It's fantastic that indie developers keep coming up with clever multiplayer experiences. Blade Ballet's battles involve up to four spinning sword-wielding robots but is its simple gameplay enough to make you dizzy?
First of all, Blade Ballet is an exclusively multiplayer game. You play it by controlling your robot of choice in order to destroy your competitors. Each bot is equipped with a weapon of some sort which is more often than not a protruding sword. You control your robot by using the shoulder buttons to spin in either direction. As soon as your steel touches a foe, they're sent to robot heaven. The core gameplay involves trying to snag your opponents while covering your back at the same time. It's an enjoyable dynamic that's simple enough to pick up and play. To add some complexity, you can also perform a character-specific ability, jump a short height, and taunt. Seeing as you can play with up to four local or online players, the basic gameplay offers a decent amount of hectic fun for as long as it lasts.
Blade Ballet is pleasant to look at with bright colours, easily distinguishable stage features, a cast of quirky robot chums, and interesting environmental effects. It's great to have graphics that make the gameplay even more enjoyable. On the audio side, there are suitable sound effects and a cool soundtrack that consists of electronic versions of classic ballet tunes. Overall, the delightful presentation helps establish an atmosphere of fun and that's always welcome for a session of gaming with pals.
One thing that Blade Ballet accomplishes masterfully is its clever stage designs that often drastically change the gameplay. You'll find yourself avoiding collapsing floors, skiing as an avalanche chases you, and detonating bombs that'll hopefully explode in your friend's face. These innovative designs ensure that even masters of the core gameplay could easily be thrown for a loop. Although I love the stages, I must say that there sure aren't many of them. You'll likely come across repeats in only your second match which is incredibly disappointing. I wish the developers took some time to throw some boring ones together just to add more content. After seeing the same stages over and over again in such a short period of time, it's hard to stay interested in playing another round.
In addition to the lack of stages, there is also a bare-bones match setup system. All you do is select a mode (last bot standing, timed deathmatch, or soccer) and a couple of basic options such as number of wins and lives in the main mode. Most other multiplayer-focused games that I've played go the extra mile to offer loads of options to ensure that the gameplay is customizable and stays fresh but Blade Ballet's lack of options makes it all the more repetitive. Speaking of which, I would have loved to see some single player modes. Whether it's just playing against computer-controlled players or a collection of challenges, any solo content would've been appreciated.
All of that being said, one mode adds a great deal of variety. If you've ever played Rocket League then Blade Ballet's soccer mode will feel right at home. Of course, it's not as epic but there's something about whacking the ball back and forth while temporarily taking out opponents that's a ton of fun. So, if the core gameplay ever gets tiresome then you can always start a soccer match.
Blade Ballet is a simple and enjoyable multiplayer game with very cool stages. However, the fun factor doesn't last long due to the general lack of variety so don't count on wearing your tutu for longer than a few rounds.
- + Simple gameplay that's enjoyable with up to four local or online players
- + Some very clever stage designs
- + Soccer mode adds needed variety
- - Bare-bones match setup makes gameplay unvaried and uncustomizable
- - The few stages repeat too often
- - Could use some single player content