A shmup of trades. A master of none.
Shoot-‘em-ups or “shmups” can sometimes come across as a dime a dozen. Some certainly stand out, while others just seem to be another entry in the genre. With the Switch’s portability, they are a delight to have on the system. That said, not all shmups are created equal, which is certainly the case with FullBlast.
Don’t expect much from the story here: it’s a bit of dialogue between you, the Commander of your team, and a few of the aliens that provides brief context for the forces invading the world. There are only 3 different worlds that can be played, each with 4 levels, so there is not a huge variety of environments or art direction. In spite of the enemy patterns changing, it still feels old. FullBlast comes across like 3 long levels, rather than smaller, individual ones. A lot of the enemies are either reskins or just the same type repeated over again. The nice thing is that you have a lot of health, which means you’ll be in the level for awhile, as opposed to constantly dying at the beginning, grinding for upgrades, and then moving on from that, which can be the case in many other vertical shooters. Yes, this is a great and accessible title for those trying to get into the genre, but it doesn’t go far beyond that. There is not a lot of variety in difficulty. This is less of a “bullet hell” and more of a “bullet heaven” title.
FullBlast is presented in 4:3 formatting, with your stats on the sides of the screen, leaving the area for movement free from UI. Some of the dialogue was not proofread, as there are a few grammar errors in the text. Outside of that, though, it leaves the field you are shooting in a lot to be desired. I didn’t think that any of the areas, ships, characters, or enemy designs were interesting. Nothing was bad by any means; it was all just very safe and generic. The music is the same rock track over and over and over, and the waves of enemies are all the same. It’s true that this is a common aspect of the shoot-’em-up genre, but if your foes don’t look interesting, what’s the point of playing for hours to shoot and build up your score? They don’t *have* to look like the next Metroid boss, but it would be nice if FullBlast had made some bold choices in its design to help it stand out in a very saturated genre filled with similar titles. That said, the base game is fun. It’s easy and approachable for newcomers. But it doesn’t go all that far in any particular aspect.