๐Ÿ‘Š Review: Mother Russia Bleeds - Nintendo Switch - "Mother Russia Bleeds is absurdly grim" ๐Ÿ‘Š #PixelArt #IndieGames

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Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: 15 November 2018
Mother Russia Bleeds was originally released on Windows and PS4 in 2016, and it now makes its Switch debut. Deeply familiar in many ways, yet unique in its visual style, atmosphere and setting, it is another minor classic in the Devolver Digital canon.
Set in an alt-‘80s Soviet Union, the plot concerns four street-fighters who are captured by the government for experimental drugs testing. The drug is “Nekro”, capable of causing horrific mutations, super-strength and general unpleasantness. 

You play one of the four (or all four if playing couch co-op), and you escape the laboratory then set about fighting your way through the streets (of rage), via monstrous bosses and hordes of addicts, to finally face the head of government in his ivory tower.

Mother Russia Bleeds is absurdly grim. The world it depicts is one of unrelenting depravity: transient-strewn sidewalks; filthy sewers; doomy sex dungeons. A standard night out in Cardiff, then. Seriously though, this game would give Gaspar Noe nightmares, especially when the Nekro starts triggering intense, hellish hallucinations.
The game’s visual style is strange. It’s pixel art, but not as you know it. This isn’t the chunky, warm, neon-bright look we’re used to in so many retro-styled games. Instead, developer Le Cartel Studio goes for grotesque high detail, with heavily aliased outlines and a dismal faded palette. Meanwhile, the music is Yuzo Koshiro via Autechre, a blend of deep house and dark ambience – and sometimes simple, eerie silence.

The usual progressive brawler moves are here: furious punch combos, flying kicks, dash attacks etc. There are destructible melee weapons to collect, as well as supremely powerful pistols and rifles. Being the game it is, you can also click the stick to perform a taunt, which differs depending on the character. One character may spit at the enemy, while another will defecate in his hand and toss it. Nice.

The game’s main hook concerns Nekro. Your character has three vials in their possession. A tap of the trigger expends one of these vials to return a good chunk of health. Nekro vials can be refilled by syringing it from downed enemies who aren’t quite dead. In multiplayer, the cries of “There’s a twitcher!” become hilariously commonplace. But there’s timing to consider, because while you suck up the good stuff you are vulnerable to attacks. It’s a dynamic that brings some very welcome light tactics into the mix.
Mother Russia Bleeds is fantastically tongue-in-cheek and wholly in touch with its own silliness. And, crucially, it’s eminently playable – even without its sense of humour, it would still be an enjoyable party brawler. It may be a little too relentlessly downbeat as a single-player experience, but it’s the perfect choice for three or four hours of co-op cruisin’ and bruisin’.
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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