Synthetic Blood Mind Shift – you get what you pay for

There are certain types of gamers.

There are the stubborn, dig your heels in fans who will retry over and over again to keep going, despite having spent half an hour in one spot.

And then there’s people like me, who sadly do not have the willpower to keep jumping into pits over and over again. Not just because of my RSI, but also for the sake of my sanity.

Synthetic Blood Mind Shift reminds me of the games kids used to play on the computers in schools, the ones saved on a memory stick?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s great for those on a budget, with too much time on their hands, and low-end PCs.

Everyone else… not so much.

This game is a side scrolling, action adventure platformer, which sees you cut up enemies and run through levels. You’ll also get the chance to hop between buildings via wall jumps, and try fruitlessly to use some special attacks, occasionally finding an alternate route where you can flip a switch and squish some enemies with a crate.

It’s fairly one-note, which wouldn’t be so bad, if not for the fact the controls are awkward and fiddly.

Thankfully, they are remappable, and it’s far better with a controller because you’re not scrabbling all over the keyboard. However, I wound up with a lot of issues with the game freezing early-on when using the controller, so I struggled on with the keyboard.

There’s a separate button for jump and dash, for example, which would have made much more sense being mapped to the same key with a tap/double-tap. Plus, you can’t remap the attack keys (which are the left/right mouse buttons), so you’re left trying to run forward and frantically mouse over the enemies to attack.

There’s also the fact you die in one hit – and to be fair, enemies do too, so I can’t fault them for that – and since the entire premise of the game is to die over and over again with 100 lives, it does make sense.

However, this does become frustrating, very fast.

I think this is aimed at people who specifically like this kind of thing, because it does get exhausting dying over and over. This isn’t helped by the janky jumping mechanics either; it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t jump-able, and you’ll spend a lot of time trying to scramble up walls.

Considering (on Easy Mode at least) you get booted back to the beginning of the level each time you die, it gets old fast.

This would be bearable if the plot and dialogue saved it, but unfortunately it is not to be.

The game promises “a deep storyline and fascinating binding of dialogues and deaths,” yet the dialogue is poorly translated and at times nonsensical.

The plot is just told to the players in huge amounts of info-dumping, and it’s just not engaging. It’s pretty obvious the game was made on a shoestring budget, but there are better ways to tell your story than horribly on the nose dialogue. The premise of the game shows a lot of promise, and with a higher budget, I think it could be great.

Overall? This game costs £1.95, and you’re getting what you pay for.

If you’ve got a kid to keep quiet on a long trip, or are just particularly stubborn and like this kind of thing, then give it a try!

As for me, I’ll save the £1.95 for a coffee.

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