Thank you so much to Forever Entertainment for providing a review code.
A Throwback to Yesteryear
Back in the 1980s and 90s, there was one genre of game that ruled them all. The shoot em up, or SHMUP genre was everywhere. The Sega Genesis, in particular, was home to some of the best SHMUPs we have seen. Slowly, as different game styles came along, the SHMUP fell away, flirting with obscurity.
Yet, through it all, the genre held onto a dedicated and enthusiastic audience and is now alive, well, and stands a chance to thrive anew on the Nintendo Switch.
But, how does Q-YO Blaster fare? Does it break new ground or bring us rushing back to the memories of our youth, sitting there playing Gradius, Lightning/Thunderforce or, for those in Japan, the classic Radiant Silvergun. Or does it fall flat, condemning itself to be nothing more than a generic clone destined to be forgotten?
Keep reading to find out.
The Fate of the Planet is in Your Hands
A classic SHMUP storyline if ever there was one. The world
is in peril and you are the only ones left who can save it.
While many games try to recreate the impression such classic horizontal scrolling shooters like the Gradius or R-Type series, the team behind Q-YO Blaster followed a different form of inspiration.
Back in 1988, Konami created a self-intentional parody of their successful Gradius series. Parodius was a horizontal shooter that was different from its source material. It essentially put a new twist on the already successful genre. Well received by many, it was this series that seems to have served as the inspiration for Q-YO and the team over at Team Robot Black Hat.
The story sees the earth invaded by bugs from Outer Space. These miniature menaces, somehow have the potential to overthrow the planet, so you answer the call of the robo-hamster scientist and take to the skies, ready to kill all those that rise before you.
Cry Havoc and Loose the Severed Dog Heads of War
Across ten different levels, you will meet a range of different enemies ranging from the easy to the frustrating. Each one is varied and presents a different challenge. Similarly, with the bosses, they are all different and fun. While they all have patterns, no two are the same which does make every encounter a challenge.
Likewise, with the heroes of this story, you can choose from several ships/characters each one looks and plays differently, and yes, one of the ships is a severed dogs head.
Every character has a different core weapon, and are bolstered by a special move that can be fired when enough power coins have been collected, and another that will appear when you hold down the fire button and reach a certain XP level. The lasers shot is definitely best saved for when fighting the bosses.
There’s one additional feature in the game that allows you to transform certain enemy bullets, into coins. This is a great way to get a double up on the laser, if you can time it well enough.
Periodically, throughout the game powerups will appear, bouncing around the screen, begging to be caught. If you’re lucky you can dash to claim them before the tide of battle comes sweeping back in. The powerups offer you the chance to equip any number of weapons, with “Bulletstorm” being a particularly useful one especially when your back is against the wall.
The end of each level, also gives you the chance to select one powerup from an offered selection. Everything from an extra continue, to speed boosts and faster fire rates. I’m sure that on subsequent playthroughs, certain choices are better than others, but I find extra lives are always handy.
Game Modes Make the Experience Twice as Fun
Q-YO Blaster offers several different modes to play.
“Easy mode” is a fun, blast-and-forget experience, offering a total of nine continues before game over strikes. A playthrough on this mode will take around thirty minutes.
“Normal mode” is a little more challenging but just as fun. You get a few less continues, but it’s still more than enough to complete the game in around forty to forty-five minutes.
Completing “Normal mode” unlocks “Arcade Extreme mode”. This offers unlimited continues and a total balls to the wall SHMUP experience for those looking to truly bathe in the glory of brutal space combat.
Alongside these game modes, two-player local co-op is also supported, so you can share the fun with a friend and save the world together.
These options all add a degree of replayability to the game
that only works to its benefit.
A Delightfully Wild Ride from Start to Finish
Q-YO blaster is a 2D action packed experience with a delightful pixel art finish. Each of the ten levels is vastly different and offers a great visual range from a bedroom and a garden, up into space in time for the final showdown with the end boss.
The worlds are colorful and vibrant, working to the game’s benefit, but your potential detriment as you need to ignore the surroundings and focus on not being blasted out of the sky.
The game is a classic SHMUP as it is all about the action, with a story given in short single sentence cut scenes between levels. There will be times when there is so much action on the screen that dodging everything makes playing Cuphead a walk in the park.
Smooth Sailing Through Battle
The game runs well, and while there are momentary frame rate
drops during some of the more hectic battle scenes, they are fleeting and do
not impact the gameplay in any serious way. The game is so frantic that the
moments are gone before you really realize they happened.
Overall Q-Yo Blaster is a smooth experience, with the passage between levels and cut scenes smooth and not protracted. The controls run smooth with little to no response delay, even after you use the speed boost powerup.
Q-YO Blaster is a refreshing title in a genre that is seeing
a resurgence on the Switch. It isn’t going to change the world, and it isn’t going
to blow anybody’s mind with its originality. It sticks to the tried and tested
formula and does it well.
For those looking to spend their commute lost in a good fun
game then this is a great choice. It’s a game that expects nothing from its
players. It has no deeper hidden meanings or messages. It is, to put it plainly,
a game about blowing shit up, and that is just great.