Laika: Aged Through Blood Review- A Post Apocalyptic World with a Deadly Dance Combant and Immersive Storytelling in Motorcycle Metroidvania Games

Laika: Aged Through Blood thrusts you into a world that’s seen better days, now a bleak and unforgiving post-apocalyptic landscape, and it doesn’t let you forget that fact. The pain and suffering of this world are woven into a tale of reluctant revenge and desperate survival, conveyed through the mournful lyrics of its outstanding soundtrack and echoed through the barrel of the protagonist’s revolver. All of this while you’re soaring through the air on a motorcycle, leaving a trail of carnage in the wasteland.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
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While it can be unrelentingly challenging at times, Laika skillfully blends its gratifying combat, exquisite music, and emotionally charged narrative into a vivid, blood-soaked action game that exceeds the sum of its individual elements.

Navigating a Treacherous 2D Metroidvania on a Motorbike in Laika: Aged Through Blood

Laika takes a clever approach to the 2D side-scrolling metroidvania games genre, where the majority of your exploration is conducted while riding a rugged motorbike across perilous terrain. Whether you’re rumbling along broken highways, racing up the trunks of towering trees, or performing daring loops along old rusted pipes, Laika employs a well-balanced bike physics system reminiscent of the Trials series. The game consistently introduces inventive twists in its level design, challenging you in unexpected ways by taking your bike where it wasn’t meant to go while testing your ability to adapt quickly, eliminate threats, and execute perilous jumps.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

Let’s not sugarcoat it: You will die a lot in Laika, and a good portion of those deaths may result from mishandling your bike to the point where embarrassment becomes the actual cause of death. Perhaps you leaned back too far while attempting a rad wheelie, tried an audacious spin off a ramp that was way too low to the ground, or simply face-planted at a blistering 0 mph. Just as the Super Mario series won’t let you progress far without mastering the art of jumping, Laika doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to demanding that you genuinely understand and respect its physics. This means being in a constant state of alertness, ready to reposition your bike after each jump, ramp, or incline, even when facing a barrage of threats.

Balancing Difficulty and Progression in Laika: Aged Through Blood

You might think that the death toll in Laika sounds like a recipe for unadulterated frustration, but the game smartly incorporates elements that cushion the impact of its challenging gameplay. Checkpoints are generously spaced, allowing for a swift return to action just moments after a brutal demise. These checkpoints are opt-in and conveniently located, ensuring you can get back on track without excessive delay.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

Laika also takes a departure from the traditional approach of confiscating all your hard-earned currency upon death. Instead, it merely drops a portion of your total currency, affording you the opportunity to die more than once and still reclaim your lost assets. Furthermore, you can enhance the number of bags that your currency is divided into upon death. These design choices transform the experience of dying from a frustrating setback into a quick reset, akin to confronting a particularly intricate and violent puzzle: How do you navigate a series of three consecutive ramps, dispatch every adversary in your path, and safely reach the destination?


Deadly Dance in Laika: Aged Through Blood 

In Laika, the true magic unfolds when you successfully navigate its intense encounters. Picture yourself soaring through the air, swiftly dispatching foes with precise shots, all while executing acrobatic backflips and parrying incoming bullets. Your ultimate landing is a grotesque masterpiece, marked by an extravagant pool of blood. Combat in Laika is an inseparable companion to bike movement and handling. The two are entwined in a harmonious dance, and neither can exist without the other.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

Even the act of reloading your firearm’s meager ammo capacity is an exercise in high-octane flair, demanding a mid-air backflip. This not only looks incredibly stylish but also encourages you to perform daring stunts. The reward is an ample serving of slowed-down bullet-time, allowing for precise aiming before delivering the killing shot.


Laika, the titular coyote, epitomizes a glass hand cannon: capable of dishing out one-hit kills but perpetually one stray bullet away from a respawn at a checkpoint. Yet, developer Brainwash Gang doesn’t leave you defenseless, providing a variety of tactical tools. A quick bike drift can block incoming hits, and a single reflective parry can be recharged through a frontflip, adding a layer of split-second decision-making to your daring maneuvers. Tilting your bike allows incoming bullets to harmlessly bounce off the bottom, as long as you remember to land upright.

One notable design decision is the targeting reticle, which includes a small arrow indicating your bike’s orientation. When positioned to land poorly, it turns bright red. Amid the chaos of battles filled with bullets, blood, and explosions, this smart feature enables you to simultaneously focus on targeting and positioning. It plays a pivotal role in helping you avoid scenarios that could otherwise slam the brakes on your certain victory.

Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, Laika: Aged Through Blood offers a diverse range of terrains, each accompanied by exceptional hand-painted backdrops and intriguing level challenges. Whether you’re navigating the treacherous mountain switchbacks of Where Iron Caresses the Sky or skidding over crumbling junk while fending off gun-toting birds in Where Rust Weaves, you’ll find each landscape offers a unique experience. In true metroid(motor?)vania style, the regions you explore frequently branch out and interconnect in new ways, creating compact, dungeon-like areas that feel reminiscent of a Zelda game.

Laika’s Unique Worlds – From Open Roads to Tight Temples

As you journey through Laika, the diverse landscapes offer distinct gameplay experiences, ensuring that riding your motorbike through rusty ships or mysterious temples feels inherently different from the open road. The game successfully captures this shift in pace, introducing tighter rooms with increased enemy placements, prompting you to carefully choose your primary targets. The adept camera work is noteworthy; it zooms out at the right moments, providing a heads-up of impending dangers, and expands the field of view in particularly challenging rooms to encompass the entire screen. These dungeon areas present enjoyable challenges, such as navigating volatile gravity-defying air vents or triggering collapsing floors to forge new pathways.

However, not all elements of these dungeon segments are equally delightful. For instance, the ship area’s heavy reliance on tightropes, which require frequent wheelies for safe navigation, starts to feel overly demanding. This design necessitates juggling the often unpredictable balancing rope physics while combating enemies attempting to end your life.

(Video Credit: PlayStation)

In addition to the dungeon sections, Laika boasts towering and grotesque boss fights. These visually striking and imposing adversaries reside in inventive arenas, providing engaging encounters. The fights vary from navigating half-pipe rooms or halls for quick reloads between strikes to the thrilling challenge of constantly moving sections. Outrunning a colossal Mole Made of Sadness while dodging missiles until the opportune moment to perform a cinematic midair shot to its exposed weak point consistently delivers a thrilling experience. Bosses like the mole or a battle that involves scaling a lighthouse tower ahead of an armored crab beautifully blend bike handling and combat with a gauntlet of obstacles.

Despite these exhilarating moments, there are occasions when boss encounters become somewhat frustrating. Some bosses have long sections between opportunities to inflict damage, and any death forces you to restart from the beginning. This can lead to irritation when a minor mistake results in several minutes of gameplay to reach that last sliver of the boss’s health. Additionally, particular boss arenas, characterized by their small size, a single tiny hump for reloading, gutters in every corner, and a hail of projectiles to avoid or shoot, can feel overwhelming, with the developer potentially introducing a few too many obstacles simultaneously.

Acquiring New Weapons and Upgrades in Laika: Aged Through Blood 

During Laika’s ongoing battle against the imperialist bird army, you’ll have opportunities to obtain essential weapons and upgrades that not only bolster your capabilities but also unlock previously inaccessible areas. The shotgun, in particular, stands out as a surprisingly useful addition. Its knockback is powerful enough to facilitate short hops over terrain where ramps may be lacking. The shotgun introduces exciting risks in combat, allowing you to choose between killing your momentum at a potentially inopportune time, gaining increased airtime for reloading, or dodging incoming projectiles by propelling yourself out of harm’s way just in the nick of time.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

While the shotgun stands as the most impressive addition, the other weapons also offer a welcome variety in how they handle and fire, with their unique characteristics and applications. Upgrading the ammo capacity or the degree of spin required for reloading proves worthwhile and enhances your combat abilities. Unfortunately, the hookshot, while intriguing in concept, falls short of its potential. It can only attach to highly specific targets, primarily serving a limited role in a side quest and a single dungeon. The hookshot feels underutilized since it could have been used more extensively for grappling onto enemies, resources, or ledges.

The Deeper Layers of Laika’s Story

Laika brilliantly intertwines its narrative with gameplay, significantly enhancing the overall experience. The protagonist, Laika, is a captivating character who quickly draws players into her story. As a coyote mother armed with a bike and a gun, her journey begins amidst the aftermath of a brutal attack on her village. Her initial response is to avoid a full-scale war, but the game progressively unravels her trauma. Her curse of immortality becomes a fundamental element of her character, transforming her into a warrior hero out of necessity, not by choice. This exploration of her character’s complexities adds depth to her blood-soaked odyssey.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

Laika’s relationships, especially with her family, shine in the game’s narrative. The contrast between her daughter’s innocence and the harsh world around her is emotionally striking. Laika’s efforts to protect her daughter’s innocence amidst a cruel reality provide a poignant contrast between lighthearted moments and emotional gut punches. Her aging mother’s pragmatic approach to preparing the child for the harshness of war contributes to the sense of an overwhelming burden on Laika’s shoulders. Her journey takes her to dark places, highlighting the extraordinary lengths an immortal coyote warrior will go to ensure her loved ones’ safety. The game’s immersive storytelling stands as a compelling and emotionally resonant aspect of Laika.


The Community of Where We Live in Laika

Laika’s immediate family is not the sole group she must protect in the wasteland; her unique curse makes her the ideal guardian of the aptly named Where We Live – a moniker that characterizes the naming conventions in this world. This place serves as a peaceful and welcoming hub for Laika to return to after her challenging journeys. Where We Live is inhabited by a diverse cast of quirky characters, each facing their own set of problems and needs. The village offers numerous small quests that players can undertake on behalf of its residents.

Laika: Aged Through Blood Review
(Image Credit: Google)

These quests often don’t follow predictable patterns and outcomes. In the harsh and unforgiving world, resolutions don’t always end on a happy note. However, the game also presents moments of hope and happiness in unexpected situations. While some quests may seem mundane, such as searching for seemingly irrelevant objects in the world, Laika’s perspective on them reflects their significance – the difference between living and merely surviving.

Laika’s interactions with her mother stand out as particularly engaging. Their dysfunctional relationship, coupled with the revelations about Laika’s past and the impact of their family’s curse, add depth and emotional weight to the narrative. Laika encourages players to take the time to engage with these side quests and form connections with the characters, ultimately enhancing the overall experience.

The Verdict

Laika: Aged Through Blood offers a unique and captivating take on the metroidvania games genre. It immerses players in an unrelenting motorcycle journey through a violent and bloody wasteland, where death-defying combat plays a central role. The game’s world is beautifully hand-painted, providing a visually stunning backdrop to the narrative, which explores themes of revenge, desperation, and survival.

The game’s mechanics demand players to quickly become skilled at handling the bike while simultaneously taking on multiple threats. Frequent checkpoints provide some reprieve, ensuring that overcoming challenges is always within reach. For fans of 2D exploration and platforming, Laika offers a compelling and worthwhile adventure across open roads.


Q1: What is Laika: Aged Through Blood, and what genre does it belong to?

A1: Laika: Aged Through Blood is an action game that takes a unique approach to the 2D side-scrolling metroidvania genre. Players navigate a post-apocalyptic world on a motorbike, blending challenging bike physics and intense combat.

Q2: How does the game balance its challenging gameplay with player progression in Laika?

A2: Laika offers challenging gameplay that might lead to frequent deaths, but it mitigates frustration with generously spaced checkpoints. When you die, you only lose a portion of your currency, and you can enhance the number of currency bags. This approach encourages quick resets and strategic thinking.

Q3: What is the central theme and narrative of Laika: Aged Through Blood?

A3: Laika explores a post-apocalyptic world where players take on the role of Laika, a coyote mother seeking revenge and survival. The narrative delves into themes of trauma, immortality, and complex relationships, enhancing the character’s depth.

Q4: How does Laika incorporate its storytelling and world-building with gameplay?

A4: The game seamlessly intertwines its narrative with gameplay, offering emotional depth to Laika’s character and her relationships with her family. Where We Live serves as a hub for various side quests and characters, allowing players to connect with the wasteland’s inhabitants.

Q5: What sets Laika: Aged Through Blood apart from other metroidvania games?

A5: Laika stands out with its unique approach to the genre by combining bike physics and intense combat. Players must navigate treacherous terrain on a motorcycle while facing numerous threats. The game’s beautifully hand-painted world and engaging narrative add to its uniqueness.

Q6: What challenges and criticisms players will face in the game Laika?

A6: The Laika can be challenging, leading to frequent deaths, especially when mishandling the bike. Some boss fights and certain dungeon sections were identified as occasionally frustrating, with long gaps between opportunities to damage bosses. The hookshot, while intriguing, was seen as underutilized.

Q7: What are the strengths and highlights of Laika: Aged Through Blood?

A7: Laika is praised for its unique gameplay that blends bike physics and combat. The emotional depth of the narrative and character development adds to the game’s appeal. The game’s world is beautifully hand-painted, offering visually striking backdrops. The integration of immersive storytelling with gameplay and the engagement with the characters in Where We Live were highlighted as strengths.

Q8: What are the main takeaways and recommendations for Laika: Aged Through Blood?

A8: Laika: Aged Through Blood is recommended for players looking for a unique metroidvania experience that combines bike physics, challenging combat, and an emotionally resonant narrative. It offers a rewarding and compelling adventure for fans of 2D exploration and platforming in a post-apocalyptic setting.

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