Developed By: Ametist Studio Published By: Ratalaika Games Categories: Platformer, Action Release Date: 07.16.21
I came in with the entirely wrong mindset for Within the Blade. I expected something like Ninja Gaiden, pure action. And while the game really can be played like that, it’s more of a Metal Gear esqe ninja game.
That’s right, Within the Blade is a stealth game, or at the very least it is heavily incentivized to be one. It didn’t stick with me until I did a few levels and after leveling up a few times to get new abilities on the rather large skill tree. I almost regret doing the tutorial, as it explains abilities you will not have by default and I had to get those moves out of my head until getting them. That said, I’d very much recommend you do so as there’s a lot of abilities and mechanics in the game, and the tutorial goes into great length to explain them all.
Within the Blade is a hard game. Maybe not quite by the fact you’ll die constantly, which you might, but because each level has their own set of challenges. Knowing me, I would try my hardest to get each one done, which can end up leading to frustration. For example, one challenge will usually be to not get seen more than a set amount of times, and if you, much like me had no idea what they were doing at first, you’ll get seen a lot. You’re also graded after each level too. How many enemies you kill, how many times you were hit or seen, how long you took to beat a level, and if you died. Getting seen or hit a lot will lower you bonus score, which means you’ll miss out on extra experience or money.
Killing enemies stealthily will grant much more experience than just slaying them. It’s usually much more gruesome too, which is satisfying. Each level raised, a new ability you can unlock. Different kinds of stealth moves, a dash and additions to that dash, health, strength, and accuracy addtions, etc… Gold can be used in shops. To get new weapons, sub weapons, crafting ingredients, and so on. The other weapons were fun to have, but I often found myself just using the sword as it felt better to use. For bosses, I’d use those kunai or bombs just to keep my distance, despite damage however.
I didn’t have sufficient money initially, which means that most of my acquisitions were found in levels instead. You can also find money this way too, in chests. Chests seem to be randomized, as one time I got HUNDREDS of gold, sometimes I just get ingredients. Crafting was something I seldom used. You need to acquire recipes, which cost money, and then have the proper ingredients. I could never find myself going out of my way to do it.
Within the Blade presents itself quite exquisitely. It starts with a nice cutscene (though I would be nice to be able to skip it), and the game has simple, yet good looking sprites. The music has that feudal theming I like. When speaking to characters, everyone has a little headshot near their dialog, which I always like.
At first, I wasn’t really seeing whats to like, or enjoying myself, but the more I played, leveled up, found new things, the more I got into the game. It’s frustrating at times, but incredibly rewarding, especially once your movelist opens up more.