Monday 12 June 2023

Nuclear Blaze Review (Switch)


I’m not sure many had the follow up to the much loved, and continually expanding, Dead Cells to be a puzzle platformer based around putting out fires. But that’s just one of the many things that separates the creative minds of the folks at Deepnight Games from the rest of the world. There are a few tiny similarities to Dead Cells but on the whole this is a fresh and clever platformer that even has a kids mode containing lots of extra trucks and helicopters.

The plot is fairly light with you being called to a blaze and ending up stuck in a secret underground lab where there may be more going on than just the outbreak of a fire. The controls are straightforward with you being able to spray water, roll and jump and that’s all you need in order to get by. There are a few nuances to the system of course. You can create different arcs of water spray and pushing down makes a sort of water shield around you. This is particularly useful when opening doors as sometimes you’ll be hit by a back draft and burn up if you don’t protect yourself or get out the way.

The levels are set out as self-contained puzzles of burning death with you needing to extinguish the flames in a section before moving onto the next. You must be quick as well as flames will begin to spread again if left for too long. In order to help you can normally turn on sprinkler systems or collect wheels to allow you to turn on water pipes. This at least gives you a few safe areas from which to plan your next move. Your two main concerns are your water level which you need to keep refilled and the fact that taking a single hit means death and normally starting the puzzle again from the start.

Each section follows the same sort of rules and it’s more about the design in terms of how you travel around putting out fires that changes. There are a host of obstacles such as locked doors, falling debris, burst gas pipes and the occasional key card that needs collecting but it’s all really about working out how to get around without running out of water.

Should the game prove too difficult though there are a wide selection of sliders that can be used to balance it out to your hearts content. You can make minor tweaks or make yourself pretty much invincible. We got through the game without playing around with it but some of the puzzles did prove to be sticking points so it’s good to see players have a way to keep their progress going should they wish.

Overall, Nuclear Blaze is a brief but fun platform puzzle game. It’s both creative and challenging and while there are frustrating moments it was never enough to turn us away from it. Once completed there’s an extra ‘Hold My Beer’ mode which adds even more challenging content as well so there’s enough here to keep you coming back. It’s just something a bit different that works well and we would recommend it to anyone looking to live their best fireman hero life.

Overall 7/10

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