell of a punch, making you salivate for enemy encounters just so you can unleash your inner Chinese Dante.

Bladed Fury Skulls

I think I just found the ghost of Captain Obvious.

Besides the juicy combat, and also some unlockable summoning spells, what else does Bladed Fury offer? Well, you get a short but competent pseudo metroidvania adventure (as in, it’s level-based, but each level is fairly open and designed like a small metroidvania map), a few purchasable attacks and buffs, the aforementioned complex but uninteresting plot, and a decent soundtrack, which sounds exactly like you would expect from a game with such themes and atmosphere. The only really massive flaw in here is its hideous UI and terribly generic text font. Both contrast horrendously alongside the gorgeous hand drawn visuals.

Bladed Fury Combat

You will cherish each and every enemy encounter in this game.

Bladed Fury is pretty straightforward, but don’t think that’s a bad thing. You’re getting good visuals, a decent soundtrack, a bland but passable plot, a short duration and a great combat system for a fair price. You’re not getting a groundbreaking metroidvania experience, but in no moment you’ll feel like you haven’t gotten your money’s worth out of it. This hidden Chinese gem is a very welcome stopgap while we wait for bigger games to be released during 2021’s dry spell.

Graphics: 7.0

Bladed Fury features a hideous UI and a terribly generic text font, but its art style, which looks like a mix between classic Chinese art and Samurai Jack, is gorgeous to look at. It also runs at a good framerate.

Gameplay: 9.0

Bladed Fury‘s combat sections are way deeper and more entertaining than they should have ever been. You have tons of attacks at your disposal, be them acrobatic slashes or summoning skills. All of them pack a punch and can be chained together in order to create ludicrous combos.

Sound: 7.5

Even though I cannot tell you whether or not the (tons of) voice acting in this game is well-performed, as it’s all in Mandarin, I really enjoyed its soundtrack.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Its story isn’t interesting, it is a bit janky, and it is quite short, but Bladed Fury‘s combat is so satisfying you can’t help but cherish every single instance an enemy shows up onscreen.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Bladed Fury is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Bladed Fury was provided by the publisher.