I spotted blade symphony and new immediately that this game had potential to go far based purely on viewing the video alone, and after getting my hands on the game I can see that this still rings true.

What is Blade Symphony?

Blade symphony is a game made by puny human games, an independant game company who just by reading the disclaimer at the bottom of the page you can see have a sense of humour as obtaining copyright permission to publish this video involved hunting down a custard filled mouse using leg booster, which is no easy task I can inform you.  I however managed to succed and I am glad I took on such an epic quest.

The game itself is a 3d fighting game, sure there are a lot of those about but this is more about skill and execution rather than mashing the buttons to win, as gameplay rewards timing and using the right move to counter the enemy.  And the combat itself can range from 2 – 32 players in one combat arena (correct at time of print, and 16 of these can be AI bots) which could result in some hectic and frantic battles, especially if there happened to be an epic movie hero style mode where one has all the power and everyone piles into him as lesser minions attempting to take him down.

The game stands in an early access format through steam at present, which is a good thing, as currently there is a great deal of polish to the visuals, moves and the game itself.  On top of that early access gameplay means the developers would like to hear from you, anything you feel can be added to make the game better, or suggestions for new move sets, or game modes, they will listen and try to incorporate them into the finished product (provided they fit the game and aren’t just ridiculous or impossible to programme)

Another big feature of the game, apart from the ability to perform skilled close combat fighting is the fact that every aspect is fully customisable, not only with the swords, masks and clothes available in game, but with steam workshop you could create, or choose someone elses creation to have a truly unique character, perhaps fighting with a giant dripping cod whilst wearing a robotic bunny suit like donny darko’s imaginary best friend.  That would be pretty cool, oh and you can also play as a break dancing yakuza

Elements in the level appear to be destructable and interactive, although gates are clear level edges as opposed to somewhere you can bypass so it would be good if there was some way of visibly noticing this like a huge rusted lock of some form, and there are occasional boundry issues where it appears you should be able to traverse the environment but hit an invisible wall but this is early access so this is acceptable but something to polish for the finished product.

How is the Gameplay?

The gameplay is very polished even in this early access state, particle physics and water reflections do not slow down the game even with recording software running, there are a few minor issues of invisible walls and situations where you can find yourself floating in the air if you jump some places on the map, and on one level there is a circular stair case that is just a phantom, but these are minor things you expect in alpha/beta phases of a game.

The game engine itself is based on a 3 tier combat system, where you switch between balanced to either fast or heavy attacks depending on your situation and your opponent to chain together the best combo from a selection of 40+ moves, with special wall running and other abilities available this can make combat difficult to master but rewarding for those who do, and allow combat to be dictated by whoever is the most skilled not whoever picks the player who can chain button mash silly kick move that doesn’t allow you to stand up after you’ve been floored once.

This should allow for a more rewarding and more enjoyable combat experience, and although there isn’t the realism of bushido blade’s cutting of limbs to disable your opponent the gameplay is still focused around realism and allowing true mastery of the blade itself to be the primary gameplay mechanic, it is even in the title itself as achieving the syphony of your blade and your body will allow you to win.

Key Features

  • Steam early access, so the devs can incorporate features to create the best game possible
  • £11.99 Early access price 2 and 4 packs have been mentioned as something the devs would consider (which would come with discounts, and let you get your friends in for some heated battles)
  • Skilled combat, where the weapon choice and timing influences the gameplay result, not the biggest button masher
  • Purely cosmetic unlockables, all moves and weapons are available to begin with so outcomes will result on skill and not who has unlocked the best gear.
  • 5+ characters with 3 fighting stances and over 40 move combinations each.
  • Very Detailed and Varied maps

What would I like to see added?

In its current form bots aren’t present and this would be something to add, and I note that there is a training mode which will allow for people to practise thier game style against a training dummy of some form in order to master combat and timings (maybe some distopian machanoid training dummy that is static but can hit back etc would fit in with the developers humour style)  also if there were easter eggs to see in maps this would be something minor but really cool, bring it to life a little with maybe a custard filled mouse hiding in a corner that if you catch it and kill it explodes in custardy goodness?

I have been thinking before I noticed this game that I would like to see a modern version of battle arena toshinden, bushido blade or another fighting game of this style because they had some particular elements I enjoyed in a gameplay stance that aren’t around today.  So rather than just copying those games or seeing sequels I would suggest those particular features could be added into this easily.

The first feature is the side rolling as seen in battle arena toshinden, sure there is side rolling in this game but its linear to your character, I would like the circle dodge around that takes you slightly closer to the enemy and is a good way of dodging but keeps you in the combat range ready for the next flurry of attacks rather than it taking you out of combat, although both types of roll can remain as a forward side roll could initiate this while a simple side roll is the evasive version to get away, leaving the player questioning which type you are performing adding the the skill ceiling to master

The next feature that would be good in this game would be to add the ability to dash, and also the maps are so detailed and so good it would be nice to see some form of exploration between levels, for example you could escape into a different arena if you run away enough, or you can knock back the enemy through a part of the scenery to go to the next area in a fully traversable multi environment location.

The ability to lay traps would be a very ninja trope, and any additional skills of the sort, they do have the ability to wall run stated, maybe there could be area’s you could hang on the cieling or from the scenery to get the jump on your target.

One very special feature I would think would make this game jump from being a £12 game to a £30-40 premium title is if the single player story had something last sceen in ergheiz or tobal no1 which was the dungeon crawler style fighting game, with the bots and generic enemies to combat on your way down to meet the inevitible finish.  If done right this could make it an immensely brilliant title and something that stands out from the modern fighting game in every aspect.

Challenge features, if there was the ability to challenge a specific player to a duel while in free for all, maybe as a special feature when someone is particularly dominating you to earn respect points or bow out as a forfeit this would be a fitting honour based feature to go with this game, but also in the traditional sense there could be challenge maps where you have to perform specific tasks in order to proceed and earn some extra in game bucks for cosmetic unlocks (and steam achievements)

Okay so how do I get the game?

Blade symphony is available on steam early access for £11.99 at http://store.steampowered.com/app/225600/  I would advise you watch thier video as well to see much more skilled gameplay and moves that I could not perform at my current skill level, and also to see how the game progresses.

I welcome challenges from new players so I can play against some equally unskilled combatants, and we can learn together how to achieve blade syphony.