Smite thy foes.
Metroidvanias are known for being tricky at times, and Souls-likes are especially known for being challenging. Blasphemous combines the two into a gruelling combat platformer that does little to explain to the player how it works. This is a tough game which shows no mercy, but get the hang of its systems and its sprawling map and you’ll start to see the holy light at the end of the tunnel. Prepare for penance with our helpful beginners guide, full of tips and tricks to help you get started in the first few levels.
Where to go first
Blasphemous’ level structure is very non-linear at the beginning of the game. You can go in multiple directions and face the first three bosses in any order. However, some levels and bosses are arguably more difficult than others, and better to tackle when you’re more used to the game and have built up more health, heals, equipment and abilities.
It’s recommended to begin with the more straightforward levels in the Suburbs. Then when you’ve defeated that boss, head north to the Enclosed Convent. Finally, explore the depths of The Bronze Frontier.
Explore all doors
Blasphemous is labyrinthine in its level design. Every time you enter a room with multiple exits, have a quick peek inside all of the doors to see where they lead before you start going down a rabbit hole. And don’t leave an area before checking out all of its passages – you might miss something good, and it’ll take time to backtrack there later. Thankfully, the in-game map is quite useful, so ensure you check it liberally to avoid leaving areas unexplored.
Look out for secrets
The levels in Blasphemous are full of secrets. Wherever you go, try attacking all of the walls. Yeah, you’ll look like a crazy person, but there are a bunch of hidden passages which reveal themselves when struck. It’s really important to do this, because a surprising amount of good items and stat upgrades are hidden in these secret areas.
A less common type of secret area also worth looking out for is gaps in the walls you can slide through. Once you squeeze in, the secret room will reveal itself.
How to unlock new abilities
There are a variety of abilities to learn in Blasphemous which make you a more effective fighter, but unlocking them isn’t entirely straightforward. You can only do so at a Mea Culpa statue, and must spend Tears of Atonement to do so. You’ll also need to find and visit Mea Culpa statues to unlock new tiers of abilities, and these are rare. The first one is in Albero, and you can find another at the east side of the Convent of Our Lady of the Charred Visage.
How to avoid taking damage
If you’ve played any Souls-likes in the past, you’ll be familiar with two moves in Blasphemous important for avoiding damage: the dodge and parry. There are a few important differences in how they work, however.
Rather than a dodge roll, Blasphemous has more of a dodge slide. This actually lets you travel a lot of distance horizontally, which is both a blessing and a curse – good for getting out of the way of enemies, but all too easy to slide into another source of damage. Also, while it gives you the standard few frames of invincibility against most physical attacks, it does nothing to avoid magical damage, of which there is quite a lot in the game. Your only option there is to physically move out of the way.
The parry is another method of avoiding physical damage and getting the advantage. You have to time the parry just as an enemy starts to strike – the moment at which they hit you will be too late. You can then launch a powerful counter-attack, and a well-timed parry and counter can sometimes stun your opponent, leaving them open to a finisher.
Attack enemies from below
Enemies in Blasphemous are vicious and plentiful, often able to kill you in just a few hits. But it’s surprising how often you can get the advantage on your opponent by jumping and swiping up at the platform above you. You can kill loads of enemies this way in complete safety.
Watch out for exploding enemies…
The Desecrated Cistern is home to undead men that materialise from the ground. If you attack them they explode, causing a lot of damage – it can kill you in one hit. And they respawn afterwards. It’s best to just jump over them or dodge through them. If you can find the man ringing a bell in that room and kill him, it’ll stop them spawning.
…and enemies that come up from the ground
In the snowy Where Olive Trees wither, there are enemies that leap out of the ground and pack quite a punch if they hit you. Look out for any moving patches of snow, dodge them then attack while they’re briefly in the air.
How to get more heals
To get more uses of Blasphemous’ Estus Flask equivalent, you need to find more empty biliary vessels. You can find an empty biliary vessel in the north-east of the Desecrated Cistern and one in the depths of Jondo, for instance. But it’s not sufficient to just pick one up – once you get one, you have to visit a blood fountain and pay to fill it for the first time. It’ll then automatically refill each time you visit a shrine.
How to increase max health
In addition to increasing your number of biliary vessels, you can also expand your health bar. You need to look for a woman with six swords embedded in her chest – so as above, make sure you explore each level thoroughly to avoid missing her. Each time you find her, she rips one of her swords out of her chest and hands it to you. For some bizarre reason, this expands your maximum health. Yeah, Blasphemous isn’t afraid to be weird.
A couple of locations that she can be found include towards the south-east exit of the Desecrated Cistern, and around where the Desecrated Cistern meets Grievance Ascends.
How to increase fervor
Fervor is the blue mana-like bar that lets you unleash abilities. You can increase this by finding baptism fonts, and it’ll ask you where to “Anoint yourself with theOil of the Pilgrims?”. You can find one of these to the West of the Desecrated Cistern, and another a fair way up the climb in Graveyard of the Peaks.
How to fast travel
Blasphemous does have fast travel, but it takes a while to unlock, and unfortunately, fast travel points are few and far between. The first one you may find is on the east side of Mercy Dreams, and this will then unlock the one in Albero.
Should you get Viridiana’s help?
A woman called Viridiana can be found shortly before each boss. “Will you require my assistance with your next task?” she asks. Viridiana can help you in boss fights with her magic powers. However, taking her up on her offer takes its toll on her. You may want to choose wisely whether you need the help or not…
Don’t forget about the water fountain in Albero
The village you start in, Albero, has a water fountain. For a while, you won’t be able to do anything with it. Return later in the game, however, and you’ll be able to bless certain items.
James, our deputy editor, loves a deep action-adventure game, RPG or metroidvania. In addition to making sure everything on the site is as good as it can be – scouring for typos, tweaking headlines, finding the fanciest images – he’s also in charge of the reviews section.