I have to preface this review by stating that the original Blaster Master is easily one of my top five NES games of all time. Released right around the time I was hitting my peak Nintendo hype, the novel mix of side scrolling platform game and top down shooter blew my little mind. While I didn't own the game until I was much older, I rented that game at least 5 times, and beat it just as many. So when I found out the team at Inti Creates(Mega Man 9) acquired the license and planned on making a new NES faithful game, I questioned whether or not it could be done correctly, or needed to be done for that matter. Let's find out what happened...
Let's get this out of the way, did they remain faithful to the original?
If you would have told me that this game was coded for the NES, lost and then found in some strange storage unit twenty years later, I would have believed you. Everything about this game screams NES, which is exactly what I wanted. The controls are tight(more on that later) the music is glorious, the enemies weird, the sprites glorious, the map and power-ups unfold just as you would expect and the story is the right amount of campy. Staying true to the NES look and feel was the right call.
The original Blaster Master had tight controls, same here?
Yes! To me the game plays exactly like the original, which means it is tight, does what you want when you want and never makes you feel like you died because of anything other than lack of skill. They nailed the feel.
How was it playing with the Joy-cons?
Outside of one odd syncing glitch with my left joy-con (when in grip mode), and a couple instances of not being able to grab a ladder(something that I think the pro controllers d-pad might have handled better) the controllers worked really well. If you only have the joy-cons, you will be fine.
Did you feel like the game challenged you?
My one big knock against this game is, sadly, the difficulty. The only time I felt challenged was the final boss, and even that battle wouldn't have been considered tough by young me. I will say that the boss patterns were pretty cool and definitely hearkened back to a time where trial and error gameplay was king.
Let’s talk about the weapons, did you have a favorite?
Blaster level 9 power-up was easily my favorite, as it will be yours, due to the fact that it fills a quarter of the screen with bullets, which allows you to clear a floor with with ease. Take a few hits however and I highly recommend switching to the lighting bullets. They helped me out of more than a few jams by killing all of the enemies in view, and out, thanks to the way the lighting hits all enemies at once. All of the other weapons seemed like filler, which was a bit of a letdown.
Speaking of favorites, did any of the bosses stand out to you?
Without ruining anything for you I can say that a few of the bosses are really memorable and the final boss is absurd in all the right ways. If you are into old school bosses that have specific patterns you need to memorize, then I think you are going to get a kick out of some of these guys...even if the OP weapons takes some of the fun out of it.
Visually this looks like it a true NES game, did that help or hurt the game?
Keeping this games look true to it's roots is one of the main reasons I am going to recommend this game to every Switch and 3DS owner this year. Had this game adopted a different look, I don't think it would have been half as appealing as it turned out to be.
After finishing the game, did you want more Blaster Master?
Tight gameplay, slick graphics and perfect pacing made me enjoy the hell out of my time with this game, even if it is a bit on the easy side. If you have a Switch or 3DS, buy this game.
RELEASED: March 09 2017 | SYSTEM: 3DS | SINGLE PLAYER: 4:45 | MULTIPLAYER: 0:00
CONTROLS - 5/5
RETRO-NESS - 5/5
CHALLENGE - 2/5
GRAPHICS - 4/5
MUSIC - 4/5
- Pixel perfect NES style visuals
- Weapons aren’t really balanced which is a bummer
- Great Blaster Master story told in stylized cutscenes
- The game isn’t quite as hard as I had hoped
- When the end credits rolled, I wanted more
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