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Blazing Chrome Review

Official Score

Overall - 80%

80%

Packing retro aesthetics and just the right amount of challenge, Blazing Chrome is the best run-and-gun in years. Though it is a bit on the short side, it perfectly encapsulates the pure kinetic energy that put the genre on the map.

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Those with a dying thirst for run-and-guns, rejoice: JoyMasher and The Arcade Crew have answered your prayers with their new title Blazing Chrome. The genre has been taking a power nap since the days of MC Hammer and Pogs – does this game make up for lost time?

Blazing Chrome Review

The far off year of A.D. 21XX isn’t looking too hot. The Great War happened decades ago, and humankind was on the losing end. As one of the members of the Resistance Camp, Marva teams up with the “converted toaster” Doyle to fight back as humanity’s last hope. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but the plot is just an excuse to blast away everything in sight.

And blast away you shall. Even on Normal, enemies in this run-and-gun come at you from all angles. Though the goal of each stage is to progress to the end and take down the boss, the sheer amount of fire, lasers, and creatures lunging out at you make this anything but easy. Each character goes down in one hit too, so protecting your hide is of the upmost importance.

Of course, both Marva and Doyle have the proper tools for the job. A default blaster gets the job done, but power-ups dropped by crates can help give these characters an edge. Some are more powerful than others – while lasers and whips are certainly deadly, it’s the Grenade Launcher that levels the playing field. Some may think of this as imbalanced, like the Spread Shot in Contra or the Laser Gun in Metal Slug; however, power-ups disappear if equipped when dying, so think of this mechanic akin to a glass cannon.

Support also comes in the form of Bots and robots. Coming in the form of Attack, Defense, and Speed, these Bots are welcome additions that change things up. Players can also hop into giant robots, which possess additional firepower and can take a handful of hits. Certain areas offer areas that allow players to use these robotic allies’ skills to net additional power-ups, so it pays to be diligent.

Blazing Chrome will take players through six different stages, with players choosing the order of the first four. There’s certainly no shortage of variety – speeding trains, comm towers high in the sky, and snowy outposts round out the lot. The game likes to keep players on their toes too – one section will have players manning a jetpack, while another has players navigating threats on a hoverbike.

Note that although the game is on the challenging side, it is never unfair. During our playthrough on Normal, we were able to restart from multiple checkpoints, making things manageable. Bosses all have tells, and though there can be multiple enemies and threats at any given time, a mixture of memorization and muscle memory will help players come out ahead. Of course, if this proves to be child’s play for the veterans among us, a Hardcore mode can also be unlocked.

Rounding things out is a stellar presentation that combines retro aesthetics with modern touches. The attention-to-detail is striking – everything from the scaling to the digitized voice samples feels like a Neo-Geo or Genesis title from the 90s. It never looked dated though; all of the work that went into designing its robotic threats gives it a timeless look. Just be warned that enemy fire can blend in, making navigation a bit tricky.

After completing the game on Normal or above, players can add their score to the Leaderboards. For those looking for more, a Mirror Mode, Boss Rush, and two additional characters can be unlocked.

Packing retro aesthetics and just the right amount of challenge, Blazing Chrome is the best run-and-gun in years. Though it is a bit on the short side, it perfectly encapsulates the pure kinetic energy that put the genre on the map.

This review of Blazing Chrome was done on the PlayStation 4. A digital code was provided by the publisher.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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