Sci-fi mecha based role playing game that uses arcade style side-on levels.

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Blood Gear is a game I picked up out of curiosity. There aren't many mech-based 2D platformers and with the game being worked on by Westone of Wonder Boy fame I had high hopes for it. It has its flaws, but none should be a deal breaker for anyone looking for a solid 2D platformer with some exploration elements, even if you don't know any Japanese.

The game has the presentation side covered with cutscenes which are all well-drawn and voiced by a competent cast. The downside if you do know Japanese is that whilst the developers clearly thought about world-building, the story eventually doesn't amount to more than your character being the destined one to defeat an evil empire.

All the music in the game is generated by the PCE sound chip and whilst some folks might be disappointed by this, the tunes are all excellent and the town, map and exploration themes will probably get stuck in your head before long. Environments are mech designs are detailed, although backgrounds could've done with scrolling effects to spice them up visually. As soon as the introductory cutscene has played you'll be introduced to a top-down view which you'll use to talk to people, repair your mech, buy equipment for that mech or upgrade its stats. Outside of town you are brought to a map screen where you choose locations to explore in a side-scrolling fashion with enemies for you to defeat.

The gameplay loop here is talking to townsfolk until a new location on the world map opens up. For the most part you can get by in towns simply by talking to everyone and exhausting their dialogue though sometimes multiple locations are accesible at once and backtracking is required. The most notable thing about the game is the way your inventory and experience points work. Enemies automatically give you a set amount of credits when destroyed. You can spend this on items at shops but also at garages to upgrade the stats of your mech.

Your inventory is limited to 10 items or so, of which 3 are reserved for equipment though this isn't visible nor does the game inform you about this anywhere. The idea is that you use these equipment slots for a shield, melee wepon and ranged weapon. Shields are usefull as you'll automatically take a blocking stance when standing still, but they have limited durability and you'll have to buy replacements when destroyed. Melee weapons do high damage and never run out, so you'll rely on these a lot. Ranged weapons are required in some situations but enemies will drop these reguarly so there's never a need to buy them. Each weapon comes with a set amount of ammo and will automatically be discarded when empty.

There are 8 different stats to upgrade. The problems with this system are twofold: All stats are abbreviated and I had to resort to the manual to find out what purpose all stats served. Upgrading you stats is expensive and not all of them are equally important. I found that upgrading DP (defense), SP (health) and WS (move speed) were crucial for survival because your mech starts out weak and slow. This led me to grinding for upgrades at the start to defeat the first boss but made most bosses up until the final boss pushovers. By the end of the game I still wasn't close to maxing out all stats.

Despite its flaws the game is definitely worth your time if you're looking for something in the vein of the Assault Suit games and are willing to push through the dialogue or understand Japanese. The game doesn't track your playtime but will take you at least 10 hours to finish.
Marco Wolken




Gameplay Video Longplay Video from World of Longplays

Visual Scenes