Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a pretty good metroidvania, heavily influenced by the classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
(I will confess that I have never played SOTN; I did play the successor games on GBA and NDS though.)
- The game is easy. It's not a hardcore platformer like Ori and the Blind Forest and it doesn't have the challenging combat of Hollow Knight. The lack of difficulty is mainly because there is no real limit on the number of restorative items you can bring into a boss fight. For this reason, the later boss fights (when you have more resources) were much easier than the early ones. I pretty much beat the optional/secret boss by bringing 14 pizzas into the fight and just spamming flying pigs.
- The game had a bit too much going on. Too many options.
- You can choose from a variety of different weapon types (boots, daggers, swords, greatswords, whips, spears, guns, etc), but for your entire playthrough, you're really only going to stick with one type, and most often I would assume it will be swords (decent attack rate and range, etc).
- There are a lot of different spells accessible, and each one can be upgraded multiple times, but you will probably be using maybe only 4-5 different spells during the course of the game; there isn't any real reason to switch them around too often.
- The game also has probably one or two too many systems; there's cooking and crafting and shard upgrading and so on; my vote for least useful one is "techniques" which are Street Fighter-like commands you can use to execute special moves and they are specific only to particular weapons AND you can master them with use. You rarely need them, they're not much better than just spamming normal attacks! I only ended up ever mastering one technique, and that was only because there was an achievement.
- All of this would not be a problem if the game had more replay value; as it is, I don't see any incentive to replay the game just to try a different set of weapons or spells or whatever.
- The most difficult part of the game was looking for this one chest hidden in an obscure area that had an item I needed to progress!
- The rest of the gameplay is great, no other complaints
- Exploration is pretty good, especially once you get the later mobility options. My favorite Metroidvania phase is when you have most or all of your mobility options available and you can just breeze through all the old areas looking for stuff you missed, and Bloodstained is great at that. You can double jump, high jump, bounce along a beam, invert gravity (!) and there's even an accelerator that makes you run really fast.
- There are a lot of bosses to fight, and many of the fights were fun / interesting. Combat in general can be challenging, even with random mooks (as long as you aren't overleveled).
- Story is ok, I guess? There's an evil that has emerged, and only you can stop it! Some twists here and there, but nothing too surprising.
- When I finished the game, I wasn't too sure about trying to go for completion, as the missing achievements seemed very grindy like needing to farm for drops and such. I decided to give it a shot and it turned out to be easier than I expected. There's stuff you can equip to make farming easier (increasing your luck stat, etc) and the fact that re-entering a room respawns the enemies made the farming go quickly. The game's excellent mobility options helped as well. It only took me 3 days to complete the game after beating the final boss. (I played the game for 17 days in total.)
- Total playtime to completion: 27.5 hours. (HLTB has average completion time at 35h so that's pretty good!)
Here's a video of me playing the game a bit. At around 9:55, you can see me spamming the flying pig spell on a boss lol.
(Click photos to view full-size)