My journey through online video game journalism has provided me with varying degrees of experience that details the time and effort that developers (more importantly, indie developers) put in to strive to keep up with the newest fashion. While not every game can be the new hotness or score a perfect review, indie titles as a whole have grown a lot throughout the years, abandoning the ideology of shovelware and coming into a new light all of their own. A place they can reign without being in the shadow of major corporations and franchises. They may not all be perfect, and some are even worse than that, but they at least try…and Full Blast surely tries.
Full Blast is a top-down scrolling shoot ‘em up developed by UFO Crash Games and published by the awesome folks at Ratalaika Games. It places the player at the forefront of humanity’s rebellion against a devastating alien invasion. The story follows an elite pilot on the mission of a lifetime. You are our last hope. You must save the world; the weight of all life on Earth rests on your shoulders. So no pressure, I am sure you will do fine. It is time to don that snazzy flight suit and strap in. I wish you luck my friend and hope you come back in one peace.
Mechanically speaking, this little shmup does a damn good job and excels at the core concept of the game. Varying enemies and weapons, tons of power-ups (or power-downs, if you are as unlucky as me), and a couple of bosses to tie the whole thing together. It even has a completely cooperative campaign for you and your best pal to play. It meets all the qualifications of an interesting twin-stick shooter. The game even comes in three different difficulties to hit all the demographics. What you are telling me you are a shmup master, well then prove it? Crank that dial up to Hard and show me what you got!
These attributes make out for a great little experience, but I can’t do much other than critique almost every aspect of Full Blast. My favorite and the most innovative characteristic came in the form of the power-downs. Not often have I seen a system that puts in collectibles that intentionally downgrade your character. I mean we all have seen things were you accidentally pick up another power-up after getting the best one, but its main purpose wasn’t for you to be miserable. Making matters worse is how similar these polar opposite objects look, especially in a firefight. The extra chaos that ensues after one of these little buggers flow into you is amazing, requiring careful maneuvering and precision. Is there anything worse than losing half your damage during an important battle? I don’t think so.
Let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum, shall we? I felt that almost every other aspect of the game could have been better. From the lackluster adversary patterns to the overt ease I experienced throughout thought the entire game. I will preface everything by saying I played on Normal and did not experience everything at its hardest, but from what I did see, I could not see much difference besides taking one or two fewer hits. I am all for a family friendly shoot ‘em up that is not too difficult, but I believe it could have been a bit harder without any issues. For the enemy’s movement, I felt that they leisurely moved down the screen. No rushing, no barrages, nothing that could not be easily countered by doing almost anything. It doesn’t stop there either; I found the bosses patterns to suffer the same fate. Interesting design with poor execution and lackluster attack design. I understand that the game was on the cheaper side, but I was honestly expecting a bit more and was left disappointed in the end.
The visuals and soundtrack both fell into this potluck of unfulfilled expectations too. While I really enjoyed the bizarre look of the robotic insects, I felt that the cityscape in the background was not the best. The overall enemy design being off-the-wall was definitely the best part and far surpassed the design of our pilot’s beauty for his maiden voyage. I hate to be only pointing out the negatives, but my playthrough netted very little positives. To be honest, just adding more options or customizations to your characters vessel would have been a plus on its own. The soundtrack and sounds were pretty good but got weighed down by the mediocre voice lines. The music provided an intense feeling that more than needed while playing and added some needed enjoyment to Full Blast. However, the characters did have much personality to them and I found their voices to be drowned by sounds that were much more interesting. They also didn’t speak much outside of the closing of the mission, but who knows, maybe that was for the best in the long run.
In the end, Full Blast is a title I thought would have tons of potential that unfortunately became more mediocre than magnificent. It is priced at $6 USD, which is a great price point to check it out. The game has some potential but be warned: you may be let down as I was. If this seems up your alley, I would try it out. I mean it is only $6, but if you are not fully interested, I am sure it will go on sale at some point and you could save yourself a few bucks. This is a game that I wish I would have liked more but could not just find any silver lining to make it through.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 4.5/10
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