Blasphemous Xbox One review: Is this Castlevania-like worth buying?

Check out those breathtaking landscapes.


Blasphemous (Image credit: Team17 Digital)

Blasphemous is a fast-paced platformer that combines challenging combat with exploration and role-playing mechanics. According to the developer, The Game Kitchen, a foul curse has befallen the land of Cvstodia and its inhabitants. Oddly enough, this blight is called The Miracle and it's up to you to lift it. You step into the shoes of The Penitent One, the survivor of a massacre, who's trapped in this endless cycle of death and rebirth.

Blasphemous inspiration and visuals

Blasphemous features a unique art style that incorporates pixelated visuals and haunting landscapes. A central area links all the levels together so you can approach certain challenges in any order you like. Let's say that a boss is proving to be too difficult. Well, you can always upgrade your character and come back later. Throughout the lengthy campaign, you gain a lot of new abilities that can help you reach previously inaccessible parts of the world.

The game focuses on Christian theology in many ways, but it's clear that it uses many other religions to influence its characters and quests. Occasionally, you'll come across a reference to Greek or Norse mythology as you interact with different beings, trying to get a better sense of the story.

Blasphemous bosses and levels

You'll traverse a region of warped religion where snow-covered peaks are just as common as grotesque swamps. The level variety is truly astounding and there are countless secrets scattered around the areas. You'll have to grapple onto ledges and fight numerous enemies to defeat the bosses that hold clues to lifting the curse.

Speaking of bosses, they're a sight to behold! They tower over your character and you have to use everything in your arsenal to defeat them. Their designs are unique as well. For example, one of them is simply a giant, but another is a creature made of trees holding a giant baby. A major part of Blasphemous is the ability to equip relics, rosary beads, and other religious artifacts that can dramatically change your playstyle. The ability to dodge and block your opponents' attacks is another part of the puzzle. While the mechanics may be a little clunky, the game gives you the option to heal and use other tricks to overcome seemingly desperate situations.

Blasphemous enemy variety

While the environmental variety is great, the enemy variety isn't that impressive. For the most part, you'll come across the same exact creatures in the same exact situations. Even though they have unique designs that I haven't seen in other games before, having to go through dozens of them to get to a boss can get tiring after a while. Every time you die, you resurrect at a shrine, and the enemies respawn as well. I can't tell you how many times I simply wanted to get to a boss but was disheartened by the fact that I would have to fight through these mindless encounters again and again. Maybe switching up the location of enemies or the types you encounter after every death would've added more to the game, especially in the earlier environments.

A lot of these enemies have devastating moves, so you have to make sure to avoid their projectiles or blows in order to preserve your healing potions and heath. Since many of them either hit you with gravestones or giant cartwheels, it's quite difficult. Simply dying right before you get to the boss respawns you at a faraway shrine. Then you'll have to grind through the monsters again in order to reach your destination. It's unclear how many tries it'll take.

Blasphemous final thoughts

Overall, Blasphemous is a good game that needs better combat mechanics and more randomization, especially when it comes to enemy variety. A lot of the game's length is padded by an unnecessarily slow crawl through levels. Luckily, there's a map that tells you exactly where you've been so keeping track of the exploration aspect of the game is quite easy.

Blasphemous requires a lot of patience and practice because you have to get really good at the combat. If you like challenging platformers, then this a must-have due to its unique story and art style. However, it may not be for everyone due to its steep difficulty and focus on constant death.

Excellent and affordable Xbox accessories

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.