Bow to Blood : Last Captain Standing
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : Tribetoy
Published By : Tribetoy
Category : Action, Simulation, Shooter
Release Date : Apr 03, 2019

Originally released back in August of 2018 for the PSVR, Bow to Blood has now been given a new light on a couple of new platforms, including our favorite Home-held Switch. While it was initially released as a VR title, this comes as a non-VR port, and it brings a really enjoyable single player experience that just might leave you wondering why there’s no multiplayer.

Bow to Blood‘s campaign is a very unique one, taking place in the midst of a filmed airship competition, you’ll take the role of a pilot looking for fame and glory by winning this competition. The entire tournament spans seven rounds, or events, which are each split up into multiple matches (typically it’s two per round). And, while you would be right with your first instinct that to win you just need to be better than your opponents with the pew-pew, that’s not entirely the case.

First though, let’s discuss the matches themselves. These take place in enormous arenas that are filled with more than just your competition. Containing areas that are both outside and inside (or underground depending on how you want to look at it in some areas), you’ll find plenty of drones that serve as machine gun fodder for everyone, as well as beacon markers scattered about.

The markers serve as unique events to be triggered within the arena, and one in particular that contains the location of a key that may or may not help you greatly in your quest ahead. Other than the key, each marker leads to one of two other things. Either another competitor in the competition whom you’ll either be given an opportunity to help or attack. Or, you’ll be lead to an actual beacon, commencing a radio transmission that can spawn an attack sequence by drones in which you’ll need to prove just how good you are to The Overseer  for some points, or a showdown with something much bigger. Occasionally, you’ll find that The Overseer is actually pleased with your recent performance and offers an immediate reward for finding the beacon, but don’t rely on this too heavily.

Before, I mentioned that out-shooting your opponents wasn’t always the focus on advancing yourself in the competition. That’s because there are plenty of moments that arise in which you can directly interact with your opponents. Competing in the same tournament are seven other pilots, and it isn’t always about destroying their ships. Sometimes, it’s about what you build between you and the others, as you’ll have more than your fair share of opportunities to communicate with them, both on and off the battlefield.

These interactions are what makes each playthrough of this game unique, guaranteeing you won’t have the same experience more than once. Unless, of course, you manage to trigger the exact same encounters and make the exact same choices. but even that is unlikely. During my time in Bow to Blood, I came across : one captain who was stranded and needed to borrow some power to get their ship moving again, a captain who I’d attacked in a previous encounter that threatened to detonate a bomb they’d planted within my ship. and a few that asked for small favors such as trading points for ammo.

The relationships that you decide to build or destroy in the arenas may seem trivial in the moments, but unless you’re one of the top competitors, you may find yourself relying on these relationships. After each round of fighting, there is an event that takes place called The Culling. This takes the bottom two pilots in the standings, and allows the others to vote for which one should stay, and which should leave. So, before you leave people hanging out to dry, or start sending bullets at hulls, just remember that these are people who you may need later on.

After playing this game for a bit, what I took away from my experience was nothing like what I’d anticipated going in. I had been anticipating a cheesy, forced multiplayer situation, but when this long battle campaign that was centered around building relationships with your competition opened up in front of me I was entranced right away. In fact, there is no multiplayer at all in this game, which I think helps it stand out that much more.

It’s very easy to see the VR origins in the game. Between rounds you’ll be hanging out in the cabin of your ship where you are rooted in place, forced to spin around and interact with things surrounding you. There’s even a portion of battles on the ship that take place up close when drones start directly attacking your hull. You’ll need to take out your pistol and shoot these drones yourself to survive the encounters.

I loved playing Bow to Blood and can’t wait to play more. The art style, the music, every aspect of this game melds so well together that it’s extremely difficult to put down. Another thing that I had mentioned earlier was that originally when this game was released, it was as a VR title. Conveniently enough, shortly after this came out for the Switch, Labo dropped us a VR kit so one can only imagine that if response to the game is great, a VR mode just might added in. Or…I guess technically re-added? Either way, VR or not, this is a fun game and one very much worth checking out, so hop on board and see if you can be the Last Captain Standing.


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