REVIEW: Blood & Bacon

First-person shooters are suffering a crisis. Where once XBLIG was happy to see a FPS, going so far as to forgive bad design or controls just for the sake of playing one, now the problem is over-saturation. Too many trying to copy too much, bouncing from military shooter to zombie wave shooter. Too many falling short of the accepted norm, skimping on content or releasing unpolished messes. Too many recycled ideas and endless pseudo-sequels. Then, like a blood-red bacon… ahem, beacon, of hope, enter Blood & Bacon (240 MSP).

This game is an antibiotic for what ails indie FPSes. No half-baked concoction, no stiff controls, no detrimentally-repetitive waves, and perhaps most importantly, no zombies. Well, no traditional zombies. Instead it’s undead livestock, refreshing enough to feel different, and dead enough not to upset animal rights groups. Yes, it’s a wave shooter (with a 100+ ‘Days’ to fight through), but only in name and format. Trust me, you haven’t played a wave shooter like this.

Nor have you seen this much blood. When the screen gets busy (and it will, with you versus hundreds of enemies possible), so does the exploding viscera. Blood & Bacon is on a liquid-only diet, the self-professed bloodiest game on Xbox Live. It’s hard to argue against that boast. It helps that the weaponry on tap is geared towards said carnage, running from the typical shotgun and rifles to an uzi, grenades, and one very ‘effective’ gun that you earn later on that is best saved for larger crowds.

Rounds and the roster of baddies start off simple, and gradually increase in number and challenge. Enemy types shuffle in and out, never quite the same combination, continually changing the approach and challenging you to mix tactics. Powerups to boost your speed and / or killing potential, as well as ammo and self-revives, prove to be invaluable. By the time you reach the first multi-phased boss, and the even sinister-er Princess Blubbergut (…the experience is memorable, and defies explanation), you’ll have left Easy Street behind and wandered into a rural quagmire, no one there to hold your hand.

Well, save for the online co-op, which is where Blood & Bacon reaches its fullest, Left 4 Dead-est potential. Teamwork here is not a suggestion but a necessity, working together to lead and dispatch tougher, armored foes, and tackle the higher levels. Careful management of the health pumps and keeping your partner standing takes precedence. Victory is not handed over lightly, but the sheer satisfaction that comes from beating a particularly tough wave or exhausting boss fight, alone or with a friend, far outweighs the struggle.

Blood & Bacon - Screen

Definitely not for the squeamish.

That hard-fought progress is what keeps you coming back, complimented by the smaller things that build the larger whole; story elements, the excellent voicework and soundtrack, controls / camerawork, and plenty of interesting (and well hidden) easter eggs to be found. Simply stated, there’s nothing here that upsets or feels unfinished, and any faults you may find will be temporary. With the promise of patches and free DLC support (a new map, enemies, have been mentioned) for many months down the road, you can rest easy knowing the game will be updated and expanded upon.

When it’s all said and done, Blood & Bacon stands as nothing less than the resurrection of the wave shooter, all pork and no gristle, full of the exacting attention and care you don’t typically see in indie development. It’s even more impressive to say that after several hours of playtime, I still haven’t had my fill of things to do or see. The game brings with it a new look to the first-person genre on the indie channel, making more than good on great expectations and raising the bar for other developers. An absolute must play.

.

EDIT 9/1: A ‘lite’ version of the game, re-titled B&B Fatfree, has been released for $1. Comprising the first ’50 days’ (of the full 100) of the game, it still contains all of the greatness I stated above.

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40 thoughts on “REVIEW: Blood & Bacon”

  1. For anyone interested in picking up Blood & Bacon (or just digging out the game after an extended period), one of the guys involved in its making, GNAWMAN, is putting out a call for anyone looking for a co-op partner:

    > Hey all, were coming up on the 1st year anniversary of BLOOD & BACON. I would like to invite those who never got to play B&B with the REAL farmer to add me on xbox live— ‘GNAWMAN’ —and request a game. You’ll get to hear some inside dirt and trivia nobody’s heard. Long Live B&B!

  2. Hey @Kilroy! I Love This Game But There Is A Problem. IT BROKE MY ANALOG STICK. Why Is The Game Made Harshly On The Analog STICK?

    1. And not in a ragefit?
      Bravo Killroy, one heck of an intense game.
      I also appreciate the FPS to TPS switching here, not many games do that nowadays.

    1. The latest update (update #3) puts Blood&Bacon at version 4 (which can be found inside your wallet top right corner v.4) has the following changes.

      1. Version Guard – gamers only with same version can play together
      2. Losing a Level 2 times in a row triggers the Easy Option
      3. The M.I.R.V weapon gives you 1 bonus rocket every 5 days (if you have none)
      4. The MiniBoss is now beatable on hard
      5. The game remembers your Difficulty setting, even when you play Co-op
      6. The pigrats are no so hard on Days 1-20, Days 1-10 in general are easier
      7. L3 is now sprint, much like Call of Duty, and LeftBumper is Stats

      Thats it….hopefully I did not infect the game with a new bug !! 🙂

  3. Now that spend enough time with the game, I have to say I love it. Im not much into co-op (Im more into competitive gameplay, I only play co-op with my niece) so I not miss it much, although I will like to try it (Im silver). I like the difficulty of the game, the pigrats, the bosses, is all so much fun. Its hard to find 3D XBLIG as good as this, most masterpieces are in 2D, so this one stand out. There’s one thing I dont like, I connect via my cellphone, so if Im 30 minutes in a boss fight, and the phone ring, if I pick it up, I will return to the title screen. So, if the police call me to stop stalking the redhead next door, or Im getting a booty call (the latter probably will never happen), chances are I will not answer the phone and I will end up in jail. I think Im the only caveman that dont got a normal internet connection so, i guess I will have to live with that problem. Other than that, very fun game, long time a 3D game, indie or AAA, have give me this satisfaction that a masochist like I am deserves. The PS3 might have his exclusives (The Last Of Us… I cant stop thinking about you) but little games like Bleed, BC, OFDP and this one, make me proud of owning a 360. AndWhatsTheDealAboutNotUsingSpaceOnTheNames?TheDeveloperHateTheSpaceKeyOrSomething?WTF!!!!!!

    1. Yep Silver works !! What do you mean by the no Spaces in the Names ? Not sure what that means….glad to hear you are enjoying it…..this site has the best reviews by far….it helps that people here actually play the game a lot before blindly positing opinions…:)

    2. @xionix: You do have a disadvantage when it comes to internet connection, no doubt about that. And redheads… I think we all have a weakness there. Excellent game either way, though I can agree on some rounds where my co-op partner was either completely oblivious to the on-screen action, or just really terrible. Outside of playing with GNAWMAN in the beta, I can think of only one other person that knew the meaning of teamwork. Plus, he’s ‘The Farmer’… come on. You don’t beat that.

      @Kilroy: I think he was referring to the marketplace listing, where the game reads as ‘BLOOD&BACON’, one word.

    3. Well, I know the game was developed with co-op in mind, so for some it might be a very important aspect. But, even if I have gold I will only play it for the normal stages. THERE’S NO WAY, I will go co-op with the bosses, I want that pain, glory and satisfaction for mine alone. When I broke Princess Grizelda butt, and then split her heart into to pieces , I feel the greatest satisfaction, and I can say, that I not have to share that glory with anyone. Thats just my personal opinion, I know all ppl here love the co-op especialy with bosses. That got me thinking, the difficulty changes if you play alone or co-op? Because if this was made with co-op in mind and is the same for both… I cant imagine what is coming for me, well, I got only word… BRING IT!!!!!

      AndYesThatIsExactlyWhatIMeant.AlsoBloodyCheckersIsLikeThat.

    4. No the difficulty adjusts more enemies are added in co op, you wana feel the pain fight the bosses on HARD. Thx and keep spreading the word on the game.

  4. I’m quite enjoying the game. The blood, guts, and violence are all entertaining, and the controls are easy to handle … but the real attractant to the game are the little touches and developments that make it a bit more than just a FPS. I adore the multiple camera angles, and seeing the little piglets for the first time was totally unexpected. Especially when they killed me! Now if I could just find a co-op partner that isn’t a complete muppet.

  5. Awesome review, and awesome “Let’s Play” video !! I can’t thank you guys enough…..it’s only day 2 after the FULL release…and I already am seeing the best review ever….and a very excellent video (my wife actually watched the whole video and laughed)

    1. No problem. Thanks for the fantastic game that made the review possible Looking forward to seeing how the game expands, though I still have about 45 days to play through… 🙂

    1. You know, no matter how long or tough the boss fight, the blood-splosion at the end is like a definitive ‘Hell Yeah!’ at the end of the sentence (round).

      As a side note, Kenneth, I’ve been a subscriber for awhile. Enjoy your videos, and I’m especially glad to see more XBLIG videos from you as of late. I still think you and I are the only ones that enjoyed L.A.R.A. 🙂

    2. Thanks! Good to hear! I remember the week LARA was released it ended up getting buried by 12-15 other titles that were released in like a 3 day period. It just got pushed down on the list too quick and the opening $3 price didn’t help it. I talked to the Dev quite a bit about that game back when it was first released. I felt so bad for him because he had put so much work into it (especially the gun mechanics) and he was fully into making LARA 2 with destructible environments but I think the failure of LARA just kind of put a damper on things. Seeing all these $1, very poorly produced, zombie games outselling his game 10-1 was a kick in the gut.

    3. Yeah, that new release list is really the first and last impression your game is going to make. Releasing something that’s buggy, or having a high price, really makes it an uphill battle. Adding new content or lowering the cost afterward can help, but it’s vital to hit the ground running right away. Promoting the game can help (I’ve heard stories both ways that say promotions / reviews do nothing for sales), and there’s always exceptions, but LARA got a raw deal. One of the more unique, satisfying FPS games that (almost) nobody has played. Can’t blame him for pushing LARA 2 down the list of priorities.

    4. It is really great to see that 99% of gamers actually understand this game !! They simply get it. They figure out how to kill the Bosses, how to use the pickups and how to work together as a team…it’s really awesome to see so many people get hours and hours of enjoyment. I have rarely seen so many people, play a game for 3-5 hours straight and more….and simply love every moment. Even though, some levels have to be repeated 4-5 time (darksouls style) the rewards for pushing forward are there….and the game does have an ending to it.

    5. Absolutely. I was wondering what kind of learning curve there would be for others, so glad to hear that it isn’t posing a problem to most. Even though the waves can repeat, it really says something about the design that you can keep up the frenetic pace through each subsequent round. It’s easy to lose track of time playing it. 🙂

  6. Glad you enjoyed all the voices and metal riffs man. Thanx for the kudos. I hope to do more voicework on other games, but I’m definitely with Killroy on his next game. If you like the riffs, check out my band in the link for my name.

    1. My pleasure. All the thanks go to you guys for taking the time to craft a great game. Definitely best of luck with all future projects in any form of media. 🙂

    1. Agreed, And not only that, but for the originality of taking the road less traveled, and not relying on zombies or an established game.

      This puts Astralis squarely at the top of my most wanted now. Seriously excited to see what you guys have been cooking up all this time. 🙂

  7. Thank you bing rewards!
    Wonder if DLC will be entirely new enemies or reskins.
    A dino reskin/ full dlc would be amazing.

    1. Whatever is planned, I’m sure the top priority is making it as fun and substantial as the content in the main game. Personally, I’m looking forward to a new map, as the new layout in and of itself should make the combat feel fresh.

  8. About god damn time!!!! I just got it (I was afraid the game was in Beta 2 and have to be removed again), but still have not play it, will try it at night. But is good to know it does not dissapoint and live up to the trailer (and the name). I cant wait to try it, and I promise, when I grab that gun, Princess Blubbergut will get more shots in the face than if she were in an adult film.

    This might be interesting for some, there’s something called MonoGame, that let the developers port the XNA to Ouya among other consoles. So there is a good chance we will be still be playing our favorites XBLIG on Ouya, and give that console a reason to exist.

    1. Man, I do -not- need that image of Princess Blubbergut in my head. Entirely inappropriate!

      MonoGame has the masses generally excited, from what I’ve read. Ouya, no doubt, will welcome any good games, be they ports or original projects. Still waiting on Microsoft to make their indie angle perfectly clear regarding the One.

    2. Oops my bad to both of you, I got carried away. I know adult mature films like Expandables and the Saw movies can be a bit much for some ppl.

      Well, the Ouya have to be the most expensive console of all time. In you want to play the new games of next year, you have upgrade, that will be another 100 dollars. In ten years that will be 1000. A PS4 is waaay cheaper, more power and lots of indies.

    3. No harm done. My dreams are disturbing enough already.

      The Ouya could conceivably be the most expensive, yeah. Makes me wish I would’ve waited a few generations instead of backing the original version. I still haven’t turned the thing on since the unwrapping it the first day. My PS4, on the other hand, will be getting a workout once the thing ships. Covers all the bases as far as games, like you said. Still my console of choice for the next generation.

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