Dripping with gruesome style, Blasphemous makes a great first impression. Its intricate combat animations, fervent dedication to twisted religious iconography, and an unassuming hero who habitually slams vials of blood against his metal capirote-style helmet, are undeniably awesome, but style doesn’t always beget substance. As yet another Metroidvania with a Dark Souls bent, Blasphemous is an enjoyable descent into a pitiless world partially marred by some cumbersome mechanics and tedium.
With a title like Blasphemous, it’s no surprise that everything is marked with callous religious iconography. Unsettling cathedrals, shrieking nuns, rosary beads, and thorns — Blasphemous uses Christianity as its foundation for a world blanketed in chaos. Your silent hero (known as the Penitent One) is tasked with achieving the Cradle of Affliction, a penance that takes him to the Mother of Mothers. If that all sounds weirdly esoteric, that’s because Blasphemous thrives on being cryptic. The writing borders on pretension, a series of riddle-like instructions delivered by a character named Deogracias, the witness to the Grievous Miracle.