My eyes darted all across the encampment in front of me. Scanning for something, anything. There! Gliding across the ground as if a speed skater in the finals of the Olympics, I snapped to the spot in an instant, grabbing a hold of the log and firmly smashing it atop the head of the weak-willed foe in front of me. Twisting at the same time I leapt into the air, landing on top of a barrel and rolling it toward a trio of stooges who stood blocking my path, the splatter of blood leaping up as I rolled ever forward, until finally CRACK with a sudden crunch the barrel exploded in a wave of shards and splinters.
Leaping off of it the forward momentum hurtling me forward, I slammed into the body of a large, slightly rotund man sending him flying across the camp. My eyes once again burst open as I looked for anything to grab a hold of as I sprinted and raced across the camp. Leaping, bounding, and murdering my way until finally, as if destined by the gods I grasped my hands on the perfect tool, the perfect device to unleash my sea of revenge. Firmly gripping it I thundered into the air and twirling and spinning like a twister I brought the awful and terrible might of the carrot on the poor defenseless soul, smiting him like I was Zeus descending from the heavens.
Gloriously over the top, goofy and cartoon absurdity at its absolute finest, Blood Roots is a joyously bonkers creation. Created by studio Paper Cult, it is a wonderful mixture of Jackie Chan movies, Samurai Jack, and even something as far away as The Raid in its frantic, frenzied, use everything you can get your hands on fighting style.
Blood Roots is simply put a blast to play. Taking over as the hero, Mr. Wolf, who was betrayed by his enemies and left out to die in the cold harsh winter, your only real task is to blow past every enemy standing in front of you. Grabbing any and every weapon you can lay your hands on you plow through the waves of people, smashing, throwing, and running over your feared foe’s all across the map. Seeking a bloody revenge is your only true task here and Blood Roots revels in it.
Yet, it is in the momentum, the constant unflagging pace of Blood Roots that the game truly does something special. It is almost as if stopping for any single second is a worse crime than not ripping apart the crowds of fodder standing in your way. Blood Roots demands you run, leap, and simply move as quickly and as much as possible. This constant action gives the fighting an unsettled, slightly restless and frenzied nature.
Nothing feels controlled or pre-done in Blood Roots instead everything seems the result of a spontaneous spur of the moment decision by the player. To grab that log, or that barrel, or yes, that carrot. To use a given sword, musket, or even a cannon to wreak havoc and mayhem on those standing in the path of your singular and overriding task, to get revenge.
Blood Roots is a classic kung-fu movie, it is a modern day expertly crafted smash mouth fighting film, it is a hilariously goofy, absurd, off the wall case of something not taking itself too seriously and rolling around within its insanely fun premise. It very clearly and wonderfully pulls from the legacy of a whole host of famous fighting styles and artists, but it is clear that none reigns bigger then the profound legacy of Jackie Chan.
As someone with a deep and unending love of all things Jackie Chan, I was floored by just how much the game made me feel like the legendary martial artist and actor. The constant momentum, energy, and flow of it all perfectly complementing Chan’s own style which of course culminates in the players ability to use anything and everything as a weapon or tool to stop the people they are fighting against. It is a joy to get to experience even a tiny sliver of what it must be like in Jackies shoes, especially minus the numerous broken bones he’s suffered.
Blood Roots is a joyous audio-visual delight. Vibrant colors explode in your face, the camera swings around and slow zooms to the cinematic crack of a ladder on the foes head. The music beats along at a fantastic pace urging you onward. The twirl of brilliant primary colors, beating score, and the cartoony cinematic nature of it all is a treat for the player. There was nothing, not a single thing, I played at Pax West that left a bigger dumb smile on my face. Nothing that audibly left me laughing, screaming, and as animated as Blood Roots. It is a game and an experience that just fills every fiber of you with a joyous childish delight. It is the schoolyard conversations and dreams of life and death fights, ridiculous scenarios, and crazy weapons brought to life in fantastic fashion. I can not wait to sink hour upon hours upon hours into this world. Manically laughing to myself as I use ever more outlandish items to wreck shop, get revenge, and pretend to be five years old and act like Jackie Chan. What a joy.