Bloodroots is a riot. It's a game where you can murder people with carrots; where a man dressed as a big pig tries to evaporate you with a raygun from his flying car. That's all in the first hour, and it whips ass.
Bloodroots is an action game done from a top-down perspective. With a few simple controls, you race and fly around levels, trying to scavenge literally anything to bludgeon enemies with before they can bludgeon you in a fast-paced molotov of death. If you die, you're sent back to the start of the level to try it all again. Think the knife fight in John Wick 3, where warriors are grabbing antique weapons and objects out of displays to hurl at one another.
It's fast-paced action with precision planning. For the best scores and chained combo kills, you need to strategically memorize the whereabouts of every weapon and enemy in the level, so you can bash someone with an oar, hurl a table at someone else, and pick up a rifle just in time to blast another enemy bearing down on you. It's Hotline Miami in the wild frontier.
It's the boss fights of Bloodroots where the adrenaline really gets pumping. They throw everything out of whack. Bloodroots takes away the element of planning and makes you rapidly react to emerging enemies, sending everything at you in a test of skills you've learned so far. The man dressed as a big pig I mentioned earlier isn't your average encounter in Bloodroots: he's the debut boss of the violent saga, the first step in our nameless protagonist getting his ultimate revenge on those that burned his home to the ground.
For this showdown with Mr. Pig, Bloodroots morphs into something akin to an endless runner. You need to keep pace ahead of an encroaching wall of death while brutally hacking your way through enemies that are spawning onto the scrolling map ahead of you.
The entire "run" breaks up into a few hectic stages. First, you need to jump on top of barrels, one of Bloodroots' signature methods of murder, and run over enemies that are spawned strategically by Mr. Pig ahead of you. Each barrel has a finite amount of "lives," three to be exact, so you can only afford to run over three enemies before you need to transfer to another barrel and stay one step ahead of the wall of death behind you.
Additionally, your barrel will break should it collide with any of the wooden fences on the track. This entire first stage of the boss fight is a brutal and adrenaline-soaked action sequence, where you constantly need to be looking ahead to where enemies are spawning and barrels are waiting, while also keeping an eye on circumventing the fences and enemies immediately to your north.
The second stage of the fight doesn't let up either. After you've hacked down an entire tree to ascend to a new physical level of the endless runner segment, you need to bound across several more barrels... that run over steel spikes. Before, if you missed one barrel you could potentially recover if you sprinted to the next one, this time if you miss a barrel it's a straight death. It's hard, but never unfair, honing in on the lessons of traversal you should have learned in the previous phase.
Then, chasms form in the ground, dividing the endless runner-like level into three paths. Mr. Pig and his floating vehicle appear at the top of the screen, periodically blasting a laser down each path. The boss fight quickly becomes a rapid platformer, making you recognise and respond to the death lasers raining down from above.
And just when you think it couldn't get any more chaotic, Mr. Pig starts spawning enemies out of thin air. At least the chasms have disappeared, but this time there's swordsmen and rifle infantry being dropped on the map with orders to shoot you on sight. Thankfully there's a breadcrumb trail of rifles and sabres that you can collect on your way to each minion in the boss encounter, and it's handy that Bloodroots gives you little directional hints like this.
Mr. Pig takes the standard video game "rule of three hits" to bring down. Once you've stabbed, bludgeoned, or beaten him with any manner of weapon three times, he'll come crashing down to earth, where you can pick up his laser gun, and evaporate him in one fell swoop. It's one hell of a frenetic note for Bloodroots' opening chapter to end on, and I realized after beating him that I hadn't breathed for most of the past minute.
In the standard Bloodroots scenario, there's time to think and plan ahead. When you spawn back at the beginning of a level after meeting a demise, there's time to think about what went wrong last time, and plan ahead for this next run. There's time to process which weapon or object you need to grab, which enemy you need to dispatch when, and so on. Bloodroots' boss fights take away this element of planning and put you into full 'fight and flight' mode.
Bloodroots' boss fights are the high point of the entire game. They're ultra-violent action sequences matched only by the pace you're forced to go at to stay one step ahead of death. The best boss fights take everything you've learned so far and bring it all together into one mega-fight, and Bloodroots' bosses do that exquisitely.