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Switch Retro Spotlight: Blaster Master

A genre-defining Metroidvania

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Switch Retro Spotlight on 📺

When people think of classic Metroidvanias, Blaster Master may not come to mind but it should as it's a fantastic example of the genre.

Blaster Master is a classic NES game that's available with a basic Nintendo Switch Online subscription. 🎮

Blaster Master screenshot 1
Watch out; I'm blasting through!

A couple of years after the iconic Metroid debuted for NES, Sunsoft released Blaster Master and it's one heck of a great time. You play as a boy named Jason who pilots a tank that he finds in an underground world after he chases his pet frog who leaps into a mysterious hole. While there, he battles all sorts of mutants and bosses while conquering mini-dungeons that pose quite a challenge on their own. It's a huge and diverse world to explore and finding goodies in the nooks and crannies makes every trek worthwhile. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

One aspect of Blaster Master that sets it apart from similar games is that you can traverse the world by foot as well as by piloting the tank and whenever you enter one of the mini-dungeons, you'll have to do so on your own. The variety of gameplay between on-foot and in-tank segments is impressive with exploration being what you'd expect from a 2D Metroidvania and the mini-dungeons playing more like a top-down Zelda game complete with unique rooms that transition as you move from area to area. As you do so, you'll collect power-ups that make your weaponry more powerful which especially comes in handy when you're facing off against a boss.

Blaster Master Review

Being able to play Blaster Master on Nintendo Switch is awesome not only because it's on a modern console that also happens to be portable but also, you can make save states and rewind the action whenever you wish which will come in handy because Blaster Master is one tough game. In fact, it can be downright frustrating at times, especially when you fall into a pit after powering all the way up or get swarmed by a horde of unexpected enemies. On top of all of that, there's a special edition of Blaster Master that you can select from the menu that puts you at the end of the campaign with a fully-equipped tank which is convenient if you just want to finish it. 😊

Another impressive aspect of Blaster Master is just how lovely it looks. For an 8-bit NES game, watching the tank bounce up and down and Jason blast at enemies is so seamless and attractive that it ends up looking like a modern retro-inspired indie as opposed to an actual retro game; if that makes any sense. It also has a catchy soundtrack that'll get you in the mood for old-school action; top-notch stuff!

Blaster Master screenshot 2
Things turn upside-down in the later stages

Blaster Master is a superb game to play if you subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online. Therefore, if you want to experience a Metroidvania that helped define the genre while also being a great deal of fun then you should definitely give it a go.

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