FullBlast Review

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FullBlast is a top-down vertical scrolling shoot-em-up that takes from the arcade cabinets from bygone days.

FullBlast on PC

I have some really fond memories of playing so-called ‘vertical shoot-em-up’ games in the way-back time called the 1990’s. 1945, Aero Fighters, and more were mainstays of my gaming experience. Seeking to capture the essence of these titles, FullBlast brings a healthy dose of nostalgia alongside slick modern graphics. It’s important to note the distinction between these types of games and the similar “bullet hell” genre, but we’ll talk more about that later.

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FullBlast is a traditional, arcade-style shooter putting players into the pilot seat of an aircraft fighting against hordes of alien foes. Allowing for single-player or co-op play, it’s a love letter to a genre that’s fallen by the wayside in recent years. Players will find powerups, deadly bosses, devastating mega-bombs, and all the hallmarks of this classic style of game. The modern polish, pounding soundtrack, and crisp controls do a bang-up job of updating the genre.

Seasoned players of the vertical scrolling shooter or bullet hell genres will probably find the first few stages of FullBlast to be a leisurely walk in the park. Starting things off slowly to allow those who aren’t as familiar with the play style is probably a good move, but it wasn’t until about stage 4 that I started encountering any real difficulty. Of course, the game’s 12-area offering allows more than enough ramp-up for a good challenge as players move on.

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Playing through FullBlast really took me back to throwing quarters into the machines back when arcade cabinets still populated the landscape. The whole feel of the game captures this era in a way I haven’t seen in quite a while. Players will face wave after wave of foes, with each new area introducing new threats to tackle along the way. Each area ends with a bit of dialogue and a battle against a huge, bullet-spraying boss that, in later levels, is likely to test even the most skilled player.

By updating the visuals with a more modern 3D style, FullBlast isn’t exactly a carbon-copy of prior generations. The fast-paced, guitar-heavy soundtrack gets a bit repetitive at times, but doesn’t become so monotonous as to detract from the ever increasing difficulty of the game itself. Of course, if you want to adjust this, the game offers three difficulty levels to take on, so players can either reduce or increase the challenge to meet their skills — something certainly lacking in most stand-up arcades way back when.

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It’s possible that nostalgia has quite a bit to do with it, but I had a great time with FullBlast. Those who miss the genre, or who simply aren’t quick-reacting enough for the more punishing bullet hell style, should certainly give it a look. While the Steam page doesn’t yet boast a price, if it falls near the $3.99-$5.99 on the Wii U eShop, then that’s just about perfect. FullBlast releases for the PC on January 28th.

Score: 3.5/5


  • Great retro arcade feel.
  • Fantastic modern graphics.
  • Less punishing than the “bullet hell” style.


  • Repetitive guitar-heavy soundtrack.
  • Not much variety to gameplay and enemies.

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