Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is finally with us, and what a wait it has been. The game was crowdfunded back in 2015 and endured a major delay last year, but it's finally in our hands and on our Switches. While Nintendo fans have unquestionably been given the worst version of the game (hopefully that will change a little soon), Bloodstained is still packed with enough Koji Igarashi magic to be worth a look.
Given that the game has been out for almost a week, we feel it's safe to talk about one of its coolest features – but before we proceed...
This is your final warning: major spoilers for both Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Bloodstained are featured below, so please read at you own risk!
With that said, here's another piece of amazing Mana Ikeda Bloodstained artwork, and we'll continue after the break.
Still with us? Then we can assume you've finished both games and are ready to discuss one of the coolest features of Igarashi's latest Metroidvania epic.
Remember in Symphony of the Night, when the final battle with a possessed Richter seemed to spell the end of the game? As we all know, this was merely a bluff; killing Richter would give you the bad ending and leave around half of the game still undiscovered. That's because Symphony of the Night quite literally flipped things over by giving you a 'reverse' or 'inverted' castle to explore, effectively doubling the size of the game.
A similar trick is played in Bloodstained; should you slay Gebel in the Hall of Termination, then you'll get the 'bad' ending and a lot of the fortress will remain unseen. Instead, you need to resist the urge to end Gebel's tyranny and explore other parts of the castle to find the items needed to gain the game's true ending.
One of those items is the 'Invert' shard, which is Igarashi's way of paying tribute to the amazing inverted castle seen in Symphony of the Night. However, the really cool thing about this shard is that instead of taking you to an alternate version of the fortress, it allows you to alter gravity itself and flip the screen 180-degrees; all enemies and items continue to behave as normal, but Miriam's gravity is reversed.
So, instead of having a separate version of the building, you're exploring the same building upside down. This is a trick that wouldn't be difficult to perform on the PlayStation back in 1997, but in a 2.5D game in 2019 – where the entire environment is 3D – it's a piece of cake.
It's only natural that Igarashi would include references to his previous work in Bloodstained – in fact, the game is packed with them – but this one really did make us smile when we first saw it. Let us know your thoughts with a comment below.