Tenerife based studio The Game Kitchen struck gold with Blasphemous it’s fair to say, as this Kickstarter program quickly grew legs and became a standout title of its own. Becoming one of these rare titles that defines why the indie sphere is so important. Well, the Penitent One is back as The Game Kitchen have been busy cooking up something new with Blasphemous 2 – which takes what made the first so good and turns it all up to 11… and then some.
It’ll come as no surprise but the sequel sticks to its guns and is a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania once again, but the winning formula has been tweaked a little to freshen it all up. Story-wise, the Penitent One is back and this silent knight once again embarks on a new adventure to save the locals of Cvstodia and to ultimately prevent the rebirth of a the god like being called “The Miracle”. You’ll learn more of the world and its lore as you explore; battling enemies and finding relics, which will reward you with nuggets of info that enrich the world. Starting out by picking one of three different weapons that will define the fighting style you will play the game with. It also gives you a taste of just how smooth combat is this time around, which was one area the developers were aiming to improve on. As is the way you’ll also upgrade and develop your weapon of choice along the way, as each comes with a healthy upgrade tree. However, there are pros and cons to what you unlock, so a bit of thinking is required.
The game doesn’t mess around either as right out the traps you’ll face a mini-boss which above all else lets you know what you’re in for here, while also teaching you the core points of combat and how read your enemies. In a lot of ways this is a hard slap to the face and a wakeup call, as it tells you the levels of focus and concentration the game will demand from you. You explore the vastly different feeling world, though with it being a Metroidvania… you will be back tracking at times when you find new weapons and abilities; that let you unlock new areas but in the same breath, you’ll also be discovering evermore warped and twisted enemies looking to put you down. Blasphemous 2 doesn’t sugar coat things, but it’s also fair that 98% of the time your death will be because of you not the game; due to a poorly timed parry or jump, as having an understanding of your weapons, your foes and when best to attack and hold back is key to the gameplay.
Visually the game is truly stunning and packed with detail once again, fully embodying its pixel art tones and blending it with gothic and religious iconography… adding a real under-tone of gruesomeness and foreboding to it all. Sound wise it’s outstanding as well from the epic soundtrack building to a crescendo in the heat of a battle, to it just ticking away in the background forging an atmosphere as you explore. Blasphemous 2 takes what made the first game a hit, by amplifying and refining it all, movement and combat are improved, the world is deeper and bigger and the big bads are bigger and badder. If you’re a fan of the first game you will love this, whereas newcomers will find a tough, but fair challenge if they can keep the faith.
An Xbox review copy of Blasphemous 2 was provided by The Game Kitchen’s PR team, and the game is out now on PC, Xbox, Switch and PlayStation for around £30.