In one of October's biggest sleeper hits, Max Payne-grade bullet time carries this gorgeous motorbike Metroidvania to 95% positive reviews

Headup Publishing
(Image credit: Brainwash Gang)

2023 has been loaded with stellar games of all shapes and sizes. Alongside this year's greats like Baldur's Gate 3, Dave the Diver, and Resident Evil 4, one such game that just came out recently managed to land its way on Steam's best-reviewed games of the year. That game is Laika: Aged Through Blood, which also happens to be one of the more original takes on the popular Metroidvania sub-genre we've seen in years.

Just released last month, Laika: Aged Through Blood from developer Brainwash Gang is a fast-paced and stylized ride through the post-apocalypse, starring a cast of anthropomorphic animal drifters, bandits, and vagabonds exploring the ruins of the old world. 

We described Laika earlier this year as "what you'd get if Trials were a beautiful hand-painted Metroidvania," and that about sums it up. Laika is about a gunslinging coyote who rides a bike and takes out bandits looking to take control of her homeland and get revenge. With a similar aesthetic to dark fantasy animated films, it presents a world that's incredibly stylized and detailed, but also very grim.

What makes Laika such an interesting take on a Metroidvania game is that the protagonist rides a motorcycle as she travels through the various lands.  While she reach high speeds, pull of stunts, and barrell through the opposition, she also can die in one-hit. If she catches a single bullet from an enemy, you get taken straight back to the checkpoint. However, along with her mobility, the protagonist is also a skilled shooter. With her bullet-time style ability, she can land precision shots while pulling off sick tricks from her bike.

This aspect gives Laika very different type of pace and sense of action for the traditionally slower-paced Metroidvania style. While pulling off tricks, you can reload or block bullets with your bike, and then pull off a shot before landing on the ground and continuing on your way. This stunt-based approach to traversal and action gives the game an equally methodical yet still fast-paced take on exploring a large interconnected world, which is heightened with its dark-fantasy world filled unique characters to interact with.

If you're looking for a cool new Metroidvania game to play, then check out Laika: Aged Through Blood, which is out now on Steam and launching later in 2023 for PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

If you're interested in checking out other adventure games, check out our round up of the best adventure games that you can play right now.

Alessandro Fillari

Alessandro is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area who has covered the games, tech, and entertainment industries for more than 13 years. Having previously worked at GameSpot, CNET, and various other outlets writing features and coordinating event coverage, Alessandro enjoys playing games on PC, but also gives plenty of time to his Nintendo Switch. You can find him on various socials at @afillari.