'Blaster Master Zero' Nintendo Switch Hands-On: Retro Reboot Drops Nostalgia Bombs

Blaster Master Zero is out now for Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Init Creates

Blaster Master Zero released for 3DS and Nintendo Switch earlier this week, and a brief hands-on at PAX East 2017 has me convinced it’s a must-buy title for any Switch owners. There’s nothing more Nintendo than nostalgia, and Inti Creates reboot of the vaunted NES classic Blaster Master has all the feel of the original with plenty of modern polish. And at only $10 it would be a worthy investment for Switch owners who want to get some old school feel from their new Nintendo console.

If you’re unfamiliar, Blaster Master Zero is a side scrolling/top-down Metroidvania style game set in a distant future. You control SOPHIA III, a sophisticated battle mech, in the side scrolling portions and the pilot, Jason, in some side-scrolling levels and in a top-down dungeon mode. This isn’t some nuanced RPG though. You’re going to mash the fire button a lot and collect the occasional power-up or special attack. But don’t think the level design lacks sophistication.

During my Blaster Master Zero hands-on I played the Nintendo Switch version and I’m glad I did. The HD rumble effects added another layer to an old-school style game that isn’t always there. And the levels are really well designed. Sometimes Metroidvania style games can be way too linear and obvious. Thats not the case with Blaster Master Zero. The levels encourage, and reward, exploration. Just when I thought I was stuck I noticed a crawlspace or a cave I missed before. It felt very deep.

There’s been a lot of criticism of the Nintendo Switch launch line-up, and rightly so, but it shouldn’t overshadow the fact that there are quite a few excellent games out there. Is Blaster Master Zero some tentpole game showing off all the power of the Nintendo Switch? No. But it’s a fun, retro experience given enough modern touches so as not to feel dated or uninspired. It’s got a great soundtrack too, and a playtime anywhere from 5-10 hours.

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