The classic story of adventure pits the forces of good against evil and will be the standard for centuries to come. It appears once again in Bound By Blades by Zeth. The game follows a trio of warriors with complementary abilities as they quest to save their realm from destruction. The game revolves around boss fights where the character needs to move to the corners while avoiding attacks and continuously fighting back. You can play by yourself or team up with others to diversify your attacks, harvest materials, and eliminate each enemy on the list together. With such a scenario, you may feel duty-bound to finish it or wait for the mobile version in 2023.
In every game about good versus evil, there's a story that goes along with it. In Bound By Blades, it's pretty clear and easy to follow. In the fantasy world of Ashmyr, every species lived in peace. However, this was disrupted by a mysterious power that suddenly emerged across the world. Those who chose to use it found themselves transformed into monstrous creatures called Illcyon. They ravaged the world until a warrior named Eldross was able to endure the power and fight back. He then decided to train a new group of warriors that could also resist called the Bound. Now, you'll have to lead the bound to eliminate the growing Illcyon threat.
To be the best warrior, you need to follow a code of honour, and Bound by Blades gives you a quick way to do that. As far as action RPGs go, this one spends the beginning setting everything up and then throws you into the fray. After you pick your character and class by extension, you can immediately start exploring the clear-cut hub areas. It gives you plenty of time to get familiar with everything and the Illcyon fights are there when you feel ready to take them on.
The actual fights work well for a quick fix of an RPG battle. The enemy is the centre of attention with the surrounding points clearly defined. Instead of worrying about precise movement during chaotic attacks, you can move your character directly to adjacent spots without worrying about getting stuck. Whether you're moving or planted, you'll have access to more of your moves so you can dodge and continue attacking as you move around the enemy. Each target will use different attacks that change how you have to move and alternate abilities to maximise your attacks while avoiding theirs.
This is a very serious scenario that is not always conveyed effectively with stylised visuals. Although Bound by Blades has a fair amount of personality and colour, there are some areas where it falls short. The most obvious is in the visuals, especially in the animation. Each character is on a rigging system but with such chunky body parts, everything feels more like a puppet or paper cutout than an actual creature. It also has an overall flat look, which is particularly noticeable in the environment. None of it really feels alive, which takes away from the experience along with huge blocky text and the occasional grammatical error.
This is definitely a game meant for more players as the single-player experience can feel more like a grind. Enemies become more difficult quite quickly and, if you're by yourself, battles quickly become a test of endurance. Since you're totally reliant on the randomised drop at the end of each fight, there's no guarantee you'll be able to craft or upgrade what you need to give yourself a fighting chance.
Bound by Blades is a 2D action RPG based on boss fights you can take on alone or with others. It takes time to ease you into things just to let you roam free and jump into battles as soon as you want with simple yet effective combat gameplay. The sad thing is that it suffers from lifeless visuals and distracting text as well as significant grinding for solo players who aren't lucky enough to get the right materials. Still, if you're looking for a creed, you could do worse than to be bound by blades.