Laika Aged Through Blood First Impressions: Blood, Guts and Bikes

Ali Hashmi
Ali Hashmi
7 Min Read
Laika: Aged Through Blood

Steam Next Fest Summer 2023 is underway, and there are plenty of awesome demos to check out. One of those that caught my eye was the post-apocalyptic “motorvania” called Laike: Aged Through Blood. You follow a biker coyote mother named Laika on a quest for survival and vengeance. In my first impressions of Laika Aged Through Blood, I’ll talk about how felt about this lengthy demo.

Motorbike Gameplay

Laika, the coyote mother, is a road warrior and drives a dirtbike. Almost every aspect of the gameplay revolves around this bike, and I think the tutorialization is great. Each mechanic is slowly introduced to you, and you’re given some time to practice that as well.

Laika Screenshot showing a checkpoint
Checkpoints are plentiful

Laika can deflect an incoming bullet once, and recharge that ability by doing a front flip. She can also block incoming damage using the bottom of her bike, so knowing how to balance your bike mid-air is an essential part of the gameplay. If you land on your head or get shot then that will result in an instant death.

Laika blocking incoming bullets
Laika blocking incoming bullets

When you finally get a weapon, you’ll have to reload it by doing a backflip. There’s also bullet time, and your default revolver’s range is quite massive. This compensates for the pretty brutal combat, and simply learning how to balance your bike, and managing both the deflect and shooting. After some practice though, you’ll be pulling off moves like this:

Laika Combat Gameplay

You will die a lot in the earlier levels, but instant respawn/reload keeps you encouraged. Personally, I’m a big fan of the combat, and it reminded me a bit of Katana Zero in a way, fused with a lot of those early 2000s bike platforming titles. Funnily enough, I had nostalgia for how the bike feels from a mobile game licensed by Red Bull called “Red Bull X-Fighters Freestyle Motocross”.

I love it when a game centers everything around a specific aspect, which in this case, is the bike. Movement, combat, exploration, and even some of the story beats have some relation to this bike, which adds a lot of character to the vehicle.

Art and Music

The hand-drawn artwork of Laika is fantastic. It paints a Western post-apocalyptic world with massive monuments crafted by the different tribes of the areas. The town is full of small details, and each building feels appropriately designed for its owner/inhabitant.

Laika Town Screenshot
Laika’s Town

Laika’s artwork reminds me a lot of a comic I read published by Image Comics called Extremity by Daniel Warren Johnson, which didn’t shy away from showing all sorts of nasty gore either. The color scheme and hues also reminded me of Klei Entertainment’s Shank series.

Laika in an animated cutscene
Laika in an animated cutscene

The character designs are varied and distinct, and I love how much personality each has. It reminded me a lot of Mad Max, with an even higher amount of gore. Despite being a 2D game with cute characters, you’ll see characters “crucified with their guts”, and you’ll also decorate levels with the entrails of enemies after each combat encounter. Laika is usually soaked with blood after a fight, and it certainly adds to the brutal nature of the world.

Laika Screenshot
Laika Soaked in Blood

The music is a highlight here in my opinion, and while the demo only had a few tracks, I was instantly drawn to the composition. There are a few vocal tracks here as well, which are used quite well, and yes, Laika has a “character moves through an environment with a pop song playing, and the camera zoomed out, with the time of day advancing” emotional moment indie games have become famous for as well. I love it.

Characters and Setup

Laika’s introduction is a bit confusing, and you’re dumped into the world without much introduction. We’re told that Pooch has been killed by the Birds, and Jakob is also missing. Laika heads out to find them both while exacting revenge on the Birds throughout her quest.

So far, I like the worldbuilding and the general bleakness on display. The Birds tribe has been set up as the antagonists, and unlike Laika and her tribe, they wear uniforms and have a general military aesthetic.

Birds in unform
Birds in unform

This doesn’t mean it’s all grim though, because the townsfolk in Laika’s hometown are decent people, and her child is pretty cute. I’m interested to see where the story goes from here, and how Laika’s relationship with her child, and mother advances.

Laika and her mum
Laika and her mum


Laika: Aged Through Blood is shaping up to be a brutal “motorvania” with fairly challenging combat encounters, grim world-building, and excellent presentation. I’m excited to see what the developers have planned after playing this lengthy demo, and can’t wait to drive more of Laika’s bike.

You can download the demo on Steam and try the game out for yourself.

What do you think of our first impressions of Laika Aged Through Blood? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

These first impressions are based on the PC Version of Laika: Aged Through Blood. The demo link was provided by Thunderful Publishing.

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Gaming enthusiast, massive Soulsborne fan with hundreds of hours spread across different Soulslike titles, and a passionate writer. Always on the lookout for interesting games with unique mechanics and design especially in the indie space. He loves to write informative guides for newer and ongoing releases.
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