Hot Blood – PS5 Review

Hot Blood is a 3rd person brawler from a developer called DEKLAZON and it comes to us from the ever-prolific eastasiasoft.  And, as a bit of surprise, this isn’t a 2D effort either.  Instead it taps into a low-poly PS1 sort of aesthetic but with a smooth, not jagged look.  A weird mix of retro and modern.

The game itself has some clear reference points.  Take the protagonist from Chainsaw Lollipop (a young girl with a penchant for shopping and a boyfriend that needs rescuing), the setting from Dead Rising (a shopping mall full of zombies) and the combat and feel of Fighting Force.  That’s one hell of a trio to be inspired by and while this budget effort doesn’t quite live up to that, there’s still some enjoyment to be had.

You start off on the top floor of a shopping mall and have to kick and punch your way through thirty ‘stages’ which are, for the most part, just shops in the mall (as well as some outdoor areas).  You’ll walk into a unit, kill all the zombies in there and move on.  There’s not much to the combat; you kick, you punch, you occasionally sprint and you can pick up items to use as weapons.  But fighting the zombies is reasonably fun, even if half the battle is with the camera because of the small spaces that you fight in.

The items you can use aren’t quite as well-implemented as they were in Dead Rising.  Invariably, you either throw things or use them as melee weapons.  There’s a gun and a pretty useful chainsaw, but they’re pretty rare.  You’re not at the mercy of the weapons though as the game is reasonably easy and if you die you just restart at the end of the last finished shop.  You’ll also pick up sodas which can refill your health.  We ended up with like twenty of those so healing up wasn’t a big issue, although we did certainly get killed a few times.

The difficulty only really ramps up if you get a special zombie to deal with.  Larger ones will definitely cause you some problems (although using the sweep kick will help) and there are some that throw things at you and they can cause problems just because of how tricky it can be to get to them.  Around the middle of the game things were definitely as hard as the game gets and we enjoyed the challenge of getting through those stages.

Oddly, the game’s challenge then drops off a cliff.  The last few stages are set in a small set of shops where you might only get two or three enemies.  It’s such light work that it just leaves you entirely puzzled.  Stage 30 was maybe the easiest of the last twenty.  How strange.  By the way, at this point you’ll pretty much have the Platinum but there are a few more minutes of gameplay when you go into a subterranean section.  This was also pretty easy though thanks to a few handy swords that you’ll be able to pick up.

So, yeah, the difficulty curve is way off, the action is a bit clumsy and the camera isn’t brilliant but we enjoyed Hot Blood more than we expected.  It’s pretty much dumb fun but it was enjoyable for as long as it lasted.  It’s also helped by the deeply colourful visuals which are full of vibrant, garish tones and blood splatters.  It won’t be winning any awards but there’s something fun about the whole presentation.  We could live with out the whole ‘dress up’ thing (that lets you buy colourful outfits for the main character) but it all adds to the silliness.

As far as the usual budget efforts go, it’s good to see a developer go for an era a bit beyond the usual 8 or 16 bit stylings and the game, while short, feels a bit more fleshed out than some efforts.  You’ll still pretty much be able to complete the game in one sitting though but this isn’t the usual twenty minute Platinum.  And while we’re not quite ready to recommend this fully, if it does end up installed on your PS5, it’s not the worst time you can have.

Hot Blood
6 Overall
+ Vivid visual style
+ Quite enjoyable to play through
+ We enjoyed the setting
- Beatable in a couple of hours
- You might be fighting the camera a bit
- Weird difficulty curve
This is a fun little mash up of ideas from Lollipop Chainsaw, Dead Rising and Fighting Force and while it doesn't live up to those heights, as far as budget games go this is a pretty enjoyable one.

About Richie

Rich is the editor of PlayStation Country. He likes his games lemony and low-budget with a lot of charm. This isn't his photo. That'll be Rik Mayall.

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