Blue Boy: Bleeding Out

PC

This is about as straightforward as a good idea well executed gets. There’s a concept: your character is bleeding, and is deathly allergic to his own blood. There’s a goal: get to the key, get to the exit. And there’s the presentation: a pixel-perfect recreation of Spectrum 128k era graphics. And it nails it.

Poor little Blue Boy, goodness knows what terrible things must have happened to him. Why is he bleeding out? Why is his blood so immediately toxic? Where is he, and who trapped him there? We’ll have to wait for the spin-off movie and tie-in books before we find out, I guess, but in the meantime it proves a great mechanic for an old-school arcade game. In this remake of a Newgrounds game, you run, you jump, you avoid the red dots of blood you leave behind you in the world. If you’re brave, you gather as many coins as you can.

Dodging your dots means not only trying to platform back around them, but also thinking about where you’re leaving them on the way to the key. Are you going to block your own path? But there’s no time to stop and think about it, because stand still and you’ll bleed on yourself and die.

The game initially offers you twelve levels to play, in any order you choose. In each there’s the basic goal of getting key/reaching door, but then as you go various coloured coins appear for you to pick up too. Get twelve red coins and you unlock the twelve red levels. Get 24 blue coins and the twelve blue levels are yours too.

It gets tough pretty quickly, but always feels achievable. At least for the red coins… And the restarts are instant, making just-one-more-go an easy loop to get into. At the end of a level, rather than congratulating you, instead it makes a full-screen mocking display of counting up how many times you died trying, which is a touch I really like.

This is a simple, original idea, done really well. I don’t know that I’ll ever unlock those blue levels, but it’s a great time trying. And for less than £3, it’s a pretty low-risk choice. This is an easy one to recommend.

  • Ben Renya / plufmot
  • Steam
  • £2.90/€3/$3.50

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