Review – Blazing Chrome

We live in an era where retro-inspired indie games are literally released every single day. However, it’s rare for one of those games to be good enough to surpass its sources of inspiration in terms of overall quality. Shovel Knight is one of the very few examples. That was a game that looked and sounded like your typical NES game, but featured subtle gameplay improvements that made it play better than pretty much any other game of that era. Developed in Brazil, JoyMasher’s Blazing Chrome is yet another example.

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Heavy robots vs. Aliens. The safest way to make anyone over the age of two as happy as can be.

Upon looking at the pictures in this article, it’s easy to notice that Blazing Chrome has clearly been inspired by Konami’s Contra series. It even looks more like Contra than the recently announced Rogue Corps. The premise is the same: select a machine gun-wielding character, destroy everything in sight, collect new weapons, and avoid getting shot at all costs. You will die in one hit and are given a very limited amount of lives. Blazing Chrome is as ridiculously challenging as any other Contra game, walking a thin line between “challenging” and “absolutely unfair”. But its gameplay is so tight and responsive that you’ll want to restart the game right after losing all of your lives. The fact that you can freely choose any level at the beginning of the game adds up to the replayability factor. If you’re bored with one particular level, you can choose to die play at another.

Blazing Chrome‘s visuals are a treat. The game looks exactly like how a game from the early 90’s would look, but it features graphical enhancements that improve the game’s overall performance while still maintaining the feel of a game from the Super Nintendo era. The game is played on a modern screen ratio and features absolutely no slowdowns, even when there are dozens of enemies onscreen, but it can still fool you by thinking you’re just playing a remaster of a forgotten gem from the 90’s.

If there’s one thing I didn’t fully enjoy in Blazing Chrome, that would be the sound design. The soundtrack itself is actually very good, even if a bit too derivative of what you would expect from a Contra game from back in the day. My main gripe with the sound design however, was with the game’s… voice acting? Can we even call that? The game features some heavily muffled and compressed voice samples that are trying to emulate the sound clips from decades ago. The problem is, they were cheesy and poorly implemented back then, and they feel even cheesier and even more poorly implemented nowadays. That’s one little piece of nostalgia I could have lived without.

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Notice the dust cloud under my character? That means a giant worm will spawn and kill me in less than a second.

There’s not a lot else to say about Blazing Chrome, honestly. It’s a very straightforward game that succeeds at what it was trying to do: be a better Contra than any other Contra available in the market. If you’re angry with the new direction the Contra series is taking, or if you’re just looking for a great retro action title to play on-the-go, there aren’t many titles out there that are as good as Blazing Chrome. This is one of the best retro-inspired indies I have ever played despite its small, but noticeable, share of issues.

 

Graphics: 8.0

Looks like a game from the 16-bit era, even featuring a handful of Mode-7 effects to tickle your nostalgic bone. It also features a few graphical enhancements such as an improved aspect ratio and framerate.

Gameplay: 9.0

The same controls you’d expect from a game inspired by Contra. They’re easy to learn and very responsive. The game’s tight framerate makes things even better.

Sound: 5.5

The soundtrack isn’t bad, but it sounds too derivative of older Contra games. It just didn’t sound very original. The game’s heavily muffled and compressed voice clips just sound way too silly.

Fun Factor: 9.5

Blazing Chrome is stupidly hard, but infinitely replayable. It might as well be the best Contra I have ever played.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Blazing Chrome is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Blazing Chrome was provided by the publisher.

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