Blast Brigade vs. the Evil Legion of Dr. Cread (Early Access) Review – Run & Gun Metroidvania That You Need to Try

Developed By: Allods Team Arcade

Published By: MY.GAMES

Genre: Run & Gun/Metroidvania

Thank you so much to MY.GAMES for providing a review code.

Metroidvania’s have been on a major resurgence over the last 5 years with releases like Hollow Knight, Ori, and The Blind Forest and so many other amazing games. The mix of platforming, combat and some form of meaningful progression is a perfect recipe for enticing a wide variety of players. With so many Metroidvania’s it can be difficult for new titles to pave their way into the hearts of players, especially because of their existing competitors. Blast Brigade is out now in early access and while there are a few issues to be addressed I think Blast Brigade is a must-play game of 2021. When I say a “must-play game” I don’t mean just for fans of Metroidvania’s, I mean for anyone that wants to try an extremely well-polished game even if it’s your first time with the genre. I know I’m giving some high praise to Blast Brigade, but believe me when I say it’s warranted.

Pros

  • The story is centered around the team of secret agents known as B.L.A.S.T that are sent on a mission to investigate an evil professor on an isolated island. The mission starts off rocky as the team’s airplane is shot down and when you make it to shore only one of them is accounted for Jeff.
  • If you have ever seen one of those “B” movie spy films, then you know what to expect from Blast Brigade. Don’t take that the wrong way, however as I say this as a good thing. The game embraces it’s cheezy story and is constantly making jokes and retaining a lighthearted tone. It’s not a very serious story, but I did find it genuinely entertaining
  • Jeff is the first character you play as and he is the typical “Let’s Blow Everything Up” kind of guy. All of the character’s play a certain gimmick such as the mad scientist, O’hara the pilot who makes the plans, and Shura a KGB spy who isn’t thrilled about teaming up with a capitalist american (that’s Jeff).
  • Once again I reiterate if you take the story for what it’s trying to be you’ll find enjoyment out of it. It’s not intended to be taken as a very serious story.
  • The gameplay is a mixture between platforming, running & gunning and light puzzle solving. As you progress in the game you will unlock 3 other character’s along with Jeff, making a roster of 4 playable characters. Currently two are available them being Shura and Galahad
  • Each character has their own special skills that they can use in combat and for moving around the map. Example is Jeff’s special weapon is a grenade launcher while Shura’s is a laser gun. Meanwhile Jeff stars off with no special movement options while Shura has a grappling hook that can be used to hook onto to specific platforms.
  • Having each character have their own set of abilities to differentiate is a unique and fantastic way to diversify from the usual Metroidvania style gameplay.
  • The guns that your characters use are not differentiated and because of that it’s even more important that the characters have different abilities
  • While you can swap between each of your characters at any time your weapons can only be changed when at a hammock (Blast Brigade’s save points). Here you can choose your primary gun and secondary weapon.
  • Weapons are classified very well as the primary weapons all serve the same use of being fast assault rifle style guns, with medium/long range and large clips. Meanwhile secondary weapons are a bit more specialized and serve to change up your playstyle depending on certain situations. The shotgun does great damage and hits multiple targets but is very close range. On the other hand the sniper rifle has long reach, high damage but a small magazine.
  • Having secondary weapons that are so different from one another allows you to shake up your loadout, whenever you’re dealing with a new situation as every level is very different from one another.
  • Being a Metroidvania Blast Brigade takes place in one interconnected map, but with multiple very different locations. Throughout my time with Blast Brigade I as taken to a beach, jungle, underground laboratory, the sewers, a snowy village, another laboratory, and a desert.
  • The locations are very distinct and have plenty of variations so that the settings never feel dull. Each location has their own set of enemies as well and while a few are shared between one another, for the most part when you reach new location you’re in for a new experience.
  • Each of the enemy designs are very well done and act completely differently compared to others. One of my favorite designs was found in the undergrounds parts of the map where I encountered the armadillo solders. These guys like to roll into a ball and jump up in the air to try and flatten you. Then once their done they will fire a quick shot at you, and to top it all of you they’re shielded while they are rolling.
  • There’s tons of other enemy types from soldiers, to bats, and pufferfish, but it would take me awhile to explain each of their unique traits. What I can say is depending on the type of enemies you’re up against you have to shift your playstyle accordingly
  • The way in which Blast Brigade has you constantly shifting your approach to how you’re playing is really well done and kept me in constant anticipation for what the new level would bring
  • Blast Brigade wouldn’t be a Metroidvania without items to collect and, oh boy there’s a ton of them. Besides new weapons, there are heart pieces to increase your max health, energy capsules to increase your max ability points, and flowers to increase your health potions.
  • In addition to those collectibles, Blast Brigade uses a passive upgrade system called modules to further add onto ho you tailor your playstyle. Hidden around each of the game’s levels are items that look like badges that you add to your spy watch that provide different bonuses. Some examples include magnetizing coins and items close to you, larger magazines and doing more damage for longer distances.
  • Blast Brigade also has lite city building mechanics where you collect toolboxes to build new buildings back at the village you visit in the beginning of the game. Here you can build the shops to use your collectibles on, but you can also build a shop where you can spend your coins. Coins are found all over the map, in chests and are dropped by enemies. With them you can purchase modules, guns and other collectibles.
  • Despite being such a small mechanic in the game I really enjoyed how Blast Brigade pushed me to collect the toolboxes so I could rebuild this little village for my friends to stay in.
  • Progression in Blast Brigade is handled well and introduces new mechanics and abilities often just before you start getting bored of your current ones. Your abilities are rarely ever use for one scenario only and you’ll find yourself relying on your dexterity and wits to complete some of the game’s tougher puzzles and platforming segments.
  • Throughout the game there a puzzles that will come about that usually have some type of extra reward attached to them. One of these puzzles for example involved moving platforms around to block lasers from shooting a robot. The puzzles are quite creative and will definitely test your skill and patience.
  • Combat with many enemies is optional, however you’ll often come across battle rooms that will lock you in until you have defeated a wave of enemies (similar to Guacamelee 2 is you’ve played it). I found these battle rooms served well as a test of my skills and I enjoyed them (most of the time)
  • Usually, towards the end of a location you will be pitted against a boss that’s much more challenging then normal enemies. Each boss has a series of phases where they’ll get a new move or two added to their arsenal. The bosses attacks are well telegraphed and I rarely ever found them to be unfair.
  • The boss designs are also really nice and feel very fitting for each location.
  • Blast Brigade uses a comic book style art design that mixes lots of bright color palettes to make its environments come alive. It’s fresh to see a Metroidvania that goes for a different art style compared to the often used pixel art design.
  • Blast Brigade also has wide array of QOL features such as fast travel, a detailed map that displays locations you haven’t visited, markers for quests and side quests and more.
  • The last feature I will mention is when you lose all your hearts you go back to your last checkpoint but any items or rooms you found/completed stay that way. You only ever have to worry about losing your place and coins.

Neutral

  • Some items when collected do not appear anywhere in your inventory. These items do not seem to have any use at the moment, but the game is in early access and I’m sure this will be addressed as more content releases.
  • Chests that you find only contain coins and it would be nice if you found a collectible or something else in them once in awhile.
  • Blast Brigade is currently in early access and there are 2 acts available currently. Some players may want to wait until the game’s full release to jump into this adventure. However, as of now there is at least 10 hours of solid content to be found
  • Much of Blast Brigade’s dialogue is voiced and while most of it comes across well some voice acted scenes could use some work.

This guy hurt me in many ways

Cons

  • Blast Brigade often relies a little too much on spikes and other “one hit obstacles” to make platforming segments more difficult. While they aren’t unfair they do get a little repetitive and I hope later locations shake it up a bit.
  • Some combat rooms lock you into very small spaces and spawn too many enemies at once. Depending on the size of the room there should be a smaller capacity of enemies that can be spawned at once.
  • There’s no way to mark spots on the map that you want to go back to which would be really helpful for backtracking purposes
  • The fast travel points are slightly too far from one another. Having two per location definitely wouldn’t hurt.
  • Lack of difficulty options means less accessibility for players. While Blats Brigade is not unfairly difficult, it will definitely tests your skills especially for more casual players.
This room happened to be very spacious.

Summary

Story
Gameplay
Visuals & Sound
Accessibility
Replay Factor/ Bang For Your Buck
Unique Game Design

8.5/10

As it stands Blast Brigade is shaping up to be a must-play game especially for Metroidvania fans. Its smooth gameplay along with its colorful visual design make it a genuinely enjoyable experience. There are tons of items to collect and even after completing what’s available of the main game so far, I know that I’m still missing optional stuff that I need to go back and collect. There are a couple of snags that hold the game back from perfection, but remember it’s still in early access the developers still have plenty of time to amend these issues and continue to add quality gameplay elements. Right now I have close to 50% completion of the world therefore I would say the game is a little over half complete. Blast Brigade is definitely a game I will keep coming back to as it continues to be updated. Congratulations to Allods Team Arcade on the release! I look forward to the future of Blast Brigade.

Steam Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1550760/Blast_Brigade_vs_the_Evil_Legion_of_Dr_Cread/

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