Nintendad

[Review] Blazing Chrome – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: JoyMasher
  • Publisher: The Arcade Crew
  • Release Date: 11/07/2019
  • Price: £15.29 / $16.99
  • Review code provided by: The Arcade Crew

From the Arcades of Yesteryear

Upon the announcement of Blazing Chrome, the new arcade style game from JoyMasher, the internet couldn’t help but liken the new title to arcade classics such as Contra and Metal Slug; Such comparisons quickly garnered the attention and excitement of fans. Now that the game is here, how does it stack up?

Blazing Chrome is a 2D Run ‘N Gun shooter in the style of the arcade games of old – a style you just don’t see much anymore, but a welcome sight when rarities like this one do reer their heads.

In Blazing Chrome, the world has fallen to ruin and militant machines have taken control, humanity is near extinction and only a small band of rebels are prepared to undertake one last mission behind enemy lines. In this game you are solely responsible for taking down your robotic overlords and bringing freedom back to humanity.

A Challenge, to be Sure, But a Welcome One

Play as Mavra, the human resistance fighter, or Doyle, the robot rebel. Run to the right and slaughter the waves of robotic enemies that will try to hinder your progress, the objective is simple… most of the time; There are some breaks to the formula that provide rich gameplay of a different style, whether it’s an auto-scrolling motorbike action-fest, or a 3rd person bullet hell style shooter, all of the different styles come together to create a fantastically well-crafted experience. But where this game truly shines is in it’s boss battles, every one of them is unique and interesting, with their own attack style that you will need to learn in order to defeat them.

You may need to come prepared with the small, but diverse arsonal of weaponry available, as beating this game is no easy feat. You have a very limited number of lives… well I say lives, but I mean hit points; getting hit once takes away one life, so avoiding any and all damage is an absolute must in this game as the checkpoints can be few and far between.

But there are other difficulties outside of what is intended. Sporting a complex set of controls can come with disadvantages when using a modern controller, and unfortunately that is absolutely the case with Blazing Chrome. While overall the controls are tight and satisfying, the slight nuances in controller inputs can occasionally lead to you performing an unintended action, causing a frustrating death. But the times when the controls do what you want, they work beautifully, the feeling of performing a well timed roll followed by a finishing blast from behind is paramount. I just wish that some actions had their own dedicated button, such a small change would alleviate a lot of headaches.

If you are fairly adept at this style of game, you could probably beat it in just a few hours. Thankfully there are some additional game modes which can add some replayability. You can play this game solo or 2 player local co-op, allowing you to pick up a second controller and play with a friend if that’s your thing. After completing the game for the first time you will also unlock a couple of new characters, hardcore difficulty, a boss rush mode, and a mirror mode.

A Glimps Into the Past

Visually the game is wonderful, boasting stunning pixel art and well designed post-apocolyptic environments, there is little to nothing to be disappointed in from a graphical perspective. The pixel art is not only great by modern standards, but as a love letter to arcade favourites, it feels familiar and nostalgic all the same. One issue I did unfortunately notice with the visuals is that certain animations during boss battles are somewhat janky, with some noticable transitions that seem almost like frame splitting; A small gripe however, and one that can easily be overlooked.

The audio design in this game is sure to send you back to your youth, throwing your parent’s life savings into the arcade machines. The soundtrack feels so 80s that I feel like I’ve wandered into a wormhole and come out in another year. That, coupled with the stylized, grainy audio files during spoken dialogue are so perfectly fitting and authentic, that anyone looking for a blast from the past will not be disappointed. Props to the sound designers, Blazing Chrome does exectly what it set out to do in the sound department and then some.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

I found no bugs to speak of while playing through the stages, everything appeared to work as it should. The game looked great in both docked and handheld mode. In docked mode, however, there were a couple of moments in the final stages where I suffered some minor performance issues, but the problems were short lived and didn’t hinder my gameplay significantly enough to matter a great deal.

Game Over

Blazing Chrome is a wonderful love letter to some classic fan favourites, JoyMasher did a good job in creating a solid game in an old arcade style. With stunning pixel art and post-apocolyptic environments, alongside wonderfully nostalgic sound design, and only a few small issues, this game brings the arcade home in 2019.

Pros

  • Stunning enviroments and pixel art
  • Top notch sound design
  • Fun variations in gameplay
  • Incredible boss fights

Cons

  • Controls can be slightly annoying at times and take some getting used to
  • Very minor performance issues (experience may differ on newer switch consoles)
  • Some weak animations

Verdict
Blazing Chrome is a well-crafted experience, one which holds up against the classic arcade games of old.
4/5

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