Bloodforge is a 3rd-person fighting game set in a fantasy world inspired by Celtic mythology. The player takes the role of Crom, a barbarian warrior on a quest for revenge. The game's main mode spans across 5 levels ending with boss battles. The core gameplay in centered on melee combat with a sword, war hammer, steel claws and a crossbow. There are combo moves, blocking, rolling and evading, special attacks and upgrades for each weapon up to three times, available as the game progresses. Next to defeating the enemies, Crom's attacks can confuse them — signified by an icon above their death — allowing for a gruesome finishing move.
The main currency is blood and it is gathered by spilling as much as possible while fighting enemies. The currency is then used to acquire new abilities with rune attacks that add to the damage. Spilling blood contributes to a rage meter. When filled, a special mode can be activated where time is slowed down and attacks do more damage. Health never regenerates and pick-ups need to be found in destructible objects.
There is also a Blood Duels mode, which allows sending results as ‘Challenges’ to friends via XBLA, for them to try and beat the challenger's score and send back the challenge themselves. Another one is the Challenge survival mode where Crom needs to survive many waves of enemies. Before each wave attributes can be altered that acts as multipliers. The highest score can be exchanged with friends for them to beat in this mode as well.