I was on the fence about Blasphemous because of the massive amount of games coming out this fall. However when my cousin, who recently beat Hollow Knight and is new to gaming, messaged me and said “get Blasphemous right now it’s amazing” I listened and picked it up on Switch. She was fucking right.
The game perfectly combines its story, game play, and themes. Blasphemous exposes all the sick, twisted, repulsive centuries of Christian repression and oppression in beautiful art. The pain you dish out, and suffer, in the game is a purposeful, but minuscule, reflection of the violence inflicted on the world by Christian leaders for the last 2000 years. The game itself truly is blasphemous.
Blasphemous is, essentially, a Souls-like metroidvania. What that really means is there is an absolutely stunning darkly religious world to explore where every fight is meaningful, and dangerous. Despite the game being very challenging I do not find it overly hard or annoying. I think it’s generally easier than Hollow Knight to use an simplistic comparison. Once you get the hang of the monsters and your skills it becomes easier and more fluid to get around, to the point where you almost feel like you’re dancing through the game with your sword. Your sword flourishes will feel like you’re painting a macabre image with the gore of your opponents.
The game is, however, VERY open and it’s easy to quickly enter a hard area without realizing you are very ill-prepared. The only time I got frustrated was early on, when I was getting utterly destroyed by a boss that was a floating head with hands. I tried killing it for almost an hour until it finally occurred to me that maybe I just got too far ahead - it was the first boss I came upon. I went back, explored several new areas, then returned and beat the boss quickly with many more skills and more than double the health.
I’m about 10 hours into Blasphemous and I don’t know how much I have left. It’s not TOO much, but what a blessing (heh hehhhh) this game is. The music and the art are consistently incredible. The writing and cut scenes are brilliantly put together. The gameplay is smooth and forces you to always consider your next move. It’s extremely enjoyable to play and rarely frustrating once you understand it. I mostly just laugh when I die. I’ve read complaints about it being too non-linear or too difficult but I actually felt the design choices around that made the game more unique and enjoyable and I’ve yet to tire of of dashing my sword through enemies as I explore deeper into the game.
In America where I live Christian dogma has always been a problem and is on the rise again. The vice president would be happy, I’m sure, in a world like Blasphemous. Like many religions, starting from a base point of humans being inherently sinful or wrong, our basic desires and instincts being somehow evil, will always lead to cruelty and suffering. Blasphemous goes a long way in playing with these ideas. Devoutly serious, the game (thus far at least, I still have some left!) never strays from its fevered obsession. It’s simultaneously a gloriously fun acknowledgment of the twisted psychology of Christianity and a reminder of how absolutely insane and scary religion can be. I am loving every second of it.
Do not suffer the guilt of having not played it. Make your penance and buy it today.