Blasphemous might be 2019’s gnarliest video game. Its odds are certainly up there.
Drawing direct inspiration from the usual suspects like Dark Souls and Castlevania – the series, I mean, not just Symphony of the Night – Blasphemous crafts a bleak world dominated by a sinister, all-encompassing religious fervor. Themes of sinners, saints, and sorrow touch every facet of this game, from iconography and prose to enemy designs and set-pieces to characters and their grim tales.
Instead of resting at a bonfire, you’ll seek respite at life-generating prayer desks. Rather than cast magical spells, you’ll wield powerful “prayers.” Ability-boosting items are affixed to a rosary. The list goes on and on, endlessly. It’s not every day we see a video game just go for it like this, and while Blasphemous doesn’t nail the landing across the board, it’s one seriously enthralling metroidvania.