Unleashing Laika: A Unique Blend of Excitebike and Castlevania
The concept of combining Excitebike and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night seemed unlikely, but that’s exactly what Laika: Aged Through Blood offers. Dubbed a “motorvania,” this game offers both side-scrolling exploration and a dark twist on the racing mechanics of Uniracers.
During Steam Next Fest, a demo of Laika was released, allowing players to experience this unholy union firsthand. With over an hour of gameplay, the demo offers a substantial taste of what the game has to offer.
A Dark and Apocalyptic Adventure
In Laika: Aged Through Blood, players take on the role of Laika, a dog-powered dirtbike. From the start, the game sets a grim tone, with Laika’s companion, Poochie, brutally killed and crucified with his own entrails. This game combines elements of Redwall and the original Mad Max, with its wasteland aesthetics and animal protagonists.
The story unfolds slowly, leaving players with many unanswered questions. While the narrative eventually reveals itself, it can be overwhelming to grasp all the information while learning the intricacies of dirtbiking.
Master the Art of Motorcycling
Comparisons to Excitebike are fitting, but Laika shares more in common with games like Joe Danger and Uniracers. Players must constantly adjust their bike’s orientation mid-air to achieve the best possible landing. However, Laika adds a unique twist by allowing players to perform full backflips to reload their pistol and use their bike as a shield against incoming bullets.
Despite being a side-scrolling game, Laika presents a steep learning curve. Switching to aiming mode triggers slow motion, providing players with a chance to strategically choose their targets. The controls can be challenging to master, but the game’s depth and skill requirements add to its appeal.
One notable aspect of Laika is the demanding nature of the controls. The majority of the game is spent on the bike, which can be mentally taxing. Playing the hour-long demo alone felt exhausting, raising concerns about the full game’s runtime. Taking breaks may be necessary to avoid fatigue, hindering the overall experience.
A World of Desolation and Mystery
Despite the control challenges, Laika: Aged Through Blood showcases impressive level design. However, it remains to be seen if the game can provide enough variety to sustain its intended runtime. The inclusion of animated cutscenes and intriguing characters adds depth and interest to the overall experience.
Supporting the game’s atmosphere is the melancholic soundtrack by Beícoli, the in-house composer for Brainwash Gang. Her music perfectly complements the game’s tone and sets the mood for this desolate world. Fans of atmospheric music will find themselves immersed in the game’s unique soundtrack.
Despite the challenges faced during the demo, Laika: Aged Through Blood has captured my attention. The vision of Brainwash Gang and the game’s overall production quality are commendable. While many questions remain unanswered, I eagerly anticipate future updates and the release of the full game. Based on the high level of polish in the demo, it appears that players won’t have to wait until the end of the world to experience Laika.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.