Blind Fate: Edo no Yami
Developed by Troglobytes Games, Blind Fate Edo no Yami is a 2D action-platformer that, like most games of similar stature, bears influence from several classic titles. Having played a few hours of the game itself, courtesy of 101XP, the game is a Metroidvania but it also has elements of Strider both in gameplay and aesthetics. That is to say, you are a cyber samurai in a world where humans are endangered and robots are the main population. While lacking the augments to zip and climb like Strider Hiryu at first, the gameplay is more grounded and, in some cases, realistic.
As the title suggests, you are Yami, a blind swordsman with an emphasis on blindness. An oni killed your family and you barely survive the onslaught itself. That is until you're saved by an AI and you pick up the sword again to seek vengeance. To aid you is the mask of the oni, which works with you and against you at the same time. With the mask, you can see things around you but it is of a world that was long gone, and breaking through the illusion is needed in order to survive.
The mythos that your senses are heightened when you lose a major one is key in Blind Fate as you must rely on sound, smell, and feeling in gameplay. Because Yami is blind and the mask can only do so much without data, there are things that aren't what it seems. Enemies for example are always invisible until enough data is gathered to identify their battle habits. In order to see your enemies, you must rely on the sense of Sound, identified by ripples of vibration surrounding you.
Once you engage in combat, it becomes a dance of sorts. Depending on the identifiable marker that appears surrounding an enemy, Yami can block or dodge out of the enemy's way. Doing so, as well as attacking, will cost stamina that recovers over time. As you attack, a blue bar fills above the enemy which shows its weak point. Upon loading the blue bar and matching the weakness with a certain Sense, Yami will commence a rather cool-looking critical attack.
Blind Fate Edo no Yami doesn't overwhelm you with lore, giving players the option to collect lore and read up on the state of Japan in this alternate universe. The conversations between Yami and Tengu, his robot companion, are humorous as the latter only has knowledge of being a robot rather than a human. For example, a pet dog you have to save early on is a large robotic dog, created due to Tengu originally owning an organic dog. Becoming distraught about the dog's passing, he created a pet Dog so that it wouldn't leave him.
Present-day environments are met with urban decay while the "past" holographic appearance is that of a neo-future in our time. The balance between what we would consider the future, now being shown as the "past," offers the kind of dystopia Blind Fate becomes. There are some puzzle elements utilizing your senses as well. At some point, there's a room where upon entry Yami will take continuous damage. If you use your sense of smell, the player will see toxic fumes in certain parts of the room. The challenge is to get to the other side while taking as little damage as possible.
While I loved the gameplay of Blind Fate, it can be equal parts unfair yet offer enough rope to the player to get out of a sticky situation. Upon entering a level you have three health packs that can only be replenished by finding hidden medkits using your senses. There are fights where the player will press the dodge button only to be left without the stamina needed to do so, thus taking damage. Over time the player will learn to pace their attacks so as to leave enough stamina to get out of a sticky situation.
Cheap deaths can occur and some of the checkpoints will take a player as far back as earlier within a level. The combat is not "Dark Souls-like" difficult, but rather exerting patience while utilizing an advantageous situation. As the player earns skills including an air dash, parrying, and better weapons, the combat will become easier to manage. There is quite a bit of backtracking as expected from a Metroidvania, which can make or break players who like that sort of thing. Overall, first impressions show that Blind Fate Edo no Yami is an impressive action platformer with enough lore to become invested in the story. The graphics ran at ultra settings look cool as well, although there is a steady learning curve to survive the robotic assault.
Blind Fate Edo no Yami releases September 15th on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One