Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 12, 2018
FullBlast is an arcade top-down shoot ‘em up available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita. FullBlast was originally created by UFO Crash Games and released for Ouya, Wii U and PC circa 2015 before Ratalaika Games developed and published a port to Vita, PS4 and more platforms besides. Can FullBlast deliver a fresh and exciting experience within the arcade top-down shoot ‘em up genre?
Story campaign spanning 12 levels sees your character piloting a ship whilst leading the charge against a hostile alien invasion of Earth; therefore your primary objective is to defeat every antagonistic alien creature.
Ship design has the look and feel of what would be anticipated from a futuristic fighter jet. Power-ups such as doubling, tripling or even quadrupling the spread of ammo from your primary weapon, strengthening the power of the primary weapon and combining it with an additional weapon to simultaneously fire at enemies such as rockets, temporarily increasing fire rate of your weapon, a shield to protect your ship from ammo fired by enemies, health restoration, an extra life for your ship and a multiplier to increase points earned from defeating enemies, although there are power-downs that temporarily reduce the quality of your ship and the player will lose all of their previously earned power-ups if their ship is destroyed. Enemy design has a serious amount of variety as there are 4 mini bosses and 3 mega bosses, while new enemies are introduced in the majority of levels including metallic butterflies, crabs, mosquitos, scorpions and spiders that shoot as they fly in different formations in an attempt to destroy your ship, alongside alien pods that produce a green gas, brains that manipulate your ship’s allied tanks on the ground to fire at your ship and much more besides.
Environment design is similar for the first four levels as your ship flies over cities that have begun to be devastated or already have been; as people drive along motorways in a desperate attempt to escape the invasion of alien creatures, while some buildings are in rubble, giant holes in streets and cars that have crashed into each other. However, environment design changes during the fifth level as your ship flies over forests in the rain.
FullBlast supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita, although it unfortunately does not support cross-save, so you will not be able to continue from your previous progression on the Vita version when playing the PS4 version and vice versa. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the Vita and DualShock 4 controller as the Vita version has a comfortable control scheme consisting of pressing R or X to shoot your ship’s weapon; pressing L or O to use a secondary weapon; and changing the direction of the left analogue stick or alternatively pressing up, down, left or right to manoeuvre your ship around enemies, although there are no touch screen controls. Meanwhile, the DualShock 4 controller moves the primary and secondary weapons to R2 and L2 respectively. However, the DualShock 4 controller does not include any touch pad alternative controls that could have involved swiping forwards to use the secondary weapon, while there is no light bar support that could have provided an alternative HUD for your ship’s health, alongside no vibration that could have reflected the recoil of your ship’s current improved primary weapon after power-ups are factored in and damage inflicted on your ship by enemies.
Graphically, FullBlast is on par with classic arcade shoot ‘em ups with excellent enemy design, alongside amazing ship, enemy and environment animations and a consistent frantic pacing. A further nice graphical touch is when the word boom appears in a comic book stylised font every time an enemy has been defeated. Borders to the left and right of the screen provide a retro arcade feeling to the visuals, but the borders take up perhaps a little too much of the screen, although it does not affect gameplay for as long as you are agreeable with a 4:3 ratio aspect and you won’t notice it after a few minutes worth of gameplay onwards.
FullBlast’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the title menu, main menu, single player and local multiplayer menus, options menu, online leaderboards and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons on Vita and DualShock 4, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch screen or touch pad between Vita and DualShock 4. Menu backgrounds include a panning camera building the tone of gameplay by showcasing the carnage being caused by the hostile alien creatures.
There are no character voice-overs as communication between the ship’s pilot and the commander is displayed via speech bubbles. Sound effects include your ship firing weaponry at enemies, enemies firing at your ship, explosions when enemies have been destroyed and a sound to confirm when a power-up has been collected; complimented by an instrumental heavy metal soundtrack. There is no DualShock 4 speaker support that could have produced a range of sound effects or music or voice-overs if dialogue would have been recorded by voice-over artists.
The trophy list includes 14 trophies with 0 bronze trophies, 2 silver trophies, 11 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. FullBlast offers quite possibly the easiest platinum trophy list ever devised as the player does not even need to complete all 12 levels with only the first three levels having to be completed, alongside defeating a particular quantity of certain enemy types and obtaining a power-up. Better yet, the PS4 and Vita have individual trophy lists resulting in the potential of having 4 silver trophies, 22 gold trophies and 2 platinum trophies within around one hour in total.
There are three difficulty levels including easy, normal and hard with the major differences being enemies are far more efficient and swifter in their movement patterns, while simultaneously firing a lot more at your ship; therefore players should look to become accustomed to easy or normal difficulty prior to venturing into hard difficulty.
FullBlast features local co-operative multiplayer for two players on PS4 within a dedicated multiplayer mode with progression from single player carrying over to co-operative multiplayer and vice versa, although there is no drop-in/drop-out functionality resulting in both players having to be in co-operative multiplayer mode instead of a player joining previously single player gameplay. There is no competitive multiplayer, but scores are clearly displayed for each player during co-operative multiplayer as enemies are gradually defeated. Online leaderboards focuses on the accumulated score between every level with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank, name (PSN ID) and total score for the top 10 highest scoring players with a separate online leaderboard for the easy, normal and hard difficulty levels.
FullBlast’s replayability stems from a story campaign spanning 12 levels, three difficulty levels, local co-operative multiplayer on PS4 and online leaderboards that will collectively keep players returning for quite some time, alongside the ability to play on Vita or PS4 due to cross-buy.
- Title: FullBlast
- Developer: UFO Crash Games (Original Developer)/Ratalaika Games (PS4/Vita Port)
- Publisher: Ratalaika Games
- System: PS4/PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: Yes
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Vita)/1-2 (PS4 Local Co-operative Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
- PS4 Hard Drive Space Required: 179.8MB
- PS Vita Memory Card Space Required: 243MB