Who needs Konami when you've got studios like JoyMasher ready to pick up the slack? Blazing Chrome is undeniably a tribute to the classic Contra series of run-and-gun platform shooters - among my favourites. Big guns and bigger bosses, one hit deaths and the occasional level made out of meat and filled with Giger-knockoff monsters. It's not all Contra though - there's a little bit of Metal Slug in there too, some unlockable ninjas and (of course) local co-op play. Below, a launch trailer featuring some endearingly goofy live-action and stop-motion animated antics.
More than anything, Blazing Chrome appears to be inspired by the nearly peerless Contra Hardcorps, a game that would be perfect if they hadn't removed health bars from the US version. While the inspirations are obvious in the chunky sprite-segments of bosses and the weapon power-up system, there's more subtle nods too, like the very Mega Drive-inspired colour palette. Being a Contra-style shooter means you're looking at a short but boss-heavy game, but with multiple difficulty levels and a pair of (more difficult and technical, apparently) ninja characters to unlock.
While 95% Contra, there's a bit of Metal Slug inspiration in a few driveable vehicles (with their own health bars) and a close-combat melee attack. Otherwise, it doesn't appear to shake up the formula too much. I reckon that JoyMasher (mostly Danilo Dias) is an outfit to keep an eye on. While their earliest games like Oniken had some rough edges, this one seems like a polished, glossy production that wouldn't look out of place on an expensive SNES cartridge. Keep an eye open for the next game, the Shinobi-inspired Moonrider. I have a feeling that one's going to be a bit special.
Update: It's on the PC Game Pass subscription, too.