Caladrius Blaze, a shoot them up game created by genre veterans MOSS, is a short but relatively fun experience. Styled as a classic shump (shoot them up), meaning that the screen scrolls up and down, which is famous in arcade games, but not seen often on the PS4. This throwback to what we consider to now be retro games is enjoyable, although I am not fond of the shame break system, which I will explain below.
There are 8 different characters to play as, all with their own ship. Each ship has three different abilities, defined by attack, defence and support. All of these types of shots have a meter at the bottom, that fill up over time and deplete when you use them. I personally liked defence shots the most, protecting my ship is generally my top priority and a great defence is a good offence. That’s how the saying goes, right? All the characters have a different elemental shot as well, and killing enemies with these types of shots will make them drop an elemental chip. Collect enough of these, and you will earn an upgrade point which you can spend between stages. You have free reign when it comes to upgrading your elemental skills and I thought it was cool that the shot will change the look of itself after upgrades to make it look more powerful. It is the little things that can make the game more visually satisfying.
The story is quite short, and with only six stages, with three additional special ones, this game could, frankly, do with a bit more. These stages are unlockable and playable within one hour of turning the game on, so considering the price of the game, I would not say it is worth purchasing at full price. The length, coupled with the uncomfortable shame break damaged the games quality for me, personally.
The shame break is supposedly an additional entertainment factor in Caladrius Blaze. As you damage your opponent, their clothes will tear and eventually fall off. The humiliation of having your clothes stripped off of you in scenarios where you are being attacked and dominated over is why it is called the shame break. It made me very uncomfortable to be stripping down characters as I humiliated them, so I, putting it short, could have very much done without ever playing a game with this included. The shame break was probably put in the game as a form of fan service and it will definitely only appeal to a certain type of person, and whilst many people have found it quite entertaining, many reviews have this as a complaint, so take this as a warning about that.
Aside from that, the action in the game is appealing. The core mechanics make for a good game, and the play style is a solid attraction. The boss battles are fun other than the hyper-sexualised shame break, and considering you can play this co-op with a friend, the game does its best to draw in a big audience. Also, considering how many collectables there are, if you are interested in collecting them all, it will take you at least a few hours to do.
Other than that, the game is rather repetitive, and whilst it is visually appealing and has a fitting soundtrack, I do not think it is worth purchasing at full price. It will attract the retro veterans, with a void they need to fill for shoot them ups, but to the general gamer, do not bother with this game while it is full price.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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