Bursting from within, a destructive contagion! Jason Frudnick returns for more mutant-crushing action! In this review, we examine if Inti Creates’ Blaster Master Zero 2 can shine like a supernova on Nintendo Switch!
Blasting Off Into The Great Unknown
While Blaster Master Zero previously took place underground, this sequel sees Jason and his android companion Eve exploring the stars instead. Due to events from the first game, Eve’s body is now succumbing to an aggressive mutant corruption. With no options for a cure left on Earth, the duo take flight in their new space-faring tank: The Gaia-Sophia.
Of course, the classic tank gameplay from Blaster Master Zero remains intact – with some fun additions. The Gaia-Sophia can now gain SP (for using special weapons) whenever it takes impact from attacks or high falls. However, running out of SP will shut down the Gaia-Sophia – which leaves it vulnerable to double damage. This adds a novel risk-or-reward aspect to combat, where players need to budget their SP carefully.
Jason can also move on foot through smaller dungeons – which switches gameplay to a top-down perspective. Like the Gaia-Sophia, Jason boasts some new tricks in the form of the ‘Blast Counter’ – which players can trigger whenever a marker appears over enemies. This allows Jason to slip away from attacks, while firing quick shots in retaliation.
And he’ll certainly need such new tricks, because Blaster Master Zero 2 introduces some devilish bosses. I found myself repeating boss-fights around five to nine times before finally learning to exploit their openings – with one particular battle even taking me an hour or so to overcome.
However, it was rarely frustrating to lose. Rather, I only gained renewed motivation to try new tactics and reduce my slip-ups. In short, boss battles are more like fun puzzles to bump your head against.
A Beautiful Final Frontier
Inti Creates is renowned for their amazing pixel artwork, and Blaster Master Zero 2 only proves that they haven’t lost their mojo. The alien realms that Jason and Eve visit are always bursting with personality and color, be it on jungle planets or decripit space colonies.
Beautiful worlds invite exploration – and I found myself engrossed with searching every corner for new secrets. Thankfully, hidden areas and items are pretty intuitive to uncover, so even newcomers can enjoy Blaster Master Zero 2 as their first Metroidvania experience.
Platforming veterans won’t find themselves bored either, as there are some cruel stages hiding in the game. For instance, one optional level requires players to jump from ladder to ladder without falling even once (i.e. instant death). Essentially, those that want to 100% the game will have to exercise some patience and grit to succeed.
The overall structure of the game world also sees an overhaul since Blaster Master Zero. Instead of one giant labyrinth – levels are scattered around as planets on a space map instead. While purists might grumble about the experience being broken up into smaller chunks, backtracking to find items is also less tedious as a result. It was liberating to not trudge through a confusing maze of dangerous traps all the time.
All in all, the universe of Blaster Master Zero 2 is more refined than its predecessor, with small tweaks to keep exploration tight and rapid. Whether intentional or not, this quicker pace also mirrors the tense tale of Jason trying to save Eve – which was a main highlight for me.
As mentioned earlier, the plot of Blaster Master Zero 2 revolves around Eve’s mutant infection – and it’s to Inti Creates’ credit that they never let players forget that. Namely, the developers sprinkle many scenarios throughout the game which emphasize her worsening condition.
When the duo arrive in Area C, for example, the Gaia-Sophia becomes too burdened to provide medical support to Eve – prompting Jason to search for an upgrade to alleviate the issue. Other times, talking too much to Eve will make her fall asleep due to exhaustion. These fine narrative touches kept me glued to my screen with suspense, and Inti Creates used the drama to good effect.
That’s not to say that Blaster Master Zero 2 doesn’t have its lighter moments, however. Jason and Eve meet several new friends in space – who are also fellow tank pilots like themselves. These encounters are often an excuse for boss battles and some fanservice (see Kanna the potted-plant girl above), but their hilarious antics really help to alleviate the loneliness of the pair’s space quest. Most fans are excited for possible DLC that will allow us to play as these other pilots – and so am I. Inti Creates has successfully expanded the Blaster Master universe, and the future of this once-dead franchise looks bright.
Finally, at the risk of uttering spoilers, I must say that the game’s true ending left a huge impact on me. Upon reaching the story’s climax with the correct conditions, players will experience an awesome role-reversal that takes all their weapons away – turning the final leg into a challenging gauntlet. From then on, the story takes a heart-wrenching turn – where Eve’s bond with Jason is tested to its limits. Players looking for a feel-good tale will not be disappointed by the game’s explosive conclusion.
Blaster Master Zero 2 seriously holds the potential to stay a timeless classic for years to come. From exhilarating boss battles to engaging alien worlds – everything collides to form an unforgettable space odyssey. With a price tag of just $10, this fantastic sequel is also an absolute steal for newcomers to the series.
The game’s unique visual style and lovable cast members only serve to draw players further into Jason’s struggle to save Eve – a motivating drive which eventually culminates in one of the most satisfying finales I’ve experienced in a long while. It takes true (blaster) masters to craft a sequel this good – and hopefully, we won’t have to wait long Inti Creates to return with more!
- Gameplay is extremely tight and snappy, and rarely loses its momentum.
- Bosses are challenging, but invite players to learn and improve.
- Most levels are engaging to explore, while still being manageable.
- Inti Creates’ pixel art continues to feel more alive than most gritty AAA titles nowadays.
- The story is full of charming moments and characters, with an amazing finale in the true ending.
- One or two optional levels can be a little cruel.
Verdict: Don’t judge this soup by its simple appearance. It has all the right ingredients in perfect harmony – and you’ll end up hungry for more. We highly recommend any fan of platforming games to dig right in.
Soup Temperature: 9/10
A review code was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.