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PAX East ’16: Blade Ballet Hands-On Preview – The Dance of Swords

April 25, 2016 Written by Mark Labbe

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My little robot’s swords are swinging around and around, around and around as he whirls across the arena. It’s mesmerizing, almost like a beautiful dance, and I can see why DreamSail Games called this game Blade Ballet. But then, another bot slams it’s mace-like weapon into my robot and it explodes, and that beautiful dance image explodes along with it.

The Bots

That’s probably Blade Ballet in a nutshell, or at least that just about sums up my time with it at PAX East 2016. It’s a competitive multiplayer arena game where players are able to take control of robots armed with all types of weapons, including swords, maces, and bombs, as they try to kill each other.

The controls are fairly simple — there’s a button to jump, a button for a special attack, the joystick for moving, and L1 and R1 to make the robot spin around, with its weapon wreaking havoc on anything near it. I only tried out a couple of different robots, with one having a special move that makes it lunge forward, and the other having a special move that makes it spin very quickly.

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As of right now, there are ten different robots, although Emma Larkins, Community Manager and PR person at DreamSail Games, told me “the plan is to keep releasing bots after the game is released.”

“We want to keep the game fresh and new, and keeping making new content for it, like new bots, new levels,” she said.

Stages and Modes

She noted that currently, there are 9 different stages in the game, including one where the robots are skiing down a mountain, battling it out even as a avalanche is threatening them from behind, and another where parts of the stage fall into oblivion, leaving vast open spaces that will kill anything that fall into them.

Larkins highlighted two games modes — “Stock,” where players can customize their game, “like the number of lives, number of matches,” and “Robomination,” a streak-mode where players have to have “the last bot standing a certain number of times in a row.”

It’s a lot of fun, Blade Ballet, and seems like it would be a fun party game, due to its fast-paced gameplay and short matches. I’m looking forward to its release later this year.