[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]fter a long developmental journey, Insanity’s Blade was released on Steam December 5th, 2014. At the time of this article, it is on version 1.05, which features the ability to customize controls, as well as the added option of “Nightmare Mode.” I shudder to think what the latter is like, because let me tell you, anyone getting this game should be prepared to die. A lot.
Insanity’s Blade is fun and easy to learn. After four hours, I’m 70% of the way through, and I definitely lost track of time. I found myself squealing with delight when I realized I could rip off an enemy’s limb and beat them with it. The game’s atmosphere has a “Conan the Barbarian” meets “Castlevania” feel to it that I adore. The swarm of enemies can be intense at times, though everything is pretty fair…that is until you hit the occasional glitch. When I played the first two stages on single player, I didn’t see much beyond the awkward enemy spawn, or loot randomly going invisible. It was when my husband joined in for multiplayer that things got really weird.
Playing with a friend can be a lot of fun, but we observed a number of glitches that seemed unique to multiplayer, especially on stage three. There is also an intentional “teleporting” to force characters to stay together on the screen. This annoyingly resulted in our deaths many times. We also weren’t fans of the timed upgrade shop, wherein you only have ten seconds to purchase things. On top of the time limit, the shop only appears at certain times, sometimes not appearing in a level at all. The timed dialogue boxes were also something of a frustration, and I can’t understand why it is the game won’t let me replay levels.
Still, we admired the level design, and we both liked the 16-bit art. The music is really great and inspires lots of nostalgia. I do feel, however, that the boss designs were uneven. Some were easier than others, with one being defeated whilst I spammed safely from the edge of the screen. On the plus side, they all looked really cool.
So my final opinion of Insanity’s Blade? It’s positive, but with some caveats. I know that the devs intend to clean up the bugs in the future, and I do enjoy the gameplay, but I can’t help but criticize some of Causal Bit Games’ design decisions. There has to be a solution to the multiplayer teleport issue. The boss battles also need to be tweaked. Stage three was a disappointment due to overpowered power ups and weird multiplayer glitches. Still, the price tag on this one isn’t huge, and none of the bugs render the game unplayable. If you’re an action fan, then this is worth a look. Don’t want to pay seven bucks? Try getting the game on sale, or wait for the devs to iron out the kinks. They’ve already released two updates that added features and fixed bugs.