The Womb Ripper strikes again! Inspired by giallos and utilising low-poly PS1 style graphics, Bloodwash is a survival horror game by Jordan King and Henry Hoare, and published by Torture Star Video.
Played from the first-person perspective, players take on the role of Sara. A young, pregnant woman who lives in a crappy apartment in a crappy part of town. Her deadbeat boyfriend hasn’t bothered to do the laundry so she gathers the clothes and heads down to the basement to do it. Only to find the communal washing machine is out of service.
On her way back upstairs, one of her neighbours tells her of a laundromat across town that is open 24 hours. It’s getting late but Sara really wants to get the laundry done so decides to jump on a bus and go. Setting herself on the path to a showdown with the infamous serial killer known as the Womb Ripper.
Provided you can look past the ugly (but charming) visuals, Bloodwash is an entertaining ode to classic 70s style giallos and the slashers of the 80s. Like those types of movies, the game isn’t coy and tells a very disturbing story. The Womb Ripper is named as such because the killer likes nothing more than to mutilates pregnant women and steal their unborn children. That’s pretty messed up.
The story plays out like a movie too, pacing itself and building tension with the occasional jump scare here and there. It’s a surprisingly atmospheric experience and there will be a few times when it manages to send a chill down players spines.
Gameplay wise, your goal is to wash and dry your clothes but once you arrive at the 24-hour laundromat and start the process, you’re given free reign to explore the surrounding area and other shops. It’s a small area but as you’ve got to wait for the wash cycle to end, you might as well explore. It’s here, you’ll find the majority of the games extra activates. Things to help stave off the boredom while you wait for your clothes to be ready.
Watch TV, read some comics, play some old-school video games, talk to other people, and uncover clues and information related to the area and the reign of terror caused by the Womb Ripper. It’s surprisingly deep and very interesting. Thanks, in part to attention to detail and the fully-voiced characters. While no-one is particularly fleshed out, hearing their voices, as well as Sara’s own does make them feel all the more real.
Like a good horror movie, Bloodwash builds towards the appearance of its killer and when the Womb Ripper does finally enter the fray, the game switches gameplay to something more akin to survival horror. Chased by the monstrous being, survival seems impossible, until there’s no choice but to fight back. While, visually, the Womb Ripper might leave much to be desired, sonically it’s a terrifying villain. In fact, another area that Bloodwash excels at overall is how it sounds – both with its music and sound effects.
Bloodwash is quite short and has no replay value. Most players will complete it within an hour, two at most. Once completed, there’s little reason to replay it again. Even all the achievements can be gained in one playthrough without really extending the length of the game.
This doesn’t detract from the quality of the experience though. Bloodwash is a great horror game.
Bloodwash (Xbox Series X)
The Final Score - 7/10