BlazBlue Entropy Effect
Image via 91Act

Review: BlazBlue Entropy Effect Is a Stylish Roguelike

BlazBlue is an interesting franchise, and I say that with some level of generosity. I’ve been playing the games since Calamity Trigger released, but have always found the story hard to follow. So the idea of a 2D roguelike that could potentially catch me up on the events of the game was extremely enticing. I like BlazBlue and I like roguelikes, so I figured it could be a winning combination. While BlazBlue Entropy Effect attempts to bring the 2D-fighter into another genre and manages to do so with competence, it leaves something to be desired.

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BlazBlue Entropy Effect has very little to do with BlazBlue. Players assume the role of a small robot that can more or less assume the shape of a BlazBlue character when entering a “digital” world that comprises a variety of different neon-colored stages. Outside of the inclusion of one specific character outside the roster of characters you can unlock, there isn’t much connective tissue there. Instead, the narrative of the game is relatively sparse and concerns the work of the robots as they continue to reconstruct memories in the face of entropy. (Entropy was also once used as a game mechanic that would slowly degrade your HP, but it has since been removed from the game.) That is where any connection to BlazBlue basically begins and ends with. Yet, despite this, Blazblue Entropy Effect translates the skills of these individual characters to perfection.

BlazBlue Entropy Effect
Image via 91Act

A total of ten different characters can be unlocked, which includes more than a handful of notable figures from the series. These people are unlocked through the acquisition of Analyzers, which are obtained through obtaining AP or by completing missions. AP is collected by working your way through stages and are not lost upon death. Which means you can quickly farm AP to obtain Analyzers to unlock more characters once you grow bored of a particular playstyle. BlazBlue Entropy Effect doesn’t deal in different weapons, but instead is focused on obtaining more moves and passives for the character you are choosing to potentially complete a run with.

The first character I obtained was Ragna the Blood Edge, recurring character and the protagonist of Calamity Trigger. His moveset was immediately familiar to me, as I have some experience Arc System Works 2D-Fighters. Ragna uses his signature kicks and punches, followed up with slow, heavy swings from his sword. But what made him so exhilarating to play was the need to balance your special attacks (which often consume your HP) and HP siphon from your skills. This gave me something else to factor in when fighting bosses, though the HP siphon and drain did help keep me alive through the most difficult situations depending on how skilled I was with the character. Basically, each character starts with a default move and skill, and as you progress through stages you can unlock more and eventually enhance these abilities, making them even more powerful and giving them more effects. This is what makes BlazBlue Entropy Effect stand-out compared to other games that occupy the roguelike genre.

Everything in the game is extremely dependent on the moveset, movement, and playstyle of each character. This is what you will need to take into consideration, as Noel, Jin, or Taokaka do not play like Ragna, either due the speed of their attacks or even the range. In some ways this could be frustrating if players don’t gel with the playstyle of their favorite character, but it opens up room to experiment with different characters’ feel and weight. Jin was my main in the fighting games, but I really didn’t enjoy his playstyle and ended up playing as Ragna and Hakumen for most of my time with BlazBlue Entropy Effect, which gave me a new appreciation for those characters. Because the characters are what more or less define the game.

Blazblue Entropy Effect
Image via 91Act

Outside of selecting and upgrading moves, players can pick from several different types of elemental enhancements on their weapons. These can include fire, poison, umbra (dark), light, and ice. Each of these enhancements can come in several different rarities, with the highest rarity providing the most beneficial effects. (That is usually just more damage.) Personally, I found that this is when BlazBlue Entropy Effect started getting a bit stale. It’s a mechanic that is pretty stock and standard as far as enhancements go, and it doesn’t have the same kind of depth as other 2D roguelike platformers like Dead Cells.

That staleness permeates the stages as well. While the game has gorgeous visuals, the levels tend to all look the same. Everything involves mostly unremarkable 2D neon washed landscapes. It’s pseudo futuristic and grows old. Especially as stages themselves are relatively short and concerned with clearing waves of enemies that are on platforms above or below you. Sometimes traps are involved, but the addition of them feels negligible at best. I never found their addition to be particularly interesting, as they mostly appear as laser walls that you can dash through or jets of fire that spew flame intermittently. These traps can also appear while fighting bosses, which can make movement more difficult, but with the right builds you can wipe the floor with most of them.

There are also very few types of stages available, which are split into stages where you can get HP back, increase your max HP, purchase various upgrades, or obtain enhancements at random. This is basically the rotation of different rooms you get, but because there isn’t any kind of significant story interaction there by comparison to a game like Hades, runs feel mindless and like you’re more or less just grinding to see how to best optimize the moves and enhancements you’ve been given this time around.

BlazBlue Entropy Effect
Image via 91Act

But one of the best bits of BlazBlue Entropy Effect is the user interface and general visual design. The game looks great. As mentioned before, moves are fluid and well animated, and the user interface itself adheres to the overall theme of the game. It’s slick, cybernetic, and minimalistic, but also vibrant and fresh. Everything about the way this game looks is fantastic, and it’s definitely one of the best looking roguelikes I’ve played in awhile.

Overall, BlazBlue Entropy Effect is an enjoyable roguelike that players will no doubt be able to play for more than a handful of hours. It sets itself apart from other games within the same genre due to it’s strong focus on characters and character builds, but the same-ness of stages leaves something to be desired. However, due to the limited stages and lack of engaging story it may not be too enticing for those looking for a roguelike with a little more substance.

BlazBlue Entropy Effect is available on PCs.

BlazBlue Entropy Effect

Artistic and Magnificent Combat Action, incredibly satisfying combos! Numerous characters, hundreds of moves! This unique action roguelite game will bring you an experience that exceeds expectations. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes. Reviewed on PC.

BlazBlue Entropy Effect is a stylish, fast-paced roguelike that offers a variety of different playstyles to enjoy for hours.

Food for Thought
  • Stylish and fast-paced, BlazBlue Entropy Effect is a treat for the eyes.
  • The voice acting can be kind of a mixed bag.
  • Stages are relatively short, which means it's great for pick up and play.

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Kazuma Hashimoto
Senior staff writer, translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. Having spent upwards of 6 years in the industry, he has written reviews, features, guides, with work extending within the industry itself. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV. His work, which has included in-depth features focusing on cultural analysis, has been seen on other websites such as Polygon and IGN.