Review #006: FullBlast (Nintendo Switch)
Developer: UFO Crash Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Release Date: 09.07.2018
The switch is seeing a resurgence of so many genres from indie developers and one that seems to pair very well is the arcade vertical shooter. FullBlast is brought to us by developers UFO Crash Games and published by Ratalaika Games. UFO Crash Games attempt to throw their hat into the arena that already has a couple heavy hitters, one being Ikaruga. Compared to classic bullet hell games that draw in a core following, FullBlast goes for something else entirely.
Aliens are invading earth and as it just so happens, you’re humanity’s final hope. Now I know the plot isn’t the most original, but you can see right away that FullBlast is trying to thrust its meat hooks into you hoping you’ll get that warm cozy feeling of nostalgia they’re going for. Especially when you see the brain looking alien that bares a familiar resemblance to a certain 80s Saturday morning cartoon bad guy. Cowabunga, right?! Its design and story line are just like many other shmup titles from the 80s and 90s. If you were like me, you’d stand in an arcade dumping quarters into a machine just hoping the end was near. That’s definitely what FullBlast was aiming for, but they just seemed to miss that mark.
If there was a checklist for shmups, then FullBlast was crossing each item off with power ups, bombs, mini and mega bosses all spread out over 12 stages in three chapters. However, as I was playing, I noticed something very odd; I wasn’t dying or being hit that often. For me, this was a misstep if aiming for that core audience that loves bullet hell shooters. What FullBlast did instead was make a shooter that lands somewhere in the middle that allows beginners of the shmup genre to freely dip their toes in without fear of having them blown off.
After the first playthrough, I went back to options and cranked it up to hard and this somewhat fixed the issue. Past the gameplay, FullBlast seems to do most things halfway while others really well. The environments and characters look good on the switch, docked or handheld, but I couldn’t help feel the designs were kind of bland.
FullBlast does implement a health bar which I don’t remembering seeing in many shmups. The power-ups shine through and are cumulative as you go. If the health bar runs out and you perish, then the power-ups go away as well. You’re then back to a pea shooter which isn’t the desired weapon when you come across a mega boss. Bombs are very effective weapons, but you only have one when you start and eventually can grab more throughout the levels.
The music felt a bit repetitive, constantly listening to a hard rock song at an instrumental break over and over. To me, this was another miss that could’ve helped grab more on to that nostalgic feeling if there had been a better soundtrack. The in-game sounds, although generic, sounded good overall.
The Controls are straightforward and what one would expect from a shmup. You've got the ability to shoot, use bombs, and typical arcade shooter movement mechanics.
Overall, I enjoyed FullBlast. Once you move past the pitfalls of the bland design and repetitive soundtrack, you ease more into the warm shmup vibe that FullBlast is going for and learn to like it. It’s a budget title that’s aimed for the more novice shooter fans, but even a bullet hell fan can crank it up to hard and have a good time.
Final Score: 7/10
Download FullBlast from the Nintendo eShop here.
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