hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Indie Nation #40: Fantastic Blood Boy

4:01 PM on 11.14.2008 // Anthony Burch

Fantastic Blood Boy isn't just remarkable because it's a fun game (though it is), or because it has awesome visuals and an awesomely almost-but-not-quite-annoying soundtrack (though it does), but because, when explained verbally or through text, it sounds like the most confusing game in history. Once you've played with it for about a minute, however, everything becomes completely clear.

Made for the TIGSource Video Game Name Generator competition, Fantastic Blood Boy teaches us how quickly we gamers can internalize and comprehend even the most seemingly confusing game rules, so long as they're presented in a graceful and consistent way through the gameplay itself. 

If you try to read the in-game instructions, you might well be so confused that you'll want to turn the game off altogether and do something less confusing, like particle physics. After a few moments of play, however, the rules simply click: what was impossible to convey through conventional written language suddenly makes perfect sense, through the sheer power of gameplay.

Play it (download link at the bottom of the first post), or hit the jump for more.

I will try, to the best of my ability, to explain how to play Fantastic Blood Boy in plain English.

You're a little red dude who cannot die or get hurt in any way. Little blue dudes want to destroy your blood crystals, but you can't let them. Run or jump into the blood crystals to move them away from the blue dudes. Bombs and missiles and skulls will spawn that allow you to kill the blue dudes but cannot hurt you. After you kill a blue dude, his body will fly into the air, spraying blood. If you catch the blood, the screen will fill with a rising wave of more blood. When the screen is totally full, you will get another blood crystal, which will increase your points but is also susceptible to destruction by the blue dudes. Also, large, black, indestructible monsters will begin roaming around and if you touch them, they'll imprison you for a short period of time until you can button-mash your way out of their stomachs. If you lose the last blood crystal, the game is over.

That, hopefully, was pretty goddamn confusing. If it isn't, then that either ruins my point and the game isn't as complex on paper as I thought it was, or means I'm better at explaining things than I thought (the latter is probably not the case). 

erere

Still, for whatever mental work you had to do in order to understand that synopsis of the game mechanics, it's infinitely easier and less time-intensive to just play the game. Though it might take you a little while to work out that you are indestructible and that it's the crystals you have to protect, after that everything falls into place. Even the stuff that doesn't fall into place (I can imagine players not trying to collect the blood, or spending a majority of the game doing so unintentionally) end up being nice surprises along the way and in no way hinder your ability to understand what the hell is going on in the here and now.

It's games like Fantastic Blood Boy that convince me videogame manuals and written, "How To Play" tutorials should soon be considered a thing of the past. Nothing explains gameplay like gameplay (with a few helping hints), so why bother writing all the instructions out? Why force your player to spend their time with something outside of the game itself just to learn how to play that game?

Of course, I think my experience with Fantastic Blood Boy was helped by the fact that I did read the instructions. I was completely confused by them, but they gave me a context in which to judge and understand the mechanics. Perhaps that's all that needs to be done: give the player a general idea of what they're going to be doing, and let them discover the rest. Beyond how easy it is to learn through great game design, it's simply much more satisfying to discover things on your own (or at least, to feel like you discovered it on your own). 

erer

But I digress: Fantastic Blood Boy is a fun, fast-paced game which is simultaneously charming in its simplicity and addictive in the complexity of its mechanics. It feels like an old-school arcade game, but arcade games were never so frantic and confusing and cool.

Play it, and enjoy it. And don't get discouraged by the instructions, should you read them.




 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Just so you know, I've been a Huge subscriber for a few years but I thought I had until the end of September to cancel it. So I've opened an inquiry for the refund, which is on tinypass' end of things by the way.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I once posted that Total Recall was the best movie ever made. I would like to make note that Starship Troopers is a close second. Carry on.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I put too many peppers in my sausage and potatoes. My asshole is on fire. I want to cry when I wipe. But it was good.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
One glorious Japanese twitter user made a custom LBX of one of my favorite Kamen Riders: [img]http://i.imgur.com/yp1oraHm.jpg[/img] It's like getting peanut butter in chocolate but with small robots and spandex banana men!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I feel terrible for not reading most of you beautiful people's blogs. Let's just say my passion is writing, not reading :s
techsupport avatartechsupport
People can debate GOTY all they want, but the real question is: D-Horse or Roach?
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I'm dragging myself away from my PS4 long enough to say that MGS V is pretty darn awesome so far.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
Down with that PAX Pox. Auhhhghghghhhh
Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV: Sneaking into a heavily guarded Russian military base in Afghanistan at night, slashing throats while listening to this. [youtube]https://youtu.be/-hWZqllm3mQ[/youtube] Comes off like a perfectly planned scene in a Scorsese movie or something.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Tortilla chips: The only food I know and love to betray me by deciding to flip to a bad angle and stab me in the gums.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm ok with Namco shutting down Soul Calibur: Lost Souls, as long as they keep Ace Combat:Infinity running. Love that game and just hit 3 million credits.
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Holy fuck I feel new again. I've been on hiatus for a while and haven't been up to writing. I might just jump back into things after I relearn things here. Does anyone even remember me? Like damn it's been a while.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
In MGS5: The Phantom Pain, Solid Snake dies from lung cancer from all those years of smoking. #FakeSpoilers
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
[youtube]http://youtu.be/FDSHslyrxkM[/youtube] If you don't know the truth, you don't know the score. The end is coming near. MAJOR SPOILERS!
Paul S avatarPaul S
Wow, it's really easy to get people upset over video games.
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I hope MGS V is living up to everyone's expectations. I can't get enough.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I dislike the idea of intentionally reinforcing the notions that either race or gender are character traits, and those that don't match your own are completely unrelatable.
Shinta avatarShinta
Who's your favorite female black writer on Destructoid's staff? Post a comment below with your votes.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I'm ok if someone chooses a character's ethnicity in a story with the intent of being more representative, as long as the story is good. And if even SOME people feel like it helps them relate, then good! Don't bother me none.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
OK. So the Mad Max game is basically the combat from the Batman games, the driving bits from Rage and the taking over the outposts bits from Far Cry 3 and 4. I guess what I'm saying is that it's super fun and I'm really, really enjoying it.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -