Blightbound is a new three-player dungeon crawler from indie developers, Ronimo Games, that is now available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. For the purposes of this review, I played it on PC via Steam. There are three hero classes available with several characters in each that are available to be unlocked as you progress through the game. When you first start the game, you have three class choices: Marlborys a Heavy Tank, Scarlet an Assassin and Korrus the Mage. For my first play I chose Korrus. I also chose to use Keyboard and Mouse for my playthrough.
One thing was clear when I first started to play Blightbound and that it is one hundred times better when you play with friends. When I tried to play solo, I found it extremely frustrating that I couldn’t control the AI Players. They were sort of just left to their own devices and you had to hope for the best that you could progress through the dungeon. So, I ditched the solo play and enlisted the assistance of some mates to help get me through the game. Right away the gameplay and enjoyability of this game increased ten-fold. The game does have an in-build party chat; however, it is text only with no voice. Thankfully, most gamers nowadays have Discord, and it was easy enough to connect a voice chat whilst we played.
When you select a dungeon, you are given the option to select your character and as mentioned prior, I chose the Mage for my first attempt. As the magical character of the party, you have the ability to cast protective and healing spells to assist your team as you fight your way through the dungeons. Your main attack is also a ranged one. I found this great as you can pre-emptively attack the enemies and hopefully take a few of them out before they reach your party. As for the other characters, the Assassin has an up-close attacking style and can ‘backstab’ that inflicts a higher damage on the enemy. The assassin also has a ranged special ability that can be utilised similarly to the Mage. The Tank is a heavy hitting character with a defensive special attack that turns your character into an oversized enraged monster that can body the hits whilst your other members take out the enemies.
Trying all three of the classes, I found my place as Korrus the Mage. I favour ranged characters in these types of games and Korrus was the perfect fit. However, communication is key when it comes to healing your party as the range of the spell is limited, any character outside of the circumference will miss out on a vital health boost. I did find it a hilarious game of chance at times, watching as your mate decides to run off for the loot just as you trigger a heal. As mentioned before, the AI Bots can’t listen and if it is frustrating when your friends don’t, just picture how infuriating it is trying to gather two bots into a circle to heal them. It’s just not worth the stress.
Loot you say? Yes loot, lots of loot! I love the satisfaction of knocking out an opponent or cracking open barrels to find loot. The most common are Aetheri Sparks or best described as ‘gold’. At times you may find yourself a trinket or weapon that can be used to increase the abilities of your chosen character. However, one major flaw of the loot system is that the items collected are random and are not tied to the class you are currently playing. So, like me, if your chosen class is the Mage, a Poison Dagger is going to be of no use to you. Yes, it does add it to your global inventory if you wanted to swap characters later. And yes, eventually you can unlock a merchant and can sell the item for more Sparks. However, it would be fantastic if I could drop the item on the ground and have my Assassin comrade pick up the item as they can actually use it. The loot system does need some tweaking and I have already made comments to the developers in their Discord about it. Hopefully we will see a change or improvement in future updates.
There is much more to Blightbound than just hacking and slashing your way through the dungeons. As you progress and increase your characters’ Prosperity Level, you can unlock different parts of the game; from a Quartermaster at Level 1 to a Blacksmith at Level 7 that offers the ability to forge new items from collected loot. Blightbound has so much to offer and has you striving to grind through more and more to increase those levels to unlock cool features. Personally, I am currently up to level 9 after two sessions with friends. However, for a newbie, it can be hard to progress as it seems nothing unlocks until you pass your first dungeon.
In my last session prior to writing this review, I played with two friends that have not played it before. One of which was able to increase their levels, the other was seemingly stuck on level one and couldn’t progress. We unfortunately didn’t pass a dungeon that session and we each noticed a bunch of different glitches that hindered our gameplay. One player had a disconnection at the same part of a dungeon twice in a row. In saying this, these issues didn’t prevent us from wanting to just up and quit. The gameplay of Blightbound is inherently fun and frustrating at the same time. We were so close to completing a dungeon at one point and got KO’d in the dying moments, but we picked ourselves up, switched around some items and dove back in. That right there is a testament to how the game is built. Although there are definitely some flaws that need fixing, at its core, Blightbound is a hell of a lot of fun.
Overall, Blightbound has the potential to be a very great game provided they make some changes and updates, ie. the ability to swap and drop collected loot. If they developers are concerned of high-level players dropping powerful items to low levels, they could easily add in a level restriction to the items. The second recommendation is for the single player mode. While you can select your main class before starting, the bots kind of just run around doing their own thing. It would be fantastic if you could switch to another party member as you play. As for the game crashes, I am a little surprised this was occurring as the game has been in Open Beta since July 2020 and these issues shouldn’t be occurring now that the game is officially released, and it happened to my comrades several times during a single session. Another suggestion would be to allow a filter for your inventory. As addressed earlier, items are restricted to the class and as you collect lots of loot, it can be confusing as to which item can be used with which hero. A simple class filter would solve this.
There are issues with Blightbound, however despite this, the gameplay for me outweighed these and I can definitely see myself playing it more. I had forgotten how much fun these sorts of games can be with friends. Just chilling in voice chat, collecting loot and smashing bad guys together is a hell of a good time. And with Blightbound offering the same levels to you with random difficulties, the gameplay possibilities are endless.
Blightbound is available now on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. I did try to use the controller and it wasn’t as intuitive as the keyboard and mouse, so my recommendation is to grab it on PC.
A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.