We are beginning a new Sunday feature here at MNN that will put the spotlight on a different Nintendo eShop title each week. The games spotlighted can be new or old, and will also be reviewed. We hope you enjoy it! This week, Chain Blaster for Nintendo 3DS:
The simplicity of arcade-style space shooters seems to never get old, as each new title in the genre manages to evolve the same basic gameplay concepts through the introduction of new power ups or a slight variance in the style of play. Chain Blaster on the 3DS eShop is no exception. While the game employs a mixture of gameplay mechanics that calls to mind classics like Space Invaders and Gradius, rewarding new elements are thrown into the mix to make Chain Blaster a worthwhile experience.
In Chain Blaster, players control an anti-virus ship set on a mission to rid the world’s super-computer from evil virus ships trying to infiltrate and use it to launch nuclear weapons. Like Gradius, players of Chain Blaster fire upon lines of enemy ships to receive power ups, in this case building up their Blast Gauge and Extend Gauge, the latter of which effectively serves as the player’s number of lives. Once the Blast Gauge becomes sufficiently full, the player can fire a Chain Blast that has the ability to destroy multiple lines of enemy ships at once. After several squads of enemies are defeated, mini-bosses appear in the form of larger spaceships, and following the defeat of several mini-bosses, the player’s ship is surrounded by a large space station as the main boss. This succession of enemies is repeated until the completion of the game.
Chain Blaster features some elements that add to its replay value. The 3D backgrounds are simple and sometimes redundant, but are also effective at conveying the experience of flying through outer space. Though the levels can be repetitive, enemies become increasingly difficult, and challenging yourself to higher and higher scores can be addicting. The music enhances the thrills of dodging enemy fire, and though the graphics may seem rudimentary to some, they are just right for this style of game, and serve as a throwback to shooters of yesteryear. Also adding to the replay value are two difficulty options, each with a different spaceship to pilot that places its own limitations on the player. In the harder of the two modes, players must initiate Chain Blasts by flying directly into enemies, as their spaceship in this mode lacks the ability to shoot the blasts.
At only $6.99, Chain Blaster by indie developer G-Style is a small but welcome diversion to the 3DS’s meatier first-party titles, and a worthy successor to the Atari and NES shooters on which it is based.