Blaster Master Zero 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 30.05.2019

Review for Blaster Master Zero 2 on Nintendo Switch

Blaster Master Zero was one of the first eShop titles available on Switch when it launched in 2017. Since then, the talented boys and girls at Inti Creates went on to release several other retro-inspired action games like Mighty Gunvolt Burst, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and Dragon Marked for Death. These guys have been doing this sort of game design for a long time and they are some of the most reliable when it comes to delivering some fast paced, stylish 2D action. Blaster Master Zero 2 continues this trend and improves on the original in every way possible.

The story of Blaster Master Zero 2 picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of the first entry. Jason has secured his dimensional frog, "Fred" and his android partner, Eve has contracted a corruption to her system. When this sort of thing happens in a videogame, it is a guarantee everyone is going to have a bad time, something thatsignifies the start of a new adventure. This time Fred will prove to be useful, and now the SOFIA III has been upgraded to G-SOFIA, which can now travel into outer space. Why would Jason want to do this? To find the planet where Eve was built, and hopefully find a cure... with the help of a few new friends, as well.

As per usual, Blaster Master Zero 2 has three distinct modes of play that will be switched to throughout this six-to-eight-hour quest. The standard 2D platforming tank gameplay that can also have Jason hop out where he is extremely vulnerable and cannot survive any fall damage from drops that are greater than his own jump, and, finally, the overhead shooting sequences. Each style has its uses and the game constantly has opportunities to use them all, especially in the small planetoid levels which function as one-off challenge stage with a power-up to collect at the end.

Screenshot for Blaster Master Zero 2 on Nintendo Switch

Overhead areas will take up about 40% of the action, since these are peppered throughout every location. For the most part, the core game is using G-SOFIA, and thankfully its mechanics are the most fleshed out. Playing as Jason when it isn't a bird's eye view is a huge liability, since he is extra weak in this state as a puny sprite, and will die instantly from falls. Naturally, this means the developer sought to implement many cheeky instances where players will find it necessary to play as Jason in this state while exploring the many planetoids.

Screenshot for Blaster Master Zero 2 on Nintendo Switch

Just like its predecessor, Blaster Master Zero 2 opts for the NES pixel art aesthetic. Blacks are heavy and liberal, and the colour pallet is mostly authentic with several exceptions. Sprite animation and detail is where the visuals far exceed what was capable on '80s Nintendo hardware. Every issue that was a drag on the Blaster Master Zero has been addressed. The overhead segments are much more enjoyable now that Jason has much more options in combat. Being able to counter attack almost every enemy and boss makes him much more flexible, since these stages are designed with a control scheme that still doesn't use the twin-stick shoot 'em up configuration. Jason still can strafe and fire his cache of weaponry and he is going to have to since now this is a much more challenging game that the first. Thankfully these overhead sections are mercifully brief. Of course, these chunks of gameplay are meant to break up the real meat of the action: tank platforming and shooting.

The standard Metroidvania formula has almost been abandoned in Blaster Master Zero 2. Instead, users will be travelling around in space, picking stages from what is effectively a map screen. Navigating the levels is made so much faster and easier, thanks to each zone being a separate and isolated planet. After so many similar 2D action games pushing hard on backtracking and having everything connect to each other, Blaster Master Zero 2 feels like a breath of fresh air. Naturally these planets are not interconnected like the main world in the previous game. Each area operates more akin to a small level that has some interconnectivity and will almost always require a return trip at some point in the future when Jason and company acquire some new ability for his tank. G-SOFIA is more versatile and mobile than ever now. It can wall-jump like Ryu Hayabusa, and even hover great distances. The platforming gets very challenging since this tank's inertia causes it to take a bit to come to a complete stop, but in the hands of a pro it will yield great fruit. The loose handling gives G-SOFIA a real sense of weight, especially when slamming down on a hard surface from a great height. The crunchy retro sound effects are extra satisfying when accompanied with the Switch's HD rumble.

Screenshot for Blaster Master Zero 2 on Nintendo Switch

If there was one aspect that Blaster Master Zero 2 can surprise anyone with that it would be the boss battles. Inti Creates went nuts with some of those, with some being unable to fit in the screen or require Jason to go inside them. The scope of some of these battles can go beyond expectations, and sometimes will have users get back up from other characters to help save the day. This kind of spectacle just was never seen on the NES, and Blaster Master Zero 2 shows what it might have been like. Overall, anyone who enjoyed Blaster Master Zero is going to relish this much more refined and challenging sequel that trims off the fat.

Screenshot for Blaster Master Zero 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Blaster Master Zero 2 is the much improved sequel the original deserved. Everything here is superior to to it, to the point where it renders it redundant. The story has more going on with actual NES-style cut-scenes with beautifully drawn pixel art. There is a cast of friendly weird aliens that have amusing banter with their own side-kicks, and drive a respective vehicle too. There is even an alternate ending for completionists to earn. Some may lament that this is more level-based than the sprawling interconnected original, yet by focusing on the strength of mechanics and flow of the action, Inti Creates crafted a much more exciting title. As far as 2D action games on the Switch go, Blaster Master Zero 2 is up there as one of the better options.

Developer

Inti Creates

Publisher

Inti Creates

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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