Genre: Repent-em-up | Developer: The Game Kitchen | Year: 2019 | Platform: pc

Such games as these can often feel like mods. You understand me, right? This isn’t a bad thing, some of my favourite games of all time are mods – and I’ve no intention of disparaging the amount of work that pours from every screen of this game – but the nuts-and-bolts design of Souls-Like Search Action (SLSA), whether they feature bugs or bishops, seem to have a mod-like quality to them. Here’s what I mean.

When you die in Blasphemous, you leave a sin fragment. It’s not a bloodstain – you keep all your currency on death. But dying increments a sin counter, which lowers your mana meter and currency gains until you get back to the fragment and recover it.

This isn’t a bloodstain, but it’s a very very specific tweaking of the bloodstain – designed by, and I think designed to appeal to, a very specific type of person who thinks about such things a lot.

It’s these sort of mid-range games, and specifically mods, that often feature this type of very precise incremental design. Does this mechanic have a huge sway on the game? Not really. Is it going to be hugely instrumental to someone’s experience? Probably not. But someone had Bloodstain Opinions, and they have crystallized in this game. And if you’re the type of person who likes to have Bloodstain Opinions, you’ll look at this very specific refinement, and you’ll probably go “ah, that’s sensible, i like that”.