Review: Broken Blades (Nintendo Switch)

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Broken Blades is a brutal 2D rogue-like that will truly test your patience as you grind through its procedurally-generated dungeons. Broken Blades is a mix of punishing platforming and challenging combat, which is all pretty standard in the modern and recent landscape of gaming. However, what makes Broken Blades stand out from its peers within the genre is the crafting system and the way you upgrade your character as you progress.

Unfortunately there is not much of a narrative on show whilst you’re playing, something that has in recent years become a way to really stand out within this genre. It has become increasingly evident that this style of game does not need to cut corners or avoid story completely, it is now very possible to do both. Yet, for a game that is only $3.99, it’s hard to knock it for not having a narrative.

The lack of narrative means you begin your quest as a pretty nondescript character, in a nondescript dungeon equipped with a small sword/dagger, ready to face whatever troubles there are ahead. How you upgrade your sword is one of the biggest strengths of Broken Blades. On your travels you will find shards, once you have the shards you can then choose to add them to your sword, in order to make it larger, and do more damage. In typical fashion for this genre however, the increased size and dame output of your weapon sacrifices the speed that you can swing it at. Fortunately, if you do over shoot it and go too big, you have the option of dropping a few shards to strip it back a bit.

The game’s other major strength, alongside how you upgrade your weapon, is how you upgrade your character. On your travels you will come across upgrade scrolls, each scroll offers just two upgrade options and you have to choose what is best for you, in order to build your character the way you want to. It’s a nice layer to add and lets you shape the way you play, adding a deeper layer that is akin to a light RPG. 

Despite the aforementioned upgrade system, Broken Blades just isn’t very enjoyable. The controls are not as sharp as you need them to be with a game as brutally challenging as thi There are times where it really feels as though the game is working against you in a way that isn’t just the bosses you need to beat. It isn’t that the game has too many mechanics, or is difficult to learn; it is simple enough. It simply lacks the sharpness that this genre relies on as a foundation and a justification for just how challenging it is. And trust me, it is challenging, I mean snap-your-Switch-over-your-knee-on-your-way-to-work challenging. Sadly, it just doesn’t feel justified as it’s so easy to die when it doesn’t feel like it’s your fault. 

For $3.99, it’s so difficult to knock Broken Blades, and if you’re fan of the genre, there are definitely fresh and fun ideas for you to explore. The overall package is reasonably satisfying for the most part, it has a simple but satisfying art style. However, this just isn’t the most enjoyable experience to sink your teeth into, offering little, unless you’re a die hard fan of the genre.

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