Raging Blasters is the latest Shmup by developer Terarin Games and published by MoonGlass games to release on the Nintendo Switch, it made waves on Steam and now it’s time to check it out on the Hybrid that can.
Raging Blasters feels like a Shmup that would have released to critical acclaim on the PC Engine/TurboGrafx. The story is simple, you’re tasked with flying across the games 8 Stages and destroy the opposing force, there aren’t any cutscenes or any deeper narrative it’s just a pure arcade experience and all the better for it, nothing quite bogs a Shmup down that cutscenes and boss dialogue.
Visually Raging Blasters looks like something that would have been released on the aforementioned console, it has a distinctive midground look between the beautiful simplicity of the 8-bit era and the chunk and effects of the 16-bit. It’s vibrant and makes beautiful use of colour, marrying them with plenty of explosions and clear bullet design that makes it just smack of a pure arcade experience.
While the stages never get too busy it does start to pick up around Stage 3 in terms of what’s going on but you’ll never be left confused as to what’s going on or what stray bullet killed you.
The gameplay in Raging Blasters is also distilled down to an almost pure form. You have 8-way control, a focused and a spread shot, the ability to speed up or down your ship and several different shots that upgrade 1 level when collecting the same power up, curiously there isn’t a bomb weapon.
The stages seem broken up into waves before a sub boss and then a main boss, you chain kills for higher scores and should you wipe out an entire wave you get a “Cool” message on the screen, as little as it sounds it’s a surprisingly addictive incentive due to the points accrued by it.
The speed of the game and the way the stages are broken up reminds of a game I covered earlier in the year Escatos and the visual style and controls remind me of one of the greatest Shmups “Blazing Lazers” funnily enough that it released on the Turbo Grafx. This game feels like these two titles were brought together and creates such a fun and pure Shmup experience with its pick up and play attitude.
The game has 3 difficulty modes and while the “normal” mode is quite easy, especially as there is quite a low bar for extends, the game certainly ramps up as the difficulty gets higher.
There is also a 3 Minute Score Attack or “Caravan Mode’ where you have to see if you can tackle the online scoreboard in a 3 minute onslaught trying to figure out how to score the highest in a stage roughly based on Stage 2 just with tweaks such as enemy placement and other items to help build score.
Raging Blasters may not be the shiniest Shmup in town but in an era where developers are constantly trying new things with the genre (See DRAINUS review) it’s nice to see that pure, unfiltered and uncompromising attitude shine through and produce a genuinely addictive, pick up and play title that I would challenge anyone to not enjoy.
An absolutely stellar homage to some of the greatest the genre has to offer. Essential