Hildring Studios: Sacré Bleu *Demo* – Gaming Review

In what was easily the most charming and one of the most fun games I played at PAX AUS 2019, Sacre Bleu is a 2D platformer that was featured in the PAX Rising section (a section at PAX dedicated to digital games created by indie studios) and was honestly one of my favourite games to play during my entire time in Melbourne during the gaming festival.

Set in a Steampunk-style setting of 1650’s Paris, we are introduced to our main character Henry, captain of the Musketeers, who has been accused of false charges and thrown into jail. However, the musketeer armed forces appear to be mysteriously turning into zombies and it’s only up to Henry to escape jail and uncover an evil conspiracy in France.

What I really liked about Sacre Bleu was its charm through its art style. Everything just oozes personality and humour. For example, one of the boss fights in the playable demo at PAX involved a gigantic zombified judge overlooking the player. Holding a giant gavel as its weapon, it would also hurl green vomit towards the player and cause damage. The only way to hurt the boss was activate a lever that pulled down a huge morning star weapon (a medieval club-like weapon with spikes all over) for it to drop on the enemy and swing on its head. Doing so agitates the zombie judge and makes the villain spurt out purple vomit. It gave me a good laugh at the creativity and humorous side to zombie enemies, while feeling like a unique indie game.

From what I could play, the gameplay consists of you escaping jail inside the castle from the bottom and involves you to getting to the top. To do this, you’ll have to make use of your trusty steam-blaster weapon that not only blasts enemies away, but is the main way to get yourself around and up to the top of the castle safely. Using up to three shots of ammo in a row before it runs out and refills once you are on the ground, the steam-blaster allows you to aim where you want to shoot and blast your way around in any direction you like. Doing so can help you proceed further or even find hidden secrets in the castle. I loved this mechanic and was having a blast with it. It became something I needed to master how to use, as the further I traversed up the castle, spikes were prevalent on all the walls and floor. This required you to use the blaster to get yourself around some tight corners to the next ledge without touching the floor or wall. As well as the steam-blaster, you also have a sword and gun to attack enemies with. Attacking enemies with all weapons felt fun and was great to control, including the platforming.

Sacre Bleu was the first Indie game I played at the PAX Rising section (and one of the very first games I played at PAX AUS 2019 in general), and I had an absolute joy spending time with it. I found myself coming back to it and playing the game on all three days throughout the annual gaming festival. It was that fun.

The creator of Sacre Bleu, Stein Loetveit, the owner of Hildring Studio was at PAX to promote Sacre Bleu and it’s clear he is very passionate and humble about his project. Getting to have a quick conversation with him about the development and where he plans to release the game, which I believe is slated for Steam, Windows and Nintendo Switch (I was playing the game on a laptop using an Xbox One controller), while a release date is still to be confirmed, I do believe the game is shaping up to be a great little indie game that lots of people will enjoy.

I am most definitely looking out for this one and keeping an ear out on all future announcements to play the full complete version of Sacre Bleu in the near future. Sacre Bleu is easily one of the highlights of PAX AUS 2019 for me.

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