#BLUD Review — More Soul-sucking Than Blood-sucking

#BLUD Key Art

2D Animation company Exit 73 studios has decided to heroically dive into the video game medium again to give us #BLUD, a top down 90’s cartoon style vamp-whacking adventure. Boasting brilliant energetic animations, along with vamped up slap-stick action — #BLUD stakes its claim as one of the most stylish Action RPGs out there.


#BLUD, Sweat, and Tears

As the new kid on the block of Carpentersville, Becky Brewster, you unwittingly set off a chain of events that leads to the resurrection of Dragur: The King of all Vampires! Throughout the story, players will meet an eclectic group of archetypal characters and learn the history of both their new home and their lineage.

 #BLUD is a perfect time capsule for all 90’s Saturday morning cartoons like the PowerPuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory. Characters with sharp features, over-animated, and full of life. Boomboxes bouncing off the ground as music plays through their speakers. People flattening like pancakes when steamrolled over. That kind of thing.

#BLUD Review
Stylish Title Cards mark the start of each chapter

This also goes for the game’s narrative; each moment feels exactly like playing a cartoon that I grew up with as a kid. The main campaign respects the player’s time, with great writing, a simple story, and quality pacing. Each chapter features its own title card as if it were an episode airing on television.

The whacky cast of characters throughout Carpentersville are instantly likeable, each having clear motivations and goals shown through both in-person and online interactions with Becky herself and with each other. Becky is a fantastic protagonist – full of character and confidence. The journey Becky goes through is a worthwhile tribute to the old cartoons on which the game is based around.


Vamped Up Audio/Visuals!

While the narrative and characterization featured in #BLUD is excellent, the moments most bright come from the beautiful, traditionally animated cutscenes exhibited throughout the game. This is where Exit 73 studio show off their expertise, impactful and attention grabbing, these moments build hype like nothing else in game. A testament to the talent on display inside this studio.

The vivid visual style doesn’t stop there. Carpentersville is filled with all manner of creepy and creative creatures, ranging from a simple fly to a Booty-rocking Bloodsucker, and a swarming mass of mini-vamps.

#BLUD Review
Becky hits the dance floor with some sweet moves!

Attack animations are over-exaggerated and flashy, with combos growing Becky’s weapons and limbs to a comical size. Undead mobs use similar hyper-extension to emphasize their attacks, even in re-death they splatter into a dramatic mass of bones and blood or throw their hands to the sky as they crumple to dust.

There is an incredible amount of definition in the animated inhabitants of Carpentersville, which makes for a jarring realization that the locations around town are almost lifeless. While each section of #BLUD’s world is filled with background details, it still feels empty. Certain spaces hold little to no use, serving only to waste time as you try and navigate to the next objective and large, barren areas that beg to be skipped over once shortcuts are unlocked.

Accompanying the art design and direction are the classic Hanna Barbera-style sound effects that add life to every action and an understated soundtrack that avoids feeling too repetitive. Thuds and Clangs ring out with each hit, and NPCs speak in friendly gibberish for that cartoonish charm.


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While the majority of #BLUD’s art design and direction are outstanding, the gameplay suffers greatly in its wake. There are a litany of issues surrounding combat and gameplay, with some seemingly stemming from the prioritization of the game’s art direction.

Animations outside of combat (e.g. Opening the menu or picking up certain items) lock you in for up to 3 seconds at a time, frequently resulting in Becky unfairly taking damage. Similar problems crop up when actively attacking mobs due to unruly hit boxes and a tendency for Becky to zip to targets uncontrollably – sometimes warping directly inside an enemy.

#BLUD Review
Give ‘Em H-E-DoubleHockeySticks

More nuisances arise with the spawning of combatants, including random invulnerable mobs, endless spawns in certain areas, and creatures popping up either out of bounds – making them impossible to see or hit, or inside the player’s body – stun locking the player and causing a massive loss of health. This issue required a restart on more than one occasion, as I had been soft-locked due to being locked inside a combat zone.

The larger spectacle pieces, such as boss fights, are engaging and well-designed. However, they still suffer from the same hitbox and stun lock issues the rest of the game has – with one mid-game boss being particularly egregious. To the player’s benefit, most of these fights hold predictable patterns and aren’t terribly difficult.

While the main questline remains engaging from start to finish, many side quests are derivative and not worth the player’s time. Consisting of small gauntlets of basic enemies, or chores around the town that simply require a single button to complete – these tasks frequently felt hollow and rarely rewarding. They also don’t always work as intended with some side quests clashing with each other, either preventing one from being completed until another unrelated quest had been – or inversely, activating a totally unrelated quest immediately after finishing an innocuous errand.

#BLUD Review
Dungeons are full of deadly traps and critters

With that being said, the idea of quests being discussed and updated through social media is a concept I genuinely loved. Seeing the characters interact with each other on a post and scrolling through their messages for hints and directions on my next objective, while not always easy, felt far more engaging than a simple list of tasks to complete. Posting selfies with every kind of mob was also one of my favourite pastimes in-game, as it felt challenging to pull off with good timing.

While the core level design isn’t offensive, with plenty of unique dungeons to battle your way through – there are multiple frustrating and time-consuming mandatory late-game puzzles that stuck with me. The worst being a tedious Ice Block escort mission surrounded by endless spawning fire demons and hot plates that litter the ground.




#BLUD features some of the liveliest animation of any game I’ve played this year, something that should desperately be celebrated. Unfortunately, the game’s fantastic story, art, and sound design are severely marred by the disappointing gameplay that drags the rest of the experience down the whole way.


  • Expertly animated cutscenes
  • Nostalgic Saturday Morning Cartoon vibes
  • Great character design and writing


  • Poorly executed combat
  • Boring side quests with little payoff
  • Tedious, frustrating puzzles
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