Nuclear Blaze review: turn off your boredom

One of the strengths of indie gaming remains the ability of new games to surprise you out of nowhere. Nuclear Blaze is one of those games. Based on its pedigree, you would think I would have had eyes on the project from its inception. Thanks to the depth of my head stuck in the sand, this wonderful piece of play has been fortunate enough to slip under the radar and I hope this review can help shed some more light on its direction.

Stop falling and rolling

Nuclear Blaze started life as an entry in Ludum Dare’s game jam. The initial entry was built over a forty-eight hour period, and following a positive reception from the community and those close to the author, the decision was made to spend time converting the submission into a game to play. full fledged. Nuclear Blaze is the creation of Sébastien Benard, best known for his work at Motion Twin, the studio behind Dead Cells. Benard was the lead developer and game designer on this award-winning project.

As Nuclear Blaze opens, a helicopter inspects the damage over a wooded area engulfed in flames. Several characters fight the fires and our anonymous antagonist falls from the sky in action. Resembling a creature among us dressed in firefighting gear, the game follows our hero as he checks out the area outside the fire in an effort to help his peers fight the blaze.

Our hero stumbles upon a mysterious military installation and notices burning embers inside. Players then begin the journey to put out the burning facility while also solving the mystery of the facility’s existence and what it was designed to contain. The minute-by-minute gameplay is like many classic metroidvania games, but without most of the metroidvania tropes. There are a decent amount of side-scrolling platforms, special items, secret areas, and more, but the main focus is to fight the fires.

Nuclear Blaze is split into multiple missions as our firefighter hero descends deeper into the mysterious facility. Equipped with a garden hose attached to a small rear-mounted water tank, players push back the blaze while shutting valves, smashing doors, and dodging smoldering debris. Several levels have locked doors that must be unlocked via color coded key cards that are trapped behind burning obstacles.

Unlike Dead Cells and the games that came before it, Nuclear Blaze ignores the RPG elements and mechanics we’ve come to expect from the genre. In fact, the experience is almost devoid of anything other than a burning installation. Despite this, Nuclear Blaze manages to maintain the mystery and intrigue thanks to letters and notes scattered about the installation that closely resemble those in Dead Cells. It offers a few difficulty modifiers, including a mode that even in-game journalists could complete! A kids mode is also available, where failure is impossible and firefighting and emergency vehicles are featured extensively as opposed to descending into mystery.

Graphically, Nuclear Blaze is a straightforward affair. Pixel art takes center stage alongside a few simple fire effects. Depending on the source of the fire, several colors of light from the fire can paint the surrounding walls and hallways of the facility in striking hues. If you’ve managed to goof and walk or fall straight into the flames during your run, most of the adjacent fire tiles are extinguished in a neon particle bath when you die. Dead Cells fans may notice a resemblance between the special items in Nuclear Blaze and the weapon art of Motion Twin’s award-winning action game.

On the aural side of the spectrum, the real star of the show in Nuclear Blaze is the music. Combining an assortment of 16-bit synth sounds and a handful of more realistic samples, the soundtrack can effortlessly transition from editing late ’80s action movies to more idiosyncratic arrangements that continually came out of my headphones. during the reading. Artist VGM Pentadrangle is credited with providing the tunes for the game.

Better to be extinguished than to disappear

Everything was perfect ? Not at all. The biggest frustration came from the gamepad controls. I started playing with my favorite input from the d-pad, but discovered that it was almost impossible to aim the garden hose up to what I pass to the control stick. The adventure also ends just when things really heat up. Nuclear Blaze understands the value of not using a welcome. Just when I had decided I was in love with the game, I was coming to its narrative conclusion. If the idea was to make me want more, then the mission was successful. Because this is still a small independent project based on a game jam submission, potential buyers should understand that Nuclear Blaze doesn’t burn for long, but actually burns twice as bright.

This review is based on the Steam PC version. The game key has been provided by the publisher for review. Nuclear Blaze is now available on Steam.

Chris Jarrard enjoys playing games, playing music, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only real food. Don’t @ it.