03rd Sep2018

Digital Shorts: ‘Kero Blaster’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Kero Blaster – a Nintendo Switch port of an existing mobile game.

kero-blaster-screen

Whilst a fun game that takes basic run and gun concepts and refines them to a wonderful simplicity, £8.99 for a mobile port could be off-putting for some, even if it’s one of the best mobile ports that I’ve played recently.

Kero Blaster places you in control of a frog with a gun and a mission, well, several missions, really. A silent protagonist who works at a corporation headed by an anthropomorphic cat, he gets sent out to blast his way through various 2D stages in a bid to destroy the boss of the level and ‘fix’ (shoot ‘things’) off various teleporters. The sparse story that book-ends each level is amusing, perfectly matched to the minimalistic visuals which are evocative of the Atari 2600 (in the main character model) and NES era in the other graphical aspects of the game.

Bouncy chiptune music is the order of the day here as you move through the stages taking on enemies, discovering secrets and upgrading your weapons. This aspect of the game is really enjoyably-implemented with the in-game store appearing at the mid-stage points, here you can replenish your hearts purchase extra hearts or perhaps upgrade your weapons, obtain extra lives etc. The design of the game is such that if you are struggling (probably on one of the bosses) when you die you don’t lose any attained wealth and so you can work through the levels whilst piling up the coins to buy extra items to assist you in your next run-through.

The charm and accessibility of Kero Blaster was a plus point for me but I can imagine that the stark, retro visuals and game play won’t be for everyone. The pace of the game was highly reminiscent of the recent Operation Hardcore released on Switch a couple of months ago. Not a frantic blaster but a slower-paced title that can be enjoyed on a more casual basis not reliant on lightning quick reflexes.

As mentioned at the start of this review, the game is a mobile port and I must admit that I usually approach these games extremely warily but in this case, the game doesn’t feel like a mobile title lazily ported over due to its intuitive controls and general approach (coincidentally, also the name of the man I served under whilst in the army).

Kero Blaster  is a fun game that comes it at a few hours, never outstaying its welcome. The stages are split up and varied with multiple boss fights which get pretty hairy later in the game requiring the usage of all the weapons and skills that you’ve accrued throughout. The learning curve is generous and there’s never too much back-tracking when a level is failed. As already stated, the style of the game may put some people off and whilst the music isn’t particularly memorable, if you are willing to pay the price tag, you’ll find an entertaining, compact run and gun game well worth a few hours of your time.

Right, I’m off to find out why my boss is thirty times her normal size, cross-eyed and silent.

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