Ever since its Kickstarter in 2017 people have been abuzz around Blasphemous – a platformer featuring beautiful art, an interesting pseudo-religious setting and a mix of gameplay from Metroidvanias and Soulslikes tied together with a lot of hacking and slashing.

If all of that sounds interesting to you, the wider public can finally give the game a try, for free, thanks to a demo that was just recently released on Steam.

This comes after a campaign from developer The Game Kitchen, which asked the community to reach 50 000 new Steam wishlist additions for its game.

The community seems to have responded because a little over a week later and the demo has been released. As explained in this announcement, this is a limited time demo that will go away come 1st September, which is a real sham because we played it and it’s a great time.

Firstly, the inspiration of the FromSoftware games is evident. Blasphemous has its own versions of bonfires, flasks, respawning enemies, and a system for reclaiming currency on the spot where you were killed.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have anything new to offer. This game is an absolute treat to look at, if you have the stomach for some gore. Every enemy type is beautiful, in a depraved kind of way and the environments – especially the architecture – is beautiful.

Equally pleasing is the combat. It’s simple on the surface with basics like jumping, dodging and a a simple sword swipe that can be chained into a combo. As you progress through the demo, however, you will learn that it’s deceptively complex.

Players can equip Prayers, which are powerful attacks that require Fervor to use. Fervor can be charged up by beating up on enemies, but at any time some precious HP can be sacrificed to instantly gain Fervor.

While the Prayers are extremely powerful, this isn’t something we’d necessarily recommend, because Blasphemous is absolutely brutal. We can’t recall the last time we died in a demo, but we did many times here. From extremely tight jumps to groups of enemies and numerous traps, everything in the game world of Cvstodia wants you dead.

Soldiering through and exploring does reward the brave player with numerous pieces of equipment as well as landmarks like stores and shrines where your main weapon can be upgraded.

We particularly like the Rosary Bead system, which allows you to slot in game modifiers you find or buy to tailor how you play. One of these modifiers displayed how much health each enemy had (not something that is show by default) which gave us more information in battle so we knew exactly how long to risk being locked into a combo for.

The demo should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete, but this will vary wildly depending on how many times you die, if you decide to look for secrets (which are present in the demo) and if you want to go sightseeing.

Regardless of how you decide to play, we do recommend doing so. Head on over to the Blasphemous Steam page and click on “Download Demo” to get going.

If you’re similarly impressed by the demo, Blasphemous will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam and Xbox One come 10th September 2019.