Just over a year ago, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night arrived on the Nintendo Switch. I played and finished the game then, re-living my past Castlevania-style glory all over again. The Switch port suffered from a few frame rate issues and frequent crashes during my playthrough. After finishing the game, I put it away and almost forgot about it … until the lockdowns hit. During lockdown, I revisited the Switch version of the game and — despite a few chores that bog the game down — had a fun experience exploring the castle with Miriam, collecting shards and completing all the quests. Most of the problems appear to be patched, although the Tower of Twin Dragons still suffers from frame rate issues. I also played it on Switch Lite this time around, which may have improved the experience. It was fun, but the unlocking everything is just tedious after awhile. Sometimes you just want to kill monsters in a Gothic setting.
Anyway, it’ll likely be awhile before I play it again. The reason I picked it up this time was so I could access “Zangetsu Mode” — the secondary mode of the game that allows you to play as one of the other main characters. I have yet to complete Zangetsu mode. The novelty of playing with Zangetsu rapidly wanes and the lack of a story renders it an exercise in repetition with little variety. My enthusiasm for Bloodstained dramatically wears off the further we get from the game’s release.
The other mode that came out recently was the “Randomizer” mode. It’s interesting, to say the least, and freshens up the game experience more than Zangetsu mode. I haven’t spent much time with it, but my random game gave me the “Accelerator” shard as a drop from the little octopus guys on the ship. Having super-speed at the beginning of the game is loads of fun.
Zangetsu mode was fun until the novelty of playing as a different character wore off. If the developers had created a separate path or version of the experience for him rather than a straight ahead replay sans additional characters and cutscenes, I would have enjoyed it more. Despite that, there’s no denying that playing as Zangestu can be fun — especially when you can utterly decimate bosses like Gebel basically right after you start playing—and the speed combined with some cool moves give Zangetsu great potential. Hopefully a future update will expand his mode to render it less bland.
The Bloodstained madness doesn’t stop there, either. The developers are still adding new types of content to the game over the next few months, tentatively laid out on the official Bloodstained website. There’s going to be another playable character, a boss revenge mode, a classic mode, and more. It should be interesting to see what the future holds for the game.
The latest of these is a sequel to the 8-bit Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, due to be released for Nintendo Switch on July 10. It’ll be similar to the the first game, maintaining the 8-bit aesthetic and style. Per Nintendo, the game is all about Zangetsu:
Players take control of Zangetsu, a swordsman from the far east who bears a deep grudge against demonkind and the alchemists who summoned them. Zangetsu must battle his way to the demonic stronghold, but he doesn’t have to do it alone! Zangetsu can ally himself with a brand new cast of characters he meets along the way and add them to the playable roster.
Are you looking forward to the sequel? Do you still care about Bloodstained? We’re planning to check this one out, mostly for the 8-bit style and the opportunity to play as Zangestu in a capacity where he actually gets his own story.