Fire! Fire! There’s so much fire. Welcome to Nuclear Blast, a Metroidvania pixel-perfect fire fighting game. Nuclear Blaze is available on Steam. It originally started as a 48hr project for Ludum Dare. After positive reception, the developer, Deepnightgames, decided to make a complete title. It was originally aimed at the creator’s son. But it became too difficult.
Nuclear Blaze Premise
You begin as a firefighter on the way to a fire in a helicopter. You soon find a factory that doesn’t appear on a map. It appears abandoned and on constant fire. You have a tank of water that you can use to put out with your portable hose. But as you delve deeper and deeper you begin to learn a terrifying secret. This warehouse is harboring a being that creates fire.
Nuclear Blaze Gameplay
In each level, you put out fires to unlock the fire door to the next level. This sounds boring on paper, but it is executed well. The fire spreads quickly if you don’t put them out. You will find if you take too long, more fires appear. Fire isn’t your only obstacle, there are fire wasps. These are difficult to handle and may kill you many times. However, you feel a sense of accomplishment when you beat them.
As you complete levels you earn upgrades, like Metroid. Such as a bigger water tank and new skills. None of the upgrades become useless and are used in future levels. This drove me to push on, imagining what the next upgrade would be.
My only complaint is that the game felt too short. I made it to the end in only a few hours, even when taking into consideration my many deaths. I would happily welcome some DLC or a sequel
Nuclear Blaze Difficulty
This game is far from easy. Since the fires spring up so quickly if you’re not careful, you’ll be killed. The checkpoint system is very frustrating, in most levels if you die you go right back to the beginning. Which if you had already been struggling is infuriating. There were certainly times I got close to closing the game and taking a break.
One welcome feature, because the developer made this title originally for his 3-year-old son, is a Kid Mode. This makes it impossible to die and auto-lock on as well as other assistance. Instead of the aim being to get to the end of the level it is to find the cats. I think this is a great inclusion and will be trying it when my little one is old enough.
Apart from trying to get to the end of the level, there are collectibles in the form of cats! Once you find a cat, you then must deliver it to the exit. I found them pretty easily at the beginning, but by the end, I forgot about them. I may go back and play it again to get the remaining cats to see what it unlocks.
Nuclear Blaze Presentation
Pixel art is the style of this fun title and it really works well. Especially with the 2D side-scrolling gameplay. Each area feels different from the previous one and was very easy on the eye. There are a few Easter Eggs as well, which really stand out from the pixel art backdrop.
The audio was definitely up to the task. It was powerful and helped me feel the urgency of putting out the fires. I have the theme playing now and it is motivating. There were not many tracks, so it would have been nice with a bit more variety. There is one instance that I remember where the music changes which was the final area. This set up the atmosphere perfectly. Maybe in a potential sequel, there would be more areas that would call for more music
This title came out of nowhere for me. I had never heard of it, but I had heard of Dead Cells. It held my attention far longer than I expected. I got so invested in it that I lost track of time. Even though it was a short game. I will also be going back to it when my son is old enough to play games and enjoy the kid’s mode. So Nuclear Blaze receives a 9 out of 10. With so few negatives it is worth playing even if it is only for a short amount of time.