If you’re looking for a game that makes time go by very fast or a game to simply pass some time, let me introduce you to Crossbow: Bloodnight by developer/publisher Hyperstrange. Crossbow is a simple arena shooter where you try to stay alive for as long as possible. The dev describes the game as ‘frantic score-attack arena shooter set in a world of camp horror and gore’ and honestly, it’s the perfect description. It’s often described as a sequel to Devil Daggers (which it isn’t, to be clear), since it runs on the same principles, but with better graphics. I haven’t played that game myself, so I will not be comparing the two any further. With that being said, let’s dive in!
What we liked!
- Easy to play, hard to master: This game is very, very easy to play, which is a real asset here. It’s so simple, yet elegant. Of course, you can move around with your WASD keys (or using a controller, but I do feel like the keyboard and mouse work really well here too). You can also perform jumps and dashes, which I sometimes even forgot to use because of the tension in this game. Now, even though it’s really easy to get the hang of how to play this game, it’s not as easy to progress. Your goal is to stay alive for as long as possible and your time is always measured in seconds. However, staying alive isn’t as easy as you’d think, and it took a while to survive past like 25 seconds, and even then, I didn’t get much further. After playing for a few hours, the best time I got was 49 seconds. The combination of easy to play and hard to master manages to make this game quite thrilling and addictive. Even I, someone who sucked really had at this game, had a total blast.
- Enemies: There is a variety of enemies/monsters you’ll be defeating, or at least try to defeat. These come in waves, and of course, bosses are included. There’s a total of six enemy types, that come in two variants. There are your basic zombies that are easily killed with one simple shot, but there are also more challenging opponents to take out, like werewolves and weird blob-like monsters that seem to sort of vomit bats. I enjoyed the enemies because they are not too basic and actually looked quite good.
- Price: I was surprised to see this game only costs a little over € 2 (or $2.99). It’s quite an addictive arena shooter where you’ll spend hours trying to beat your top score without realizing how much time has passed. Add to this that the gameplay is so easy to learn, but very difficult to master, as I mentioned above, and you just have a killer game. Yes, it’s a simple game, but well-executed and just really fun to play. I feel like the dev could have charged double the price, and it would still be worth it.
- Repetitive: Since you die a lot, you’ll have to replay the same part quite a lot. This kind of helps you to get further in the game, but it can also start feeling repetitive when you have to replay the start of the game for the hundredth time. You see, the arena setting isn’t randomized and enemies appear on the same spot every time. Since so far, I barely advanced, I read around a little to see if this was the case for the entire game. Apparently, after a good 2 minutes, spawns are more randomized, adding more challenge to this already challenging game. I feel like this is also really nice, but it increases the chance of you running into an enemy spawn, and you guessed it, you’ll have to start all over again. This (un)randomized spawning isn’t the worst thing, in my opinion, but I do feel like I had to share this!
- Story: Let me start by introducing the story here. In the year 1139, the Second Council of the Lateran convened by Pope Innocent II has banned the use of a crossbow. The council saw its unstoppable power as demonic by nature. The Coven of Crossbow, an ancient order of hunters sworn to guard the balance between the forces of heaven and hell prevailed against all odds. In the year 1666, as fire and plague ravage London, the Coven is facing its greatest challenge yet. The Ancient Horror from Beyond makes its way towards our reality. In its wake, legions of nightmare creatures spawn in the darkness. The Bloodnight is upon us, let the hunt begin! So, Crossbow has a story, but it feels like it has one just for the sake of having one. Both the Steam description and the beginning of the game tell you the story, but other than this, there’s not much being done with it. The story definitely isn’t the main focus here. I don’t really mind though, because you’ll be too focused on killing those damn enemies and trying to stay alive for as long as possible. I just don’t really like having a story JUST to have one in a game.
What we disliked
- Crossbow: Bloodnight doesn’t have anything that’s really wrong with it. Kudos to Hyperstrange!
Crossbow: Bloodnight is an insanely fun game. It’s ‘easy to play, hard to master’ principle makes it addictive, and the various enemies keep things interesting. Even if you are not good at this game, you’ll enjoy it! Continuously trying to beat your own score, and ranking better on the leaderboard, is so much fun. Some people might find this game repetitive at times, but compared to the thrill it brings, this is negligible. Crossbow: Bloodnight is priced at such a low price, I suggest you go give it a try, and prepare for hours of fun!
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂