I got some time with Joymasher’s fantastic throwback shooter Blazing Chrome at this year’s Game Developers Conference. While the Brazilian developer has been around for several years, this is their first title under DotEmu’s new publishing label, The Arcade Crew.
The game is a mix of the classic shoot ’em ups from yesteryear, including Contra and Metal Slug. From the get-go you’re introduced to its fairly orthodox movement and attack control scheme, which features eight-direction movements and your shooting/toggling a weapon.
A staple in these older shoot ’em ups is the option to hold down a button to lock your movement down so you can manually shoot in any direction. This is especially helpful in the more tricky situations where monsters and baddies are coming from pretty much any angle.
The game really gets quite close to veteran developer visual style mostly seen in those older Konami, SNK, and Capcom titles. You’ll see pseudo-parallax scrolling in the background, bullets flying everywhere, and the two sprite-based protagonists: Mavra and Doyle.
All of the pixel art seems to fit perfectly and performs as if you’d see it on an older gaming console. This is true dedication to the original pixel art style, as well as overall performance (in terms of how quickly it rendered and displayed). It really is a sight to behold when there’s a lot going on.
While I only got to play a small portion of the game with its demo, it still packed quite a variety of enemies – including regular baddies, mini-bosses, and full on multi-part boss fights. Each weapon type naturally has its own unique shooting pattern and visual flair.
Progression and level design mostly felt right out of a shooter released in the decade Blazing Chrome is trying to recapture. For newcomers to the shoot ’em up genre, this might be a turnoff as the game is also trying to recapture that classic shmup challenge – and it feels so good!
I will say that usually the character, bullet, and enemy hitboxes were typically fine and I had no issues with my playthrough – however the final boss at the end of the first zone shot out a large green energy blast that seemed to only hit sometimes. Joymasher said they’re already working on it.
The soundtrack for the game, despite the loudness of the showfloor, was thumping and also reminiscent of a classic title you’d be cramming into your Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. I’d even go far to say the range of synths and beats are as close as you can get to an authentic score for that era.
I was definitely impressed by Blazing Chrome, the game comes off as a love letter to the golden era of side-scrolling shoot ’em ups. Despite the games throwback look and feel, a meticulous attention to detail has been put into this title and it shows.
Blazing Chrome is set to release sometime this year, however development platforms haven’t been confirmed yet (the game was running on a PC when I played it though, so expect it to be at least available for that platform).