I adore space, and I adore drama, so when the opportunity came to play a dramatic story of love and betrayal in space, I was immediately excited. When I booted up Blood Nova, a new game from Cosmic Void, to see a classic DOS-style splash screen, I was doubly thrilled, and the game definitely didn't disappoint.
Retro Vibes With Modern Additions
This game reminds me heavily of classic DOS games like the original Monkey Island and the Hero's Quest series. It even has the same style of load-in screens for the developer and the main title sequence, as well as a very classic pixelated design. And it plays just like an old DOS game, too, with point-and-click mechanics for every puzzle and a large amount of text on slightly more static backgrounds. That being said, it loads significantly faster and didn't crash once - score!
I absolutely adore this style, and with a story set in space, I knew I was going to be pleased. The game was an absolute delight from start to finish and made me feel like I was playing in the "computer room" of my childhood house with my little brother looking over my shoulders again.
I think it's safe to say that I haven't improved much at this style of puzzle game since I was six, though. Throughout Blood Nova, you have to use and combine items in your inventory to solve various puzzles and activate story beats. Several of the puzzles were just hard enough to stump me without being so difficult that I quit the game. I was able to eventually solve most of them on my own - though I did appreciate the occasional YouTube walkthrough tip. The puzzles were logical, made sense to try, and most of them could eventually be solved by random guessing and clicking (my preferred method), if you were really determined about it, so you're unlikely to get stuck for too long while playing.
The game isn't overly long, either, clocking in at just about three hours for me. It's a great afternoon or weekend play.
The Story of Love
Princess Love of the Galactic Empire is about to take the throne, but she's not too keen on it. She'd rather spend her time exploring the galaxy with her best friend and bodyguard, Kel. Still, war looms on the horizon and her duties await, so it's one last trip to the interstellar lighthouse and then Love will take up her responsibilities.
There's just one problem. Before they can leave, Love and Kel are shaken by a massive attack on the lighthouse that leaves everyone but them dead. Worse, Kel seems to be infected by the same deadly toxin that took everyone else out, so it's up to Love to find a way to cure her and figure out what happened before she becomes the next victim.
I don't want to spoil anything, because the game's story is fantastic. Bittersweet and extremely reminiscent of a classic space opera, there are echoes of the original Star Trek series here. So, I'll simply say that if you enjoy futuristic quasi-magic societies with strange alien tech, time travel shenanigans and nonlinear storytelling, hidden love stories that end in betrayal, or classic ultimate sacrifice moments, you're going to adore this game.
Blood Nova Is a Nostalgic but Modern Hit
I might be biased by my existing love of DOS games, but I really think there's a place for this style in modern gaming, and Blood Nova really proves my point. It's short and sweet but wonderfully impactful and beautiful, with a classic but fun story and enjoyable puzzles. If you're into retro gaming and have a free afternoon, I highly recommend picking it up.
Blood Nova is available on Steam. It costs $11.99, but there is a free demo available to play.
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