Review – Nuclear Blaze (Switch)

Who doesn’t want to be a firefighter? Okay, surely there are plenty of people who wouldn’t want to. It’s dangerous, pay isn’t that good, and Nuclear Blaze is happy enough to prove all of the thrills of the job without any of the third-degree burn consequences. This cute pixel art side scroller made by the creators of Dead Cells (yep) is all about putting out fires around a nuclear facility, that hides a sinister secret. AN EVIL CHAIR. You might think it’s a joke, but you’ll have to see exactly what I mean in the game.

Nuclear Blaze

It’s so simple, yet it’s effective.

Nuclear Blaze is pretty fun on the first playthrough. There are a lot of puzzles to manage your way through, and it becomes even more difficult when you consider that fire you need to put out spreads if you don’t get of rid quickly. If you take too long the fire will engulf the room you’re trying to put out all over again. The thing is, the first playthrough will go pretty quick, as it only takes about 2 hours to playthrough. That said, there is a reason I keep specifying “first playthrough.”

Nuclear Blaze references

Can’t go wrong with a Dark Souls reference. Also, KITTY!

After a first, and fairly simple, playthrough, you’ll unlock essentially Nuclear Blaze‘s equivalent to a “new game plus” run. This is SIGNIFICANTLY harder, taking you through different rooms with new puzzles and with fire spreading way faster. If you were to stop after a first playthrough, you’re doing yourself, and Nuclear Blaze an incredible disservice. The big thing is the upgrades you’ll get to your hose as you progress, these will be earned in a different order and change up how you tackle certain challenges.

Nuclear Blaze doesn’t look like much on the surface. Little pixel characters put out a fire, it’s quite simple. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find well designed areas, interesting puzzles, and distinct rooms to battle your way through. To put it simply, Nuclear Blaze doesn’t look like much, but it’s really well designed and offers distinct rooms and puzzles without feeling like it’s repetitive. It’s quite good looking in the grand scheme of things.

Nuclear Blaze fire

The Storm: WHAT THE F–

Keeping on with the nonstop praise for a game I was feeling quite cold (heh) towards to a first, Nuclear Blaze’s soundtrack is amazing. It’s insanely catchy. The music and sound effects do a great job building up the atmosphere and tension of a massive and quickly spreading fire, as well as the darker tones a shady facility full of dark secrets might offer. Composer Pentadrangle (also responsible for the soundtrack in Cyber Shadow) did a great job on this soundtrack and I’d highly recommend checking it out, even if you, by any instance, still aren’t entirely sold on Nuclear Blaze after this review.

I really enjoyed Nuclear Blaze, a lot more than I could have ever imagined at first. Despite not being exactly a new release (it was originally launched on Steam nearly two years ago), it feels at home on the Switch. This brand new release on consoles is the perfect opportunity to check it out and give it a go. By and large, it’s already deeply enjoyable on a basic first run, but things get a lot more challenging and engaging once unlocking the “Hold My Beer” mode. You will shout at the game, but won’t be able to put it down.

Graphics: 8.0

Everything is distinct, which can be quite hard with pixel art. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but Nuclear Blaze does look really good in the grand scheme of things.

Gameplay: 9.0

This is an extreme firefighter simulator combined with a sidescroller, basically. A ton of fire to put out, a ton of area to explore, all wrapped up in a secret underground bunker.

Sound: 10

 Nuclear Blaze has an exceptional soundtrack that will be played on repeat for me for quite a while. It’s hard to praise it enough. The sound effects are great on top of that, which is a massive bonus.

Fun Factor: 9.0

I keep going back to tackle the harder playthrough, “Hold My Beer Mode” and it is a real challenge. You will shout at the game, but won’t be able to put it down.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Nuclear Blaze is available now on PS4, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Nuclear Blaze was provided by the publisher.