Skip to content

Laika: Aged Through Blood Is A Combination Of Bloody Excitebike And Furry Mad Max


The unique Metroidvania features a vengeful coyote on a motorcycle

Laika: Aged Through Blood appears to be the type of game I would normally avoid at all costs. It’s a bloody and violent Metroidvania starring an anthropomorphic coyote on a motorcycle, or “motorvania” as the developers prefer to call it. It makes no concessions to the need to ride, shoot, spin, and land in perfect sync. I’m completely useless at it.

And yet I can’t seem to stop playing. That’s partly because I haven’t gotten very far into the game, but it’s also because I’m still having fun despite the fact that I can’t seem to stay on my bike for more than a minute at a time. Every time, I simply pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again. Rinse and repeat.

While I keep emphasizing Laika’s difficulty, it’s critical to understand that this is not hyperbole. I can’t count how many times I died just trying to get through the first section of the game before it even started. It’s like playing a lethal mix of Excitebike and Super Meat Boy starring John Wick, combined with Mad Max and a fursona.

The gameplay is in the post-apocalypse style.

The world of Laika: Aged Through Blood is a crumbling post-apocalyptic wasteland occupied by your tribe. The game doesn’t sugarcoat it, and it’s clear from the start that horrible, terrible atrocities have been committed against you and your people – and the opening prologue is just one more in a long line. And there is still more to discover as you explore further.

Despite the setting’s admittedly dark and gloomy backdrop, Laika: Aged Through Blood’s actual environment is a gorgeously rendered, richly layered, hand-drawn world. While the natural inclination is to speed through it – after all, you’re on a motorcycle for much of it – and there’s a solid patina of dust and viscera to nearly every surface, there’s also a lonesome beauty to it all if taken slowly.

This is what initially drew me to the game and kept me going after the initial wave of failure after failure. It’s beautiful to look at, and the soundtrack is fantastic; both made it a little easier to accept that, yes, lifting my bike too much could cause me to flip over and die.

The Landscape reminds one of Mad Max.

Yes, successfully navigating a given encounter necessitates being able to time my flip (how you reload) with my shots (which slows time so you can aim) as well as my speed and angle (you have to hold a button to turn a different direction).

But when all of the mechanics come together and you manage to chain together a series of flips, shots reloads, and landings, overcoming a section of the wasteland you thought was impossible… It’s unlike anything else. And, while the game is unquestionably punishing and brutal, it does not linger. Respawning is fairly quick, and it frequently sprinkles checkpoints you can attune with across levels, so you’re rarely, if ever, too far away from where you bit the dust, literally and metaphorically.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish Laika: Aged Through Blood. My job and personal life frequently leave me with little time to play games for fun; the game release schedule is jam-packed from January to December, and something new is always on the horizon. But even as I write this, I’m trying to figure out how to get past the swarm of angry birds with guns that has me stuck. And I’m sure I’ll be thinking about Laika long after I’ve finished playing it.