The thing about crossbows is that they kind of suck once that first shot’s been taken. Put the crossbow on the ground nose-first, step on the handle, pull the string with both hands until it’s safely in place, notch the bolt and finally you’re ready to fire again. Obviously this is a serious design issue, so once again videogames are required to correct the horrible deficiencies of reality. The weapon in Crossbow: Bloodnight is a three-tiered beast that fires a constant stream of bolts, tearing up the zombies, bats, werewolves, and other terrors haunting a church courtyard after dark. It’s a beast of a weapon but humans are notably fragile, so it only takes a little damage to kill what had been a good run.
Crossbow: Bloodnight is a game squarely in the vein of Devil Daggers or Swarmlake. The only level is the church courtyard, which is a big circle with small park-like bit carved out of the center, and enemies spawn from the earth with no thoughts but to kill you dead. They’re going to succeed, too, so the trick isn’t so much survival but rather survival for as long as possible, and time is always counting down before the next wave introduces a new monster to the mix. The crossbow is a crazy-powerful weapon, though, and once you learn its tricks there’s a lot you can do to control the horde. Holding down the fire button shoots a rapid-fire barrage while tapping lets loose a shotgun-like blast of bolts, and holding the right mouse button turns on the slow but very powerful explosive shot.
While the smaller enemies just go down with a light splat the bigger ones leave a soul behind, and collecting it gets you a little closer to earning a use of the Rite of Cleansing. That attack is incredibly powerful but by no means a screen-clearing smart bomb, and instead calls down a rain of golden-speared death on everything in a corridor directly ahead. The game is nice enough to go into slow motion while lining up the shot but not so kind as to grant any type of invincibility, so the trick is to make sure you’ve got a little breathing room to line up the shot. Crossbow: Bloodnight may be a straight-up action arena shooter but you’ll want to develop some tactics to handle the chaos.
Crossbow: Bloodnight is available on Steam now with a launch-week pricing of $2.00, down from its eye-watering exorbitant standard price of a whopping whole $2.99. If it was an arcade machine that would be four rounds, so buying the game outright is actually cheaper than plunking in quarters would be due to the way one round leads near-instantly to another. While there’s no official trailer there is a nice three-minute chunk of unedited gameplay below, so give it a look to see the horrors of the night get perforated into goo by the most overpowered crossbow available.