Classic games like Contra on the NES appeal to our action movie fantasy of busting out and destroying enemies that stand in our way. It helps when that fantasy is presented in a game with responsive controls and non-stop action with waves of baddies for us to gun down, either alone or with a friend. This is what Blazing Chrome does so well, despite having so many familiar elements being inspired by classics like Contra. But it’s the presentation and application of everything that makes Blazing Chrome stand on its own and not just a carbon copy game. No matter how you look at it, jumping around and blasting everything ahead of you can never get old and boring.
There is a story that gives a basic setup to Blazing Chrome, but the gameplay is the primary focus before everything else. The world is under attack by machines, putting the last group of humans alive on the edge of extermination, and it’s your job to see that doesn’t happen. How can you do that? By shooting and blowing up every machine you see to oblivion, simple as that. The game has a very straight forward approach to this, which works out great for a side-scrolling shooter. While it might’ve been great to see a bit more story to flesh out the characters and Armageddon happening in the world, you’re not going into this game with a deep plot in mind.
So does the gameplay hold up enough to carry the experience? Absolutely. There are six stages you can dive into with multiple playable characters that you can take control of, alone or with a friend in cooperative play. Playing with another person is the best way to experience this, since there are more bullets flying around to deal with the barrage of enemies coming at you. Much like classic Contra styled games, getting hit one makes you lose a life. You can restart a level if you get a game over after losing all of your lives, but don’t expect the game to be any easier because of that.
Like the games that inspired it, Blazing Chrome will test your mettle with its waves of enemies constantly appearing and tough boss fights. You’ll need fast reflexes and cleverly timed jumps to get around some of the harder sections in each stage. Having another player with you can definitely alleviate this, but the game still maintains a solid challenge to keep things active and constantly engaging.
The tools of your destructive trade are exactly what one might expect from a side-scrolling shooter. You’ll have machine guns, grenade launchers, lasers, and much more lying around for you to pick up and use against your enemies. Alongside this are a number of support items such as shields and attack droids that can aid you as the stage progresses. You can only hold onto one support item at a time, but you can store the different primary weapons you find and switch between them on the fly. The controls are very easy to pick up and use, so switching weapons and dodging enemy fire feels natural in even the tensest situations.
Playing the game on Nintendo Switch is very fun and probably the most ideal way to experience it. Besides the portability and how quickly you can get into the action, disconnecting the joycon controllers means you’ll always have access to another controller for someone to jump into the game with you.
Multiplayer can only be done locally with another person, which is a shame because it would’ve been perfect to have any sort of online capability with Blazing Chrome to connect with others over the internet. While that might take away a bit from the heavy emphasis on local arcade action between players, having more options to play the game is always a good thing. It’s a small nitpick, but not one that takes away anything from all the other stuff that Blazing Chrome does so well.
Blazing Chrome is straight forward fun that can be enjoyed in quick sessions or in one longer playthrough. Gearing up to fight hordes of enemies alone or teaming up with a friend-in-arms to do so never once feels old or boring. The presentation is great and the controls are solid for anyone to pick up and play. Everyone will have a lot of fun being facing the challenging boss fights, diving into the fast-paced action, and seeing all the 16-bit visual craziness play out on screen again and again.
This review was based on a digital review code of Blazing Chrome for the Nintendo Switch, provided by The Arcade Crew.