The indie games space has seen great success and growth in recent years, with games like Hollow Knight, Hotline Miami and Celeste being hailed as some of the best in its class. Blazing Chrome, by Brazilian Indie developer Joy Masher, absolutely deserves to be mentioned alongside these titles as the gold standard of how fantastic indie games can be.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Blazing Chrome is a port of an arcade run and gun action game from the glorious 16bit era, with it’s beautiful pixel aesthetic and 90’s action movie tone, the game clearly draws heavily from the Contra series, particularly Contra 3: The Alien Wars, with just a splash of Metal Slug thrown in for good measure. The end result is one of the finest indie games I have enjoyed in recent memory and one that everyone should experience for themselves.
While its inspirations are clear, Blazing Chrome very much has an identity of its own, with a brilliant post-apocalyptic setting, complete with thumping chiptune synth metal soundtrack, spanning 5 missions, all of which are brutally unforgiving in difficulty (with a few modern-day luxuries in the form of checkpoints) but never to the point where they feel unfair. My first play through clocked in a little over 2 hours, but I was immediately itching to dive in again.
Blazing Chrome features 2 playable characters to begin with, Mavra, your standard, no nonsense mercenary and Doyle, a towering robot with a red mohawk, with a further 2 unlocked upon completion of the game on its standard difficulty. Suhaila, a Cyborg and finally, Raijin, a Ninja. All the stereotypes of a 90’s action game are here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The story is easily forgettable in Blazing Chrome, but that’s ok, as the gameplay is such a sublime experience from start to finish that the story is rightly an afterthought. Controls feel tight and precise, a necessity with a game like Blazing Chrome, where the action is frantic and unrelenting from the very first mission. The gameplay maintains its freshness through the 5 weapon variations available at your disposal (not including the characters base weapon; a machine gun) all of which can be picked up in levels and cycled through. If you die, however, the weapon you had equipped is lost. This mechanic does a great job of creating a feeling of tension and strategy. I often found myself opting to use my default weapon through the bulk of a level in hopes of saving my better guns for the boss fights, but at times had to abandon this approach to get through difficult segments with increased firepower. Another layer to the gameplay is the use of vehicles, in the form of mechs, which can found in some of the levels, but these never feel overused or offer enough of an advantage to ever feel overpowered, meaning I never felt deterred from the fantastic organic gameplay experience.
Each level is peppered with an adequate variety of several recycled enemy types, an over the top set piece which could range from an auto scrolling section atop a hovering snow mobile, to a Space Harrier like jetpack segment, to everything in between. All of this non-stop action culminates in a larger than life, screen filling, end of level boss fight, each with their own unique patterns to learn and exploit. The cycle never once felt repetitive and despite dying numerous times, I can say with pleasure that Blazing Chrome always filled me with that “One more go” feeling. I could see the incremental improvements in the way I played, and replayed each level and now that I have unlocked a boss rush mode, along with the 2 new characters, a mirror mode, a speed run mode and a 2 player couch co-op mode I’ve yet to try, there is plenty of incentive to keep going.
Blazing Chrome is an excellent homage to the run and gun games of old, it captures the magic of the 16bit era with such authenticity and serves as a perfect example of how tight and simplistic gameplay can often provide the most satisfying experience.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Nintendo Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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