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Blaster Master Zero chases a frog down a hole and onto PC today

Have tank, will chase frog.

Blaster Master Zero, Inti Creates's excellent re-imagining of Sunsoft's NES classic, has made the leap from Switch to PC today. Having played through both it and its even more excellent sequel on Switch, I'm excited for more people to try it. It's part side-scrolling Metroid-like where you mostly control a bounding future space-tank called Sophia III, except for the parts where it's a top-down maze shooter, as you wander around on foot. It even launches alongside a little bit of DLC, letting you play as Shovel Knight and Shantae, with all their abilities intact. See the trailer below.

While I can't speak for the quality of the port -- it only launched a few minutes ago -- I'll sing Blaster Master Zero's praises as a game all day long. It's bright and breezy stuff, not especially difficult, and only vaguely authentic to its NES roots. Zero tells a bizarre hybrid story with a surprising amount of dialogue. There's elements of the more serious Japanese original (named Metafight) and the kid-friendly US version (Blaster Master) which was about a kid searching underground for his pet frog. The result is a very anime, endearingly daft new canon that the sequel expands on.

Cover image for YouTube video

While mostly Metroid-y, there's little backtracking in Blaster Master Zero unless you want the best ending, in which case you'll need to pick up all the upgrades on the map. Not too hard, as tts world map is designed well enough to only require going off the beaten path a few times. It's a nicely focused romp, with an energetic soundtrack that captures what made Sunsoft's original so catchy. It's just a good, fast six-to-eight hours (give or take) of retro platform shooting, with lots of boss fights. Unsurprising, as this is the studio behind lovely Castlevani-alike Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon.

The only real gripe I have is that the top-down levels can be too easy once you're fully powered up (just by picking up power-up tokens) and too hard when your guns are weak. As you lose power when you get hit, it leads to be a bit of yo-yo like balance. The recent Switch sequel (which I really hope comes to PC too) event this out a lot, even if it doesn't entirely fix it. Something to look forward to, then.

Blaster Master Zero is out now on Steam for £8.09/€8.99/$8.99. The Shovel Knight and Shantae DLC (fun for a second playthrough, but non-essential) are £1.79/€1.99/$1.99 each.

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Blaster Master Zero

Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch

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Dominic Tarason