Blade Ranten – A Game That Failed to Save

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I first remember hearing about this game maybe a year before it’s release on the Australian Gamer podcast. At the time it sounded promising and I always like to support aussie devs out of some kind of misplaced sense of patriotism so I remember buying it in the Black Friday sales back in 2010. There is unfortunately a reason it has taken 6 years for me to play through the whole game. It isn’t very good.

It’s a platformer based on a what was apparently a webcomic at the time but is now only available for purchase. I have no idea what the source material was like but it has not born adaption to the game very well. It feels like either a lot of expository material was cut or the developers seriously misjudged how much we are expected to follow and care about events on this planet. These problems are evident from the very beginning where we get barely an outline from the opening cutscene. Kit Ballard is there for a job, but our ship is destroyed and our breaker key taken from us. At no point is it established what this breaker key does and why we need it back. Heck, after finishing the initial release I still have no idea what that key is for and why it was so critical for us to retrieve it.

The controls aren’t quite responsive enough for the kind of platforming we are asked to do, the enemies are capable of disrupting and stunning us resulting in crowds being a pain to handle and the levels are filled with collectables that seem completely pointless until the store is introduced at the end of the second level. Even then there isn’t any time spent emphasising using the store to upgrade your character, there isn’t even an opportunity to use the store between levels.

To top this off, the developers, Krome Studios, were in a bit of trouble at the time and Blade Kitten didn’t really help, not long after they went through some significant downsizing and never actually finished the story. The game was intended to be episodic and the initial release ends 2 acts through a 3 act story. What actually put this game back on my radar is that Krome Studios released a DLC last year to finish up the Blade Kitten story. I haven’t bought it yet, but if people would like me to I can and see what they have learned from making mobile games for the past five years.

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