Space Blaze

Space Blaze Review (Switch)

Game: Space Blaze
Genre: Action, Shooter, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4)
Developers|Publishers: United Independent Entertainment
Price: US $19.99 |CA $26.99|AUS $ 45.00| € 29,99|£26.99
Age Rating: EU 7 | US E10+
Release Date: 5th December 2019

Space Blaze was a labor of love made to harken back in the day of 80s shoot-em-ups. You move a ship through the auto-scrolling level, shooting enemies as they fly from offscreen, and build up your score/gun level.

Yes, Charles is my name. And I got a higher score than that since.

The scrolling map of Space Blaze has un-shootable obstacles from large asteroids to giant metal constructs. They can destroy you if you don’t move out of the way in time, and can make it just a bit harder to shoot the other enemy ships.

Warning! Boss Ahead!

The bosses are divided into phases that it almost feels like a game of Cuphead. You constantly focus your ship guns to the weak point while flying and avoiding their attack patterns. The first boss, a giant worm, lured me into a false sense of security this way. It didn’t do anything as I shot it in the eye for about a full minute. Then it slowly upped its bullet rain potential and actually shot down my last life.

But I realized I was doing an error in that you can switch between different weapon loadouts and do more damage to a boss with one set over the other. There’s a certain puzzle mechanic to this that can make the game fun.

Choose your Weapon

You can gain upgrades for your three loadouts from canisters you shoot. Sometimes you can even get smaller ships to fly alongside you and offer more firepower. Your upgrades cap after a certain level, and any further item you pick up goes to your high score, which can help getting extra credits/lives.

Each weapon also comes with a sort of super move that can clear the screen very quickly, with only a few number of uses. The upgrading of weapons is a fun gauge of progress that makes taking down the later enemies feel satisfying, but it is a double-edged sword.

Full power spread shot

The problem with this level up is that if you lose even one life, you are effectively crippled from your full damage output. This makes boss fights harder as you can’t easily regain your gun levels, making them go on longer.

Not to mention it’s hard enough just getting through the shooting sections of the level because the ships can and will fly up towards you and drain your life very fast. This is especially annoying since while this game can let you continue at a later day as long as you have credits, it’s not feasible to do so. You won’t get the upgrades needed to help you survive the later levels otherwise.

Some final, minor notes

Space Blaze supports co-op play, allowing you and a partner to work together through the levels. I never played the co-op myself, but I assume this was a throwback to old shooter games of two ships flying through the same map and working together.

Space Blaze

Other than that, the non-gameplay mechanics are forgettable. There’s no story to speak of, the soundtrack is just serviceable, and the graphics like with the lava in the second level are very cheaply made. As long as you just focus on the enemies and bullets, these shouldn’t even come up to your attention.

Final Score

Space Blaze is hard, and practically requires you to start over if you die just once. Upgrades make going through the later waves easier as they get stronger and fire more bullets your way. The game has some mechanics, but I wish they weren’t so hard or archaic.

Verdict: Kind of like it

I like it

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