Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Also Available For: Nintendo 3DS
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
After almost 30 years since the original NES game, and a handful of sequels that seemed to lose sight of what the series was, Blaster Master Zero is a great return of an old series that seems to have been forgotten in the last couple of years, and we couldn’t be happier for its return.
Blaster Master Zero serves almost as a reboot of the series, but also a sequel of sorts. Your goal remains the same though as you’ll once again be guiding Sophia III through 8 metroidvania inspired areas as you blast your way through a variety of enemies and bosses all in the name of trying to find your pet frog Fred. The story is full of camp and pretty cheesy, but it does the job and is pretty enjoyable throughout the game’s 10 Hour campaign.
One of the best things about BMZ is its art style. Developer Inti Creates did an amazing job on the sprite work. All the areas you remember from the original Blaster Master are here and they’re looking just as vibrant and colorful as ever. Same can be said for the characters as they look great during cinematic cut-scenes and even in their portraits. Music is also very nice as the tracks are all updated versions of the original music, and don’t stay their welcome too long as by the time a track is starting to wear on you, you’ll already be in another area with a new song.
One of the most notable things about the Blaster Master series is the gameplay shift that happens when you exit Sophia to enter a dungeon area. All of a sudden the gameplay shifts to a top down side scroller with a completely different arsenal at your side. you start off with a basic blaster, but can constantly upgrade your gun by picking up power ups dropped by enemies, although you can easily lose those upgrades if you get hit too much. This makes for an initial approach that encourages being more methodical during boss encounters than just run and gun.
As stated earlier, the game is in the metroidvania genre. This means you’ll be re visiting previous areas multiple times, but finding new paths through them thanks to the great variety of weapons and sub weapons you receive from defeating bosses. Can’t reach a dungeon because you can’t jump underwater? Get through the next couple of areas and then return later. Another nice touch with the game is that just like its NES counterpart, the game doesn’t bombard you with tutorials and instructions like a lot of modern games love doing. When you start the game you’re thrown into the world without hesitation. Don’t worry though, you can always check the controls in the pause menu by pressing -, and later you can even get hints from your assistant Eve on the sub menu screen with +.
Sadly the game is far from perfect and has a couple of notable issues. While at first its smart to be more methodical with the top down gameplay as to not lose your weapon upgrades, this becomes an issue later on in the game as you can easily collect a power-up that allows you to take damage without losing an upgrade. This would be fine, but the recharge rate on the shield is a bit too fast. As a result, not only will you be plowing your way through dungeons with the most powerful upgrade, but this also causes boss battles to be way too easy and a bit anti climactic.
Not only that, but some of the bosses are also nothing but a variety of regular enemies that constantly spawn in a room, and there’s a bit too much for us. The ending of the game also suffers as it pulls a pretty dirty trick on the player at the end of the game. Let’s just say that you’ll be wanting to 100% the game on your first run through.
Overall, Blaster Master Zero is a great comeback for the series, and we wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the franchise return for a couple of more games. While the bosses, and final act of the game do weigh it down a bit, the game is still tons of fun to play and experience. If you’re a Blaster Master fan or even a newcomer to the series, don’t hesitate to strap into Sophia III and get blasting.
Final Verdict: ★★★★