#blud review - a girl between two vampires

#BLUD Review – Hashtag Vampire Apocalypse

Let's Buffy this thing out of here!


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A young freshman girl moves to a small town where, together with her classmates, she’ll discover her true calling: killing vampires. Indeed, if that sounds familiar or if it reminded you of a 90s TV series, then you are on the right track to what #BLUD is trying to evoke. But is this cartoony action RPG worth your time, or is that neck better saved for another bite?

Becky posting a selfie on Perch
Image source: Humble Games via Twinfinite

Becky Brewster is a tiny but brave kid, living alone with her father, she still never leaves her mom’s grimoire behind. While it might look like an everyday recipe book, the book is actually all about the killing of things that go bump in the night. Along with, well, some recipes as well. It won’t be long before that grimoire will get some use, as Becky will discover that a vampire apocalypse is about to hit the town and no one but her can get those bloodsuckers to go back where they came from.

#BLUD is a typical action RPG in a dungeon crawler style, where you explore areas, defeat enemies in real-time combat, solve quests, and defeat bosses. You get to use both a melee weapon and a long-ranged weapon (usually pencils), and there’s not much else in terms of gameplay mechanics.

You will get upgrades for your basic hockey stick, like an umbrella that works as a shield or a harder-hitting combo, but the combat remains pretty straightforward. Just melee most enemies and keep your distance while launching pencils.

Becky killing two mice
Image source: Humble Games via Twinfinite

Enemies will require different overall approaches, as some can only be killed effectively by using bombs in a typical Zelda-fashion. Bosses sometimes require some form of lateral thinking, like the very first one that had me stumped for a bit because there were no hints, but usually also respond to some direct all-out attack. I am not a big fan of the roll attack, which seems to end up damaging Becky more than the enemies themselves, since you are not invulnerable while rolling around.

The quests are all pretty simple, mostly focused on trying to find your way around the school to track down essential information to defeat the vampires or finding infected blood to better understand how to fight the beasts. There are some extras, mostly in the way of pins spread around town just ready to be added to your collection, but there is not much in the way of side-quests, except for a few distractions. You are free to talk with most NPCs, but it’s just to experience some amusing lines of dialogue. You can also find some simple 8-bit like games to try around town, such as guess the number to slam dunk.

Becky smiling to a dog
Image source: Humble Games via Twinfinite

Speaking of fun, the way that Becky keeps track of quests is definitely unique. Basically, you will be checking your social media app to find out what you’re supposed to be doing. But that’s not all, You’ll also be able to take selfies (and pose!) in certain spots in town, posting them on Perch (or X-perch?). Becky will also sometimes engage in some amusing back-and-forth with her friends on the posts. 

#BLUD definitely has style, and that clear cartoon vibe which sits somewhere between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Powerpuff Girls is a breath of fresh air. There are no gruff heroes or 8-bit pixelated homages here. But is that overall style enough to make up for a gameplay that ends up being pretty basic? That depends on what you are looking for in an action RPG of this ilk. If you are all for that loot-collecting, grinding experience, then you are barking up the wrong vampire castle.

Becky walking around a shop in the mall
Image source: Humble Games via Twinfinite

Clearly, #BLUD is not for the hardcore Diablo-hardened players of the genre. Instead, this is for players who want something different and won’t mind a bit of simplicity in their real-time combat, but instead are looking for a more fun and relaxed take on a small vampire invasion story. The quiet little town atmosphere is perfectly recreated, from the school, café, mall and the usual haunts. Some voice acting would have gone way to make #BLUD and its characters even more engaging, but alas, the writing is still good.

As a product of a small indie team as their debut game, #BLUD is definitely a good first entry in the RPG space. While it will probably fail to interest those looking for a serious action dungeon crawler experience, it will provide several hours of entertainment while embarking on this zany journey with Becky, Corey and all of her friends.

While the small-town vampire apocalypse of #BLUD will fail to interest those looking for a serious dungeon crawler RPG, it will satisfy those longing for a simpler zany 90s cartoon experience.
  • Stylish animated graphics
  • Entertaining social media aspects
  • Pretty basic action RPG gameplay
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC.

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Damiano Gerli
Damiano Gerli is a gaming historian and freelance journalist, born with a faithful Commodore 64 by his side. He has been writing about games for 20+ years, with articles on gaming history published on Kotaku, PC Gamer, PcGamesN and Retro Gamer magazine. Say hi to him on Twitter at @damgentemp, or on his blog https://genesistemple.com (now dedicated to the history of video game design).