From legendary action filmmaker John Woo, Chillingo’s Bloodstroke serves as a fun-filled reminder of all that is brutal and beautiful in the world. While this isn’t Woo’s first ever video game (he also made Stranglehold for home consoles in 2007), Bloodstroke marks the filmmaker’s first foray onto the mobile scene. And while the thirst for action soaked in blood is definitely the biggest selling point of this release, it’s the loud story of betrayal and the breathtaking, painted visuals that truly elevate the game into a piece of art that action fans can’t help but appreciate.
The storyline is certainly simple as events unfold in comic book-style cutscenes in between the levels, but it still brings enough twists and turns to get the job done. As “Lotus,” a newly recruited and trained security agent, you’ll need to advance through locations such as Hong Kong and Beijing while protecting your client, Dr. Koorse, who is at constant risk of being killed by entire armadas of street thugs and soldiers. It’s a fitting setup that’s meant to lead right into Woo’s trademark action world of violence and bloodshed.
The entire art style of Bloodstroke looks as if someone painted over every screen with black and white watercolor paints. You can even see the watery brushstrokes sweeping across the moving environments, whether in an accent on the road or simply swirling off the tops of the trees. It’s rare for a game that’s so rooted in action and gory violence to evoke such feelings of art and candor, but that’s exactly what Bloodstroke manages to achieve, and it’s something that adds to the story’s allure in a wonderful fashion.
Of course, it’s not all black and white in Bloodstroke, as the contrasting color of red plays a crucial role in the presentation. The only splashes of this color that you’ll find in the game are the red trenchcoat that Lotus wears, and of course, the bright gushing blood that spews out of your enemies as you slay them up and down the streets. Another nice touch is that after an enemy’s blood has been spilled, the red quickly fades to black and remains on the world’s canvas: letting players essentially add to the living painting with more bloodshed. Read more »