You’re waiting. “—44, 45, 46—” And waiting. “—47, 48, 49, 50!” And waiting. “Ready or not, here I come!”

And with that handful of words, your heart leaps into your throat. What is it about Hide and Seek that’s so stressful? It’s just a game. So why does it feel like life or death? Developer Winnie Song is recreating that pulsing paranoia with BADBLOOD, a split-screen dual to the death. Each player is both hider and seeker, hunted and hunter. Wipe the sweat off those palms. This time the stakes are a little higher than playground bragging rights.

Let’s get one thing straight: BADBLOOD is co-op, but not “cooperative.” This isn’t Sardines. You’re out for blood. The game understands that, in the midst of the hunt, the honor system is the first casualty. Players are constantly tempted with a clear view of their opponent’s screen. Are you really going to throw out years of moral guidance and upstanding family values just to sneak a quick peek? Duh. You can watch The Brady Bunch and talk about your feelings later. Right now, you’re busy with murder. BADBLOOD incorporates cheating as a basic gameplay mechanic. Yes, you can see what your opponent sees, but what’s North for you isn’t North for them. Use the differing orientations to your advantage or fall victim to directional warfare.

Don’t think you can just go traipsing through the fields until you run into someone. Strategy is your greatest weapon. Move too quickly and you’ll rustle the grass around you. Move too slowly and you might as well lie down and wait to die. Each action has a cool down period, so plan carefully or you’ll end up on the wrong end of a one-hit kill.

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If you get bored with the “Find & Kill” style of play, mix things up with “Hunting Season” mode. Instead of hiding and seeking simultaneously, one player becomes the predator, while the other hides as the prey. After 30 seconds, the roles switch. With dynamic randomly-generated environments and 4 unique playable characters, no 2 sessions are the same, maintaining the thrill of the hunt indefinitely. Amidst a variety of malleable factors, remember that BADBLOOD only has one rule that never changes: kill or be killed.

You can find out more about BADBLOOD on its Steam Greenlight page or development blog. Tread lightly.