The world lies in peril. Decades ago, a band of legendary warriors slew the dreaded Shadow Titan after a long and ferocious struggle, but their celebration was short-lived. The Shadow Titan’s true intentions revealed themselves when from his broken husk flowed the Blight; a corrupting fog that alters any living creature exposed to its evil.
Blightbound is a multiplayer dungeon crawler that tasks three heroes to venture down from their mountain refuge to face the abominations of the Blight. Explore handcrafted dungeons, fight a terrifying cadre of mystical and monstrous enemies, grab valuable loot, and recover fallen heroes to expand your roster of available warriors. Each player will fulfill a specific role on the team – warrior, assassin, or mage – to overcome colossal bosses and solve clever puzzles. Can you collect and complete all the challenges, and conquer the Blight once and for all?
Setting the scene!
Blightbound arrives on Xbox, developed by Ronimo Games and published by Devolver Digital. The game has just completed an early access phase on PC. It is now the turn of console players to experience this ever-expanding beautifully articulated world. At first glance, the art style is very reminiscent of the recent installment of Streets Of Rage 4. Blend this with gameplay similar to the Diablo games and you can imagine how it not only looks but also feels.
To start there are three classes of character, the warrior, assassin, and mage. The team at Ronimo made the conscious decision to design the combat and the dungeon’s puzzles around the classes. They all intertwine exceptionally well but require an element of teamwork to get the job done. Whilst you can play solo with AI bots on your side, Blightbound is best served with two other human players. Working together online as a team allows you to make joint decisions and gather yourselves for a great tactical approach.
Blightbound isn’t your traditional RPG. The premise of the game isn’t to pour your heart and soul into building up one sole character. Instead, you’ll be focusing on building up the powers and abilities of the heroes you rescue from the deep and dark abyss. Whilst you may find the different dungeon runs linear to a point, there are secrets to uncover and quests to complete. The goal here is to plow through each dungeon and find as much loot as possible. Gather material and craft items to make your equipment stronger. Powering up the twenty heroes on offer and their personal skills and abilities is the real addiction here.
There are three regions to discover with a plethora of dungeons to make your way through. Naturally, the first couple of dungeons seemed a doddle to blast through. As we all know, RPG dungeon crawlers have the potential to become more difficult as the game progresses. Blightbound is no different, as you traverse through the game you’ll interact with harder enemies and super strong bosses. Players with a desire for “grindy” games will especially enjoy the way the game functions with loot dropping and crafting. Potentially there is a never-ending loop of gameplay which will suck some in for long-term longevity and replayability.
Magical Powers and cool characters FTW
An RPG wouldn’t be great without magic, abilities and special powers would it? You’ll find a huge variance here spread across the heroes. All with specifically set cool-down timers, it really is a case of saving some of the cool stuff for when you absolutely need it. Each class has an ultimate power which whilst brief, can overpower bosses and groups of enemies.
I found myself starting as Malborys the Foregborn Brute who is within the Warrior class. Wielding a sword and carrying a shield for defensive options. He is a real all-rounder with an ultimate power that transforms him to three times the size dealing thee hundred percent damage in a short ten-second stint.
Scarlet the assassin is quick and agile with daggers and smoke bombs at her disposal. With extra buffs for combo attacks and damaging enemies from behind. She rounds off with a devastating ultimate attack of meatgrinder which sees a set of knives swirling around you.
Last but not least is Korrus the Blight Scribe who is the mage. I would describe this class as the gel that holds everything together. With a ranged attack and him being the only class to be able to heal allies, you’ll want to stick close. The mage can also drop mana orbs allowing friendly players to charge up their ultimate attack ever so slightly quicker, which is always a great factor in the heat of battle.
On defeating the boss you are granted success on that dungeon, the loot drops, and it’s all yours. Tread carefully because if the boss obliterates your squad, it is essentially game over for that run. The experience gained for reaping the rewards of each dungeon allows you to inject some power into your character and class. Stat points are earned throughout the game. You’ll be able to assign these points to separate sections. Power, agility, vitality, will, and luck make up the core of your player. The higher these statistics are, the stronger you will become in battle.
Loot dropped could include stronger weapons, shields, trinkets, and consumables. Picture in your mind games like Destiny and The Division and the assignment of this equipment bears similarity to those titles. The most frustrating part of Blightbound for me was how extremely difficult it was for the AI bots to perform the actions you wanted them to. For example, there are pressure plates scattered throughout the dungeons. Many of these required multiple people to stand on them to open a gate. There appeared to be no way to call for the computer players to come and join in with this function. There was one particular dungeon where it annoyed me so much to the point I switched off the game completely. This is why I feel it is paramount to play with friends whenever possible.
Art, design and sound
Visually Blightbound is absolutely stunning. Characters are beautifully illustrated and designed all with their own backstory and features. The bestiary is rich in content and detail, showing aesthetically pleasing pictures of all enemy types you have come across. The information provided with the text here is plentiful and grants players more knowledge on what rewards they can gain. Dungeons are well laid out and have enough variance to keep engagement consistent. The UI is super simple and easy to navigate, understand, and not overwhelming like other games in this genre. I can’t fault the excellence in the artistic design from the dev team at Ronimo Games.
The sound effects, music, and voice acting are on par with the graphical presentation here. Intense and dramatic music with an abundance of differing audio elements is perfectly executed and well blended.
Blightbound for the most part ticks every box for the genre. With its Pokemon-esque approach of unlocking heroes and leveling them up at your own pace, it is a grinder’s dream. There are minor annoyances here and there and the AI bots could do with some work to make them easier to handle. You’ll be best suited to understand that this experience has been designed with co-op gameplay with friends or random players as the main focus.
With cross-play activated for this title it could be a real hit as it releases on to consoles. With the early access padlock well and truly released it will be great to see what additions are made in the future with such a strong and stable game under their belts. I recommend it one-hundred percent, and whilst not perfect it is one of the most beautiful dungeon crawlers I’ve played, especially on console.