Developed By: UFO Crash Games
Published By: Ratalaika Games
Category: Arcade, Action
Release Date: 9.7.18
Fullblast for the Nintendo Switch is the first game from developer UFO Crash Games, and it’s a pretty good first effort. Top-down shooters are a particular favorite of mine, despite how bad I suck at playing them. Luckily for me, UFO Crash has created a balanced, attractive game that even my meager skills can play without feeling like a chump. On normal. I’m still garbage when I bump it up to hard.
Someone Set Us Up The Blast – The FULLblast
Aliens! They have invaded earth once again. Our only hope is one brave pilot named, um, Pilot. His amazing skills with a high-tech jet are the only thing standing between Earth and total ruination at the hands of crustacean-themed alien spaceships. It’s a pretty standard plot, sure, and the writing isn’t exactly sharp. There are a lot of Zero Wing style grammatical oddities, which I feel give the game a little bit of charm. It isn’t overwhelming, mostly because there isn’t a lot of dialogue or text in the game, but it did bring a smile to my face whenever I came across it.
Just Hold Down the Fire Button and You’ll Be OK
Fullblast is pretty much your standard shmup. You play as a pretty cool-looking jet from a top-down angle. Enemies scroll across the screen in a set pattern, and you fire bullets at them while dodging the ones they fire at you. Along the way you can collect power-ups for your weapon including multi-shots and spread shots. You can also collect bombs that allow you to call in airstrikes from allied ships. These bombs are the rarest power-up of all, in my experience, so you’ll want to use them sparingly. You can also collect extra lives, point multipliers, and shields, among other items. So, Like I said, it’s all pretty standard for the genre.
There are also a couple of online components for the game, which can be fun. First, there are leaderboards for each mission, so you can see how you stack up against players from around the world. There is also a multiplayer mode, which is just as much – if not more – fun than the single-player campaign. I guess it depends how much you like your partner. Still, I had fun with it.
But just in general, I had a blast (puns always intended) with this game. The controls are smooth and responsive, although at times I wished the damn ship would move faster. Maybe adding a boost meter or something would help the pace of the game, but I want to stress that this is a minor inconvenience at worst, and more likely is just me being a whiner. The guns’ rate of fire always feels adequate and balanced. It really is a solidly-built game.
Fighter Jets Are Always Cool
Fullblast’s store page touts its graphics as being a throwback to 80s and 90s arcade shooters, and I can see the resemblance in the game’s backgrounds. As the ruined cities and jungle battlescapes scroll by I see the influence of games like Xevious and the top-down sections of Thunder Blade. The 3D-modeled elements of the background don’t interfere too much with that impression, but the slick models for the player’s fighter and the alien ships sort of breaks that illusion. Still, the vehicle designs are cool and the enemies had a neat crustacean theme (remember the Decapodian ships and Mobile Oppression Palace from that one episode of Futurama? Kind of like that).
The soundtrack is just one long guitar solo, or at least it felt that way when I was playing. Still, who doesn’t want a guitar wailing in the background as they blow up wave after wave of alien invaders? The sound effects are the clearest throwback to old-school arcade shooters. The guns and explosions just sound like they’re right off of an old sound card. Altogether, the game wears its influences well in a way that doesn’t totally rely on a sense of nostalgia for the games that came before it.
Fullblast doesn’t have any touch or motion controls, so you can play it docked or undocked as you prefer. I don’t really have a personal preference for single-player mode, either. However, I’d recommend playing with your Switch docked if you play with a friend. I always have an easier time tracking which guy is mine on a bigger screen. But then again, I already said I sucked, so maybe you won’t have that problem.
TL;DR: Solidly built shmup.