RetroBlazer tells the story of Jonas, an anthropomorphic canine soldier on a quest to defeat the evil Judgment Legion led by the villainous Lokhan. Like any good villain, Lokhan employs a nigh-infinite army of low-level goons to do his dirty work, giving Jonas plenty of targets to blast with his plasma-firing weaponry.
Sitting down for a demo at PAX South, I was struck by RetroBlazer's speed. Parra told me that the game mixes old-school feel with modern sensibilities, but being able to stand in one place and take your time aiming is definitely not one of them. This is an experience where you feel as though you're constantly moving at 45 miles per hour, gliding effortlessly over the terrain. More importantly, it feels good.
In its current state, RetroBlazer
is fast, responsive and fun. It's been a long time since I could strafe fast enough to dodge bullets and even longer since I could cease worrying about aim-down sights on my weapons. It might not be gory, but every hit received and shot fired feels like it has impact, and that's a satisfying feeling to have. Now if only I could see my enemies a bit more clearly and my eyes didn't feel like sandpaper when I blinked.
's aesthetic relies on neon tones. A lot
. And while that's a valid artistic choice, using it for just about everything and anything makes it feel less special when I fire plasma blasts or blow up an enemy robot, because all those colors and effects bleed together. Enemies also tend to blend in with the scenery, and the finer details of their sprites (which feature the kind of '90s-inspired power armor that I really like) are lost.
Still, tweaking visuals is far easier than altering core gameplay, and RetroBlazer
has a solid foundation on which to build. It's currently seeking funding
on Kickstarter, with a campaign goal of $110,000. You can download
an alpha demo via the game's official site to see if it suits your fancy.
[Images: Hydra Game Works]