Wryn is on a quest to become the greatest hero the world has ever known.
Bleed controls similar to a side-scrolling twin-stick shooter where you move with the left stick and aim/fire with the right. Jump (as well as double and triple jump) is mapped to the right trigger which takes a bit of getting used to but it's crucial that you can shoot and jump at the same time. The double and triple jump are more like air dashes, allowing you to quickly navigate across the screen and up long vertical corridors. Wryn's also able to briefly slow down time which lets her get in a few extra shots on a boss or dodge a hulking projectile at the last second.
Wryn starts out with her trusty dual pistols and a rocket launcher but she'll have at least a dozen different weapons at her disposal by the end. I mostly stuck with her dual pistols because they are powerful, fast, and simple to aim but weapons like the shotgun, homing missiles, and katana all came in handy in certain situations.
Bleed's levels are short, diverse, and meant to be played multiple times. You'll spend time killing enemy forces on top of a moving train, underground, and even inside a dragon! Within the levels, you'll go through a few screens of smaller enemies and then usually reach a midpoint boss that you'll have to dispatch. After that, you'll usually have a few more areas with smaller enemies before you reach the level's final boss. For the record, most levels take around five minutes to complete.
The bosses and mini-bosses in Bleed are the highlight of the game. Each battle is a unique, well thought out experience that will put your skills to the test. Bosses have several attack abilities that you'll need to learn and prepare for and massive health bars which means that you have to stay alive long enough to take them down. It pleases me to say that I don't think there was a single boss that I considered to be either too easy or too difficult.
Bleed is meant to be played multiple times via the four difficulty settings. The hardest of which is going to be way too tough at the get go but you'll quickly improve as you play. You're also awarded points at the end of each level that can be used to upgrade your health and time slowdown bars as well as purchase new weapons.
Checkpoints are generous in Bleed so even on the hardest difficulty; you'll rarely lose much progress. If you're looking for a truly challenging experience, you can play Arcade mode from the Extras menu which is basically one credit mode (meaning you'll have to complete the entire game without dying) so patience and persistence are the keys to surviving it.
Despite only consisting of seven levels and relying on players replaying them multiple times, I never got bored with Bleed. The additional enemies and increased challenge made each playthrough feel different and the brevity of the levels helped to constantly provide a sense of progression. Of course, the smooth controls and exciting 2D shooting action didn't hurt either.
- + Smooth platforming and shooting controls
- + Great boss battles
- + Short levels mean that replaying them doesn't feel like a chore
- - Only seven short levels
- - Not a ton of unique content
- - Unlockable weapons usually aren't very useful