Within the Blade – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Platformer
Developer: Ametist Studio
Publisher: Ametist Studio, Ratalaika Games
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Within the Blade – Review

Site Score
Good: Concept, Fairly expansive on paper
Bad: Lacking in execution, Actual game-breaking bugs, Controls
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Retro-inspired games, with the proper amount of polish, still do great in our current modern gaming landscape. We even see sequels of old franchises being released, classics being remastered, and some new indie entries arrive on the center stage. Nonetheless, not every game hits that nostalgia-infused sweet spot, as was the case with the Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX. Now, we cloak ourselves in darkness, preparing to cut off limbs in Within the Blade on PS5. While the game has a lot of interesting ideas, we found ourselves extremely annoyed with the game’s overall control scheme and certain gameplay elements.


We go back to the 16th century for this one; when the last shogunate has lost its full control over Japan. This loss of power eventually resulted in many different clans waging war with one another. One of these clans eventually resorts to using the occult to gain more power. When under the influence of an evil spirit, the Steel Claw clan is not simply waging war anymore, but actually massacring everyone, just because they can. You, a ninja (or shinobi), will have to battle the forces of evil and restore the balance.

Overall, the story presentation is actually quite okay. While the actual dialogues feel a bit light in terms of content, the overall background is nicely set. The occult mixes very well with this old feudal Japan setting and creates a nice blend of retro storytelling in a modernized 2D game.


The graphical style of Within the Blade presents us with a very mixed bag. During occasions in the game, you’ll get treated to very fluid animations, nice sprite-art, and even a rare beautiful backdrop. Other times, you get to plow yourself through very samey level design, while fighting henchmen that have no diversity at all. It feels like they copy-pasted the enemies and then dropped them at random locations, to make said piece of the level feel less empty. The same can be said about the intermission cutscenes, where one panel may look well-crafted, for the next to look as if it was done by the intern who has never done any type of art before. There are many nice elements to be found in the game, but these get alternated with the very obvious crappy-looking ones.


The sound design is fairly okay. The soundtrack suffices for what is going on, and the repetitive sound effects also do their job. As expected, there is no voice acting present in the game, but it could have perhaps spiced things up a bit. Nonetheless, the dialogues in the game are nothing to truly write home about.


Within the Blade is an action platformer, that relies heavily on combat, utilizing different weapons, tools, and stealth. We can immediately start by telling you the stealth portion of the game is absolutely rubbish, and if you miss the objective of not being detected, don’t worry too much, it was a complete struggle for us too. That aspect of the game aside, and even though we are giving this one a bit of a mediocre score, the foundation the game has is actually quite good. The overall concept of playing through fairly short levels, hacking enemies to bits, while having fairly rewarding boss battles at certain points, is actually quite good. After each level, you can opt to continue or return to town, and do some skill-unlocking, some item management, and so on. So far, most of this formula is fairly decent.

The game’s biggest problem, outside of its repetitiveness, is how it actually plays. The controls do not feel intuitive and sometimes are frustratingly unresponsive. Combine this with poor hitboxes, and you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of a blade or arrow plenty of times. Smoothing out the kinks in this department alone would immediately propel the quality of this title forward. More than often we found ourselves struggling with wall-running, or swapping weapons, or even just accurately pulling off jumps. Plenty of times you’ll find yourselves being hit by enemies, while your hit doesn’t register because you are apparently too close. We even encountered bugs where assassinations would not trigger for unknown reasons.


Within the Blade is one of those action platformers that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. The gameplay encourages stealth and other sneaky combat maneuvers, while never truly fleshing out said mechanics. It wants you to be a silent assassin but then dumps you in levels that have hordes of enemies. It then throws you in fast-paced boss battles, to return to your quiet village, to train, do some crafting and inventory management (which comes with no explanation), to just continue playing identical levels, over and over again. At its core, it’s a good concept, but it just lacks execution and a proper direction. With some polish, this one could be great, but for now, it ends up being swallowed up whole by the rest of the mediocre action platformers out there.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Within the Blade - Review, 1.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Aspiring ninja.

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