Thank goodness launch is imminent
We’ve been optimistic about Blasphemous for what feels like years now, and with the end in sight, developer The Game Kitchen has seen fit to release a half-hour-ish PC demo for its bleak, religious action-platformer title. The first thing I wanted to do after clearing the demo was run through it again. That’s not something I can say every day. I’m dying to peel back more layers.
There are a few caveats – the demo will only stick around Steam until September 1, and your progress won’t transfer over to the full game (which is out real soon, on September 10) – but don’t let that put you off. It’s a perfectly-portioned taster. You’ll get a feel for the combat, exploration, character upgrades, lore, and secrets as you poke around non-linear rooms and work your way to the first boss. In other words, you’ll leave the demo knowing whether or not you’re into what the game is going for.
There are more shades of Castlevania than Souls here, and I am a fan. Blasphemous is mechanically familiar, albeit with tweaks and a sense of place all its own. You won’t have to keep an eye on a stamina bar, for instance, and although you will respawn at a bonfire equivalent (a prie-dieu), player death has different consequences (notably, your prayer capabilities become increasingly limited).
My big question mark was never the setting or story, both of which continue to be really intriguing, but more so how everything would feel in-hand. On that front, I’m happy. Blasphemous is methodical, but not overly so. You need to make space for yourself in tight quarters and you’re rewarded for well-timed dashes. There’s enough breathing room to be challenged, but not unfairly overwhelmed. My favorite bit so far? Waiting until just the right moment to parry those candelabra-wielding ghouls.
A word of warning, though: once you beat the boss, you’ll be kicked back to the main menu.
Prior to the demo, Blasphemous was sitting in that vague wait-and-see territory. Now, I’m all in. The game is also coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. I sincerely hope the latter stacks up.