Bound by Blades Review

Bound by Blades seeks to combine fast paced boss rush gameplay with a wholesome aesthetic. Do these work together? Read our review to find out!

Published: November 28, 2022 3:26 PM /

Reviewed By:

Bound By Blades Header

I consider boss fights to be the most interesting part of a lot of games. Making a game around boss fights? My jam. I've also been having a recent love for the wholesome game aesthetic. They seem like a weird pair of things to combine, but Bound by Blades promises to do so. Does this odd pairing make for a good combination?

The game opens by telling the story of three clans at war. As they fight, there's an explosion in the mountains, and anyone nearby it is granted magical abilities. However, this magic slowly transforms them into monsters known as Ilcyon. Worse, anyone that fights these monsters ends up as one themselves. There's one exception to this, a warrior named Eldros who is immune to this magic. He makes a peace treaty between the clans and takes one child from each, intending to train them to become The Bound, a band of Ilcyon monster hunters. When their home is attacked and Eldros goes missing, The Bound must embark into the world and find him. The story is there, but there's very little to actually say about it and it's pretty clearly just an excuse to get you to the boss fights that make up the bulk of the game.

Bound by Blades offers three playable characters: bull defender Kota, cat warrior Teo, and rabbit archer Guren. The basics are the same for each character, with them all having a light and heavy attack, a dodge that doubles as a deflect, and a shield. However, there are differences between them. Kota can deal more damage by attacking on a rhythm and charges his heavy attack through blocking, Teo can chain together heavy attacks and if he does so enough he'll dash across the field to a different spot, while Guren can move and attack at the same time and is joined in battle by a spirit that helps fight. There's no "correct" choice here, with each character having a place on the battlefield, though I personally went with Guren.

Bound By Blade Story
They all just need a good petting

Since Bound by Blades is a boss rush game, each level is a boss fight and nothing else. The arena is made up of a rectangle, placing the boss in the middle and you in one of the four corners. You can run along the edges, but you can only stop and fight in the corners. Bosses will launch attacks at you, and you'll have to dodge them and find openings between the attacks to hit them. It's a simple enough gameplay loop.

However, being a boss rush game, Bound by Blades lives and dies based on how good the boss fights are. The first few give hope: a training dummy comes to life and starts to shoot lasers at you, a snake burrows out from the ground and breaths fire, and a slime monster splits into multiple enemies. Those are fun. They're simple enough to be worth playing and showcase some solid design. As the game goes on, however, the bosses feel less like curtailed experiences and more like they're just throwing everything at the screen. They don't really have attack patterns, they just have a bunch of attacks and spam them with little rhyme or reason. One boss, a mage, could summon boulders, drop lightning, create spikes, shoot water orbs, and more. There's no rest from the attacks and no real telegraphing on what will happen next. It's just a barrage of stuff and good luck dodging or finding windows to attack.

Bound by Blades boss
Failing at a Sonic pose

It doesn't help that Bound by Blades doesn't feel good to actually play. The biggest issue comes from the parry mechanic. Simply: even after playing the game I still have no clue how it works. If you dodge or attack when certain enemy attacks are supposed to hit you, you instead parry them and knock them back. Except for when it doesn't happen because the timing window is wonky and doesn't always work. Additionally, you can only parry certain attacks. Which attacks can you parry and which can't you? There's absolutely no indication, so you just sort of have to tank attacks and hope you found one that allows it. All of this leads to a parry mechanic that is simply broken, and when it's supposed to be one of your big damage dealers it's not great.

You can also play the game co-op if you want. Having a buddy makes the fights feel a little better, but it's in that way that having a buddy makes everything feel a little better. You'll deal more damage and if someone messes up it's not the end of the world, which makes the game flow better, but it doesn't fix problems like the broken parry mechanic or the fact that the bosses are poorly made.

Between boss fights you can wander around town, talking to NPCs which usually just keep saying different versions of "good job" and "we always believed in you." You can use items you get from defeating bosses to craft armor or weapons, and you can also visit Dreamland where you can mine more crafting materials. However, there's little to do in any of these places, and you're mostly just supposed to jump into a new boss fight before long. Bound by Blades also features a soundtrack that doesn't really fit the aesthetic at all. The game seems to be going for a cutesy relaxing style, but the soundtrack consists of a ton of dramatic choirs and drums.

Bound By Blades other boss
These lasers go bzzzzzz

Bound by Blades Review | Verdict

If you're looking for a boss rush game, I can't really suggest Bound By Blades over any of the others that exist. While it has a wholesome vibe and online co-op, it also has bad boss fights and unfun mechanics. Games like Furi, Eldest Souls, or Titan Souls manage to do the same stuff, but with more interesting bosses and better mechanics.

TechRaptor reviewed Bound by Blades on PC using a copy provided by the publisher.

Review Summary

Bound by Blades tries to combine wholesome aesthetics with a fast-paced boss rush, but bad bosses and wonky mechanics prevent this from really going anywhere interesting. (Review Policy)


  • Unique playable characters
  • A few good bosses
  • Co-op play


  • Aesthetics and gameplay clash
  • Several terrible bosses
  • Parry mechanic feels awful, barely works

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

Samuel Guglielmo TechRaptor
| Reviews Editor

I'm Sam. I have been playing video games since my parents brought home a PlayStation whenever that came out. Started writing for TechRaptor for 2016 and,… More about Samuel

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Bound by Blades
Game Page Bound by Blades
Release Date
November 15, 2022 (Calendar)
Action RPG