Broken Blades – Review
Follow Genre: Roguelike, platformer
Developer: Golden Eggs Studio
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Broken Blades – Review

Site Score
Good: Great enemy designs
Bad: Noticeable input lag
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)

It’s been a while since we last took a look at a title from Ultimate Games’ ever-expanding library of Switch games, so a look at a new title from the Polish publisher was well overdue. Enter Broken Blades, a 2D roguelike platformer from Golden Eggs Studio, which already saw its release on Steam last year and now challenges fans of the genre on the Switch. Given Ultimate Games’ track record, the chances of the game being a masterpiece are slim, but they’ve surprised us in the past, so is this port worth picking up, or is it -pun intended- broken?


Broken Blades doesn’t waste any time with delivering a story, instead dropping the player straight into the action. Not that it matters, as the basic premise is simple enough: as the Viking-helmeted protagonist, you are dropped in a dungeon and you need to fight your way out. Any attempt to give some depth to our hero is done through short sentences that display his inner monologue. These are often crude and contain swear words, probably in a failed attempt to come across as edgy.


We were a fan of the crisp art style, which reminded us of old-school Flash games of the early 2000s, albeit more polished. The end result is still somewhat of a mixed bag, however. With good lighting effects and fantastic enemy designs, Broken Blades’ graphics are clearly the game’s highlight, although the main character design itself felt bland and uninspired. His facial expression never changes to match the on-screen action. Additionally, his animations aren’t all that good, with only very limited character movement. While jumping, his legs make it appear like he’s hovering in mid-air, for example. That said, the game’s visuals aren’t too taxing, with no noticeable frame drops or other performance issues -which makes our main gripe with the game all the more baffling, as you’ll find out later on in the gameplay section of this review.


Although Broken Blades’ OST does what it needs to do, it’s also very repetitive. Given that the game is already frustratingly difficult -by design, we might add-, hearing the same tune over and over again doesn’t really help with keeping your head cool to deal with the insane challenge of clearing the dungeon you find yourself in. We ended up turning the music off after roughly 20 minutes of playing, and we didn’t feel like we were missing out on a lot of the experience after we did.


Before we delve into Broken Blades’ gameplay in detail, let us preface things by stating that this game isn’t going to be for everyone, regardless of what platform you play it on. The roguelike 2D title presented here is aimed at the hardcore audience that revels in brutally difficult gameplay, so if you prefer games that feel fair and balanced, then this isn’t going to be your title. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this approach, as there are dozens of games that revel in stacking the odds against the players, such as Dark Souls, which is so challenging that ‘Souls-like difficulty’ has become a trope. However, the difference between Broken Blades and something like Dark Souls is that the frustrating difficulty level in the latter is by design, rather than from a severe lack of polish.

On paper, it all sounds fantastic, albeit unoriginal. Broken Blades’ roguelike platformer gameplay features procedurally generated dungeons as well as craftable equipment, meaning no two playthroughs are the same. The game feels very Metroidvania-esque as you search dungeons for upgrades, materials, and gold, all while dealing with a wide array of monsters and traps. Eventually, you’ll reach the dungeon’s boss and face them in a ridiculously difficult one-on-one battle.

One of the game’s few highlights lies in the way you improve your character. Random upgrade scrolls, which are dotted around the dungeon, allow you to increase your own stats. Meanwhile, sword shards can be used to improve your weapon. You start out with a tiny sword, but as you gather more shards, you can end up with a massive tool of destruction. The downside is that the bigger your weapon is, the heavier it becomes, meaning your attacks become slower. You’ll need to find the right balance between dishing out damage and being able to react to incoming attacks quickly enough.

The game offers two difficulty modes, and although one of them is labeled “Easy”, that’s a bit of a misnomer, as both modes are frustratingly difficult. Should you take on Broken Blades, you’ll die a lot -although thankfully, some of your upgrades are permanent, even post mortem. Given that the dungeons are randomly generated, it’s not simply a matter of trial and error as you figure out the locations of enemies and traps either. Enemies telegraph their attacks, so you’ll figure out their patterns eventually and learn how to dodge these properly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get screwed over by random enemy placement. Should you decide to simply run past an enemy -which you can do as you don’t take damage from simply touching them- then said enemy will start to chase you, so your best bet is to simply brute force your way through a dungeon, slaying everything in sight.

All these elements sound great in theory, especially if you happen to be a part of the game’s target audience, but there is an issue present here that is so glaring that it renders the game all but unplayable: There is a noticeable input lag present. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue had Broken Blades been any other genre, but in a game that relies on quick reflexes, it quickly turns into an exercise of frustration. We’re not sure if this is an issue exclusive to the Switch port -your mileage may vary on the PC version- but we tried several different controllers and the game never felt satisfying. If you keep pushing forward, you might end up figuring out the right timing for the input lag, but for most players, this is something that will completely ruin the experience. It seems like this is something that might be able to be patched out, but given Ultimate Games’ track record, we don’t have any hope of that happening.


Based on the low price point and the gameplay description, which sounds great in theory, you’d think that Broken Blades would be an easy title to recommend, but unfortunately, the Switch version suffers so much from input lag that we’re going to advise you to stay far away from this one. Your mileage may vary on other platforms, although it’s still going to be a tough recommendation when there are so many other games that do pretty much the same thing as Broken Blades, only better.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Broken Blades - Review, 6.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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