Alien Air Assault
Shooters, shoot ’em ups, shmups — we’ve all seen them, and we’ve all played them at one time or another. FullBlast, a vertical scrolling shooter from Spain-based indie studio EnjoyUp Games, is the latest high-powered experience to blast onto the Wii U eShop. But I was curious to know if FullBlast (a mobile game originally developed for Android and iOS) could offer Nintendo fans more than just an average shoot ’em up experience.
For starters, FullBlast won’t blow you away with a unique story line or setting. A robotic alien race has launched their assault and it’s your job, as the pilot of a heavily armed fighter jet, to thwart their presence and restore peace — typical stuff here. The title screen above paints a smaller picture of the grim setting in which the game takes place.
In twelve short levels (each unlocked by completing the previous one), you maneuver your jet through city, forest, and sea-themed environments. After completing each level, your commander appears on-screen to congratulate you before urging you to keep moving to the next area. His dialogue quickly becomes repetitious, however. He says things like “Wow!!, those were tough ones” and “We send the coordinates of the next area” after each level. Overall, the in-game dialogue is poorly translated and consists of numerous grammatical errors. (This did not impact my review of the game, as it did not adversely affect my gameplay experience.)
Relentless mechanical Crab Turrets, Dragonflies, Mosquitoes, and four-eyed Sand Worms are just a few of the bionic baddies that attempt to send you crashing and burning while the game’s heavy metal music engulfs you. Levels are quite lively and offer enough varying colors and patterns to keep things interesting. As with most shooters, power-ups (and power-downs) appear randomly after enemies (Hint: The Moths always drop them.) are taken out. Discovering weapon upgrades quickly takes priority over any other upgrade offered. Each level becomes increasingly more difficult, after all. And once level 7 came around, I found myself starting to struggle a bit. Not having a good weapon quickly forces you to take a defensive stance, rather than a destructive one — playing dodge and retreat with hordes of alien air combatants. For boss fights, the music shifts to a more frantic and climatic tone, adding an appropriate level of stress to the situation. In desperate times, you can launch a Megabomb (if you have one available) to decimate all enemies on the screen.
FullBlast suffers from one of the most important aspects of a shooter: Speed. The pace often felt too slow compared to the quick tempo of the music. On several occasions, it felt like I was pushing the analog stick through cold molasses or sticky syrup. I just wanted to go faster, but couldn’t. And you won’t find speed power-ups to compensate for that, either. The Android version from Google Play was smoother, more responsive, and offered a better overall experience. I’m not a fan of mobile games, but FullBlast definitely felt better on my Nexus device.
Unfortunately, the Wii U version of FullBlast has a nasty bug. I was able to duplicate the issue three times when attempting to achieve a high score in Easy mode. Worth noting, I did not return to base or the main menu screen after each completed level. I’m not sure what causes it, but during the Brain boss fight in level 7, the game makes a high-pitched sound and freezes. I was forced to power down my Wii U from the console itself; the Wii U GamePad lost all functionality. Whenever I returned to base in between levels during other playthroughs, I did not experience the bug and was able to progress normally.
A handful of unlockable achievements, online leaderboards, and a two-player local co-op mode adds to the game’s replay value, but it’s nothing too exciting. And an option for off-TV gameplay gives you the freedom to enjoy FullBlast away from the television.
When it comes down to it, FullBlast is your average vertical scrolling shooter. It looks and sounds decent, but doesn’t bring anything new or creative to the highly acclaimed shooter genre. Gameplay tends to become a bit repetitive and boring and feels slow, but I did find some overall enjoyment in the game.
FullBlast is developed by UFO Crash Games and published by EnjoyUp Games. It launched in the North American Wii U eShop on August 27, 2015 for $5.99.
Review copy provided by EnjoyUp Games