Not all games need to be a sprawling open-world or narrative-driven epic to be fun, just look at the success of games like Angry Birds and Temple Run. Now, Forever Entertainment and ENTERi is hoping to have the next game to be a focused experience, one which captures imaginations and hooks onto the addictive nature of gamers, with its simple yet addictive game; Mr Blaster. Available on Steam and the Nintendo Switch, you must defeat all of your opponents in duels across space until only one shall remain.
Highly inspired by the ‘Worms’ games, with similar combat mechanics and the spirit of the light-hearted yet slightly violent humour, is this the next great simple indie game?
There’s not much to say in terms of the story except that you’re battling other random enemies and trying to conquer their platform (planet). There’s a solo mode, where you play on your own against random AI bots that get increasingly more difficult, or you can play the multiplayer mode which lets you battle a friend locally using the joycons. Unfortunately, unlike the Steam version of the game, the Switch version has no online mode or leaderboard, meaning you can’t prove yourself to be the best Mr Blaster, or as I shall call it, the Master Blaster.
The gameplay, as previously mentioned, is very reminiscent of Worms. You stand rooted to the spot while you pitch your throw with angle and power to try and get a hit on to your opponent, with the first person to empty the opponent’s life bar being crowned the victor. Depending on where you hit your opponent you will do more damage, with headshots being the most damaging. It’s a simple concept but there is actually a degree of tactics to it, especially with the obstacles that surround your platform. You can try to destroy the objects to make later shots easier and risk dying first, or go all out for the kill depending on how well you have the physics covered.
You’re presented with three ‘zoom out’ options per battle, allowing you to get a better idea of how to efficiently line up your shots during key moments of the battle. You take turns to throw your projectile, watching your opponents take their best shot, but it’s played at a decent speed so you never feel like you’re waiting for too long before you get another turn. Between throws, there are some daft and amusing animations. Either you miss your shot and have an avatar of the opponent dance at you for being awful, or you land your shot and trigger some hilariously over the top ragdoll physics that are weirdly satisfying. It’s not game-changing artillery play but it’s definitely fun and is a great little mechanic that is enjoyable to practice, especially when you start landing trick shots.
As you progress, you’ll begin to earn stars which act as the in-game currency. If you hit the more damaging areas of your enemy then you earn more stars with each hit, so it pays to aim well. With the currency you earn, you can buy some amusing avatars that change your appearance with some of them resembling real-life icons. There are references to Roger Federer, Marilyn Monroe and even The Joker, all complete with their own silly little names to accompany them. Some of them even have their own special power, such as adding an explosion to your throw to give you a distinct advantage. It adds a bit of depth and another reason to keep playing, to earn those stars and try out all the characters and their own unique weapons.
As well as the characters having some interesting designs, the game itself is quite pretty with some very colourful surroundings that add depth and shine to the game. This is coupled with some funky music that you can change that has a very groovy sci-fi beat to it that accompanies the combat and setting very well. The battle sounds are also effective, if a little simplistic, with nothing ground-breaking. However, they certainly did the job well enough to add a bit to the immersion.
I did, on multiple occasions, experience a game-breaking glitch, which is crazy since it’s such a simple game. Sometimes, when I was hit, my ragdoll body would not rebuild itself correctly, effectively ending the game. Since I couldn’t respawn, not only did I have no physical presence for the opponents to aim for, but I also couldn’t have my turn because I was invisible/missing and clearly couldn’t aim or fire my artillery! This resulted in me having to quit quite a few events, which was frustrating, as even though it was funny the first time, it stopped me having as much fun as I could have been. There were also occasions where I would take damage despite not being hit, which was frustrating but didn’t really take much away from the fun, overall.
Mr Blaster is really simple to pick up and play by all ages, and also super fun with friends. I don’t think it’s quite going to match the success of games like Worms or Angry Birds, but it’s certainly a decent little game to pass the time. It’s the kind of game that fully suits the portability of the Switch, especially if you’re travelling on a train with a friend and want something to do; you can play against each other with the joy-cons. After short periods, I found myself wanting something with a bit more substance, there are only so many times you can keep throwing the same object at someone’s head before it becomes repetitive, but the grind to earn more characters definitely makes it feel more worthwhile. The animations are funny, the characters look great and the game is a simple piece of brilliance and at just £1.79 – you can’t really go wrong.
Mr Blaster isn’t going to give you hours and hours of play, but for that little bit of time on journeys or on an advert break from your favourite TV show, it justifies its place on your Switch.