Laika Aged Through Blood Laika Aged Through Blood PS5 Laika Aged Through Blood PS5 Review Laika Aged Through Blood Review PS5 Review

Laika Aged Through Blood Review (PS5) – A Twin Stick Shooter On A Bike That Mostly Works Despite Its Flaws

Laika Aged Through Blood PS5 Review – History buffs may already know about a different Laika, the dog sent into space as a test for space travel in 1957. That makes it all the more interesting that the same name was given to the coyote main character in Laika Aged Through Blood. This implies a one-way trip for our protagonist, but how does it actually fare for the upright hound hero?

Laika Aged Through Blood Review (PS5) – A Twin Stick Shooter On A Bike That Mostly Works

The opening to Laika is intentionally simple: Laika needs to go deep into an enemy base to rescue a child from her village rumored to have been crucified by the Birds. She soon retrieves her bike and makes her way past event lines to find the child.

In this post-apocalyptic desert world, Birds hold a superiority over coyotes due to their biological advantages of flight. They hunt down coyotes at will for any reason. While dangerous for most coyotes, Laika takes to the field against the Birds thanks to a family curse that makes her immortal.

Overall, this story is brutal, well-written, and doesn’t hold back much. It depicts death in several gruesome ways, even in this cartoony style, and the writing parallels that ferocity. You also learn about the characters and the world as you go along. The world and scenario build with your progression instead of through bouts of regurgitated waves of subtext.

Twin Stick Shooter, Evel Knievel-Style

The gameplay loop mostly consists of riding around on your bike, shooting and BMX-ing your way through fights. On-screen, this looks great. When in the air, you can spin the bike around, using the bottom of the bike to block enemy fire. You also need to do 360s to reload your weapons, adding layered gameplay elements to the game’s straightforward controls.

To drive, you hold L2, change direction with Square, and aim with the right joystick. You shoot with R2 and can also hold R2 before releasing to slow down time for aiming and handling difficult situations. You also have a counter at your disposal. You only use it one time before you need to “reload” it the same way you reload your gun.

You use this counter by pressing Square just as the projectile is to hit you, sending the attack back to its source. The mechanics make sense, but this is where my frustrations with combat begin. Aiming and countering can’t be done at the same time without already setting the aim direction. This turns potentially gripping gameplay into a trial and error process to find the routine needed to move forward. In other words, the game rewards you more for having hindsight instead of proficiency with the mechanics.

Tribulations Of Combat

Then, keeping track of everything adds to the challenge. If you don’t orient your bike properly, You faceplant and die. If you miss one projectile in a screen of moving objects, you die. Including one-hit deaths is something this game would have benefitted from adjusting. This makes sense not just from an accessibility perspective but a narrative one. Laika is immortal after all; yes, resurrecting over and over plays into that as well, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

In the heat of battle, managing these inputs demands a great deal and rewards very little. The reward I mention more pertains to the game only lasting between 8 to 15 hours, with skill and patience major factors to consider in that timeline. By the time you feel proficient, you have the buffs and upgrades to make the game more trivial than it started.

You gain viscera from enemies, and you use it to upgrade gear, buy ammo, and cook food. Weapon upgrades make things easier, but the best helper it’s cooking. These offer fantastic buffs to enhance your own play style. If you prefer to counter, like I do, several recipes increase your counters before you need to reload.

Flipping The Script Literally

As you develop, combat slowly feels less routine and more flexible. At the same time, the difficulty sharply drops thanks to the extra control you have. This makes the game more fun, but putting the enjoyable experiences later in the game makes the path through the game less rewarding.

The game is harder at the beginning because you are limited, and the game is easier at the end because you are overpowered. Power trips in games can be a grand time. The game needs to feel fulfilling along the way, but Laika puts that feeling in the middle, at the point when you start strengthening your character.

One benefit to this comes with the fact that the game leans more into the story simply because combat stops slowing you down as much. Unfortunately, while there’s a compelling story to tell, the ending is incredibly brief. The conclusion is powerful still, but it doesn’t leave much time for you, the player, to reminisce on the path you took to get there.

Didn’t Jump The Shark But Didn’t Stick The Landing

All in all, Laika Aged Through Blood makes for an interesting concept, combining Trials Fusion gameplay with a stick shooter. Upgrading Laika makes the gameplay look more fun, but the beginning and end feel too hard and too easy respectively. Despite its issues, Laika tries new things and succeeds well enough to check out.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Laika Aged Through Blood takes some time to get used to but offers a unique combination of gameplay styles. Still, it's not without growing pains, like button combinations not being as intuitive or the pace taking some misteps. There's still some cool ideas here in terms of gameplay and narrative that should be checked out even if you're only a little curious.