Back in October (2020), NetEase caught everyone by surprise by announcing that it would bring ArtPlay's indie Metroidvania title Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to Android and iOS. In the following week, the game landed on the Play Store for pre-registration, with an iOS listing hinting at a December 4th release. Well, it would appear the game has arrived a little early, which means you can already grab Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from the Play Store for $9.99. Of course, I've taken the game for a spin to offer my thoughts, which you can read in full after the break. But for now, let's just say the game performs just about as well as expected.

For those that haven't been following Bloodstained's development, it started as a Kickstarter project from a well-known Castlevania producer (Koji Igarashi), and it was designed to serve as a spiritual successor for the languishing Konami series. Sadly, like many Kickstarter projects, this game had its fair share of setbacks, as well as a lackluster port that was released on the Nintendo Switch. So seeing that a mobile version of the game already has a history of suffering from a multitude of issues, I was a little wary that the Android and iOS ports would also see similar problems upon release. Sadly my fears have been confirmed.

Before I jump into the nitty-gritty, I'd like to detail the settings available in the game. There are four options available for picture quality, which range from Low to Epic. You can also choose to turn VSync on or off. There's even an option to archive your saves in the cloud, plus you can choose to turn off vibration. Physical controllers are supported out of the box, though there are zero options to adjust the gamepad's layout. I'd also like to remind everyone, this is a premium release, and even though the Play Store states there are in-app purchases priced at $0.99, there are none to be found right now (though they will most likely be added at a later date).

Game options

After testing Bloodstained on my OP8 and RM5S, it would appear the game runs at 30fps and often lags, dropping frames like crazy, on both High and Epic graphical settings. Seeing that these are top-end phones, and one is explicitly made to tear through demanding games, Bloodstained's performance is extremely disappointing. While I expected as much since the Switch port of the game is also atrocious, I'm sure plenty of fans were hoping for an optimized release. Sadly this is not the case. The title is clearly lacking in the polish department.

Character screen

As an example, if you choose to play with a controller, you'll quickly notice that the intro tutorial won't allow you to advance without tapping buttons on the screen even though they are mapped to the controller, which means the game only offers partial controller support, seemingly at random. Sure, you can platform around each stage with ease, but if you'd like to save, well, you're going to have to put down that controller to tap on the screen. Worse yet, you can't hide the on-screen controls either, so they are always there covering the screen even if you're not using them. That's poor design right there, and there's no excuse for it beyond sheer laziness. For a game priced at $9.99, it seems clear NetEase has cut corners. Par for the course in the mobile gaming world, but disappointing all the same for anyone looking for a quality title.

Save screen and combat, High graphics setting

Now don't get me wrong, if Android is the only platform you can play Bloodstained on, sure, it's playable, and the touch controls are solid, which means you don't even need a controller, but overall this port is far from the best experience. After all, I'm simply here to nitpick to ensure people know what they are getting into, so if you don't mind low framerates that stutter and partial controller support, you'll probably have an alright time with this release.

As I said, I fully expected poor performance from the Android port of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night when NetEase announced it. Now that my fears have been confirmed, I suppose things could be worse. Still, it would be nice to see NetEase throw some updates the game's way to smooth out the experience. Controller button mapping is desperately needed, and it sure would be great to see a 60fps option, even if that means the graphics have to be cut down further. While it's unknown if NetEase will actually bother to update the title, I'd like to remain hopeful improvements will come.

More gameplay screens, High graphics

So if you'd like to take a look at the game for yourself, you can purchase Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night through the Play Store widget below. And remember, you have a forty-eight-hour window to request a refund if you don't like what you see, which may very well come in handy.

Press Release

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – Out Now for iOS and Android

From today, players can enjoy the much-anticipated side-scrolling RPG on their mobile devices

Guangzhou, China, December 4th, 2020 – Today, NetEase Games and ArtPlay are launching the mobile version of the successful gothic Metroidvania Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on iOS and Android. The game will be available in North America, Europe, Japan, Korea, SEA and South America for $9.99 on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Aspiring demon-slayers can take fate into their own hands-on their mobile devices, starting today. The game is fully localized in Japanese, English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese and offers the beloved gameplay of the original console and PC versions of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, including a gigantic map to explore and over 120 unique mobs and bosses to vanquish. With no compromises on visual quality or gameplay fidelity, an overhauled UI and redesigned shard icons, the mobile version also includes the console version's DLC for no extra cost. This makes Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for iOS and Android the definitive edition of the game - available on the go.

To celebrate the games´ release on mobile devices, Koji Igarashi has a special video message for fans of the game: https://youtu.be/6AtXR8TTc4k

Koji Igarashi said of the collaboration with NetEase Games, "We are very pleased to collaborate with NetEase Games as our co-developer and publishing partner of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Mobile Version. As a global publisher with many years of successful experience, we believe NetEase Games is fully capable of delivering the charm of Bloodstained onto mobile devices and bringing the excitement of battle and exploration to mobile gamers."

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night features a 2.5D-map, that has been perfectly adapted to be explored on mobile devices, as well as the familiar shard buff system from the console and PC version. In addition to a reworked UI and redesigned shard icons, the mobile version of the Metroidvania includes a new achievement system through which Players can check their in-game progress and challenge each other. A special surprise awaits those who unlock them all. For better usability, an Ultimate Ability Shortcut Key with unique icons and a Suit Shortcut Key have been added.

Among many highlights that will make fans feel right at home while playing the game, the mobile versions also include the original Gothic music score and original voice actors from the game, like Ami Koshimizu (Miriam) and Shusaku Shirakawa (Gebel). In a future update, the mobile version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will get a new playable character, a boss rush mode, a speedrun mode and much more.

The new unlockable playable character is named “Zangetsu” and is available for players who have finished the story with a good ending. He fights with a Katana and can use MP to trigger a furious special attack with his blade. Furthermore, the all-new Randomizer Mode offers unending variety with each new playthrough, with missions, map areas, shop locations, mob spawn points, key item spawn points, and more.

For more information about this exciting collaboration, visit the official website and social media channels for the mobile versions of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night linked below:

Official Website:https://www.bloodstainedrotn.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bloodstainedrm/
Official Twitter:  https://twitter.com/rotn_m
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRtt7xdUBLyD0W9NToqAZRg?view_as=subscriber

The latest information about NetEase Games can always be found on the official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NetEaseOfficial/
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ABOUT NETEASE GAMES
NetEase Games is the online games division of NetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES; HKEX: 9999), developing and operating some of the most popular PC-client and mobile games in markets including China and Japan. As one of the world's largest incubators of quality online game content, NetEase Games is dedicated to supporting the growth of innovative studios around the globe and growing an international presence along the way. To complement its self-developed games and world-class R&D capabilities, NetEase Games also partners with other industry leaders including Blizzard Entertainment, Mojang AB (a Microsoft subsidiary) and other global game developers to operate some of the most popular international online games in China. For more information, please visit neteasegames.com.

ABOUT ARTPLAY
ArtPlay is a Japanese console and mobile game developer. The company was founded in 2014 by Koji Igarashi, the renowned producer and Jacob Feng. Their first console / PC title - Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night acquired 5.50 million USD through the US crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, which was a record amount for crowdfunded games at that time. ArtPlay is committed to becoming the world's top game production company, creating high-quality games for global users.

** PC and console version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was published by 505 Games S.p.A.