The year is 1989 AD and humanity is still recovering from the extraterrestrial invasion by the Gogoh Army. While they were successful at repelling the invaders the peace was short-lived as a secret society called the Neo Roland Party rises to cause chaos. It is up to the remaining military forces to fight back against the Neo Roland Party and their synchronized attacks across the globe. Players get to join the battle armed with a 6.1-meter tall manned combat robot (MCR) called SER-28 Vostok.
MECHBLAZE is the latest run and gun mech shooter by ASTRO Port set in their “Astro Saga” universe. While prior knowledge of the other titles in the series is not required to play this game, fans will notice lots of things that tie all the games together. With only six levels MECHBLAZE is not a very lengthy game, but there are five difficulty levels to keep players challenged. The game is also enjoyable enough that after completing it we jumped straight back in on a higher difficulty to experience all the action again. Adding to the replay value is also the fact that there are 13 types of weapons on offer, but players can only take one primary and two secondary ones with them into battle at a time. Primary weapons, such as the assault rifle and shotgun have unlimited ammunition while the special weapons like the grenade launcher, needle gun, laser gun, and railgun have limited shots. Addition weapons, such as the cluster bomb, Gatling gun, EMP gun, and flame thrower can also be unlocked by completing the game or reaching certain high-scores.
With such a neat assortment of weapons, it’s a good thing that MECHBLAZE has plenty of things to use them on. Along with weapons captured from the good guys, the Neo Roland Party also controls experimental spacecraft that cobbled together from the extra-planetary technology used by the Gogoh Army. Depending on the difficulty you select the ordinary foes do not pose much of a problem, but the bosses are another matter. These big, imaginative behemoths will stomp all over your MCR if you are not careful and usually require the use of your special weapons to take down quickly. MECHBLAZE also features a few sections where your MCR will be flying while shooting and dodging enemies or need to protect vulnerable targets from enemies for a limited amount of time. However, most of your time in the game will be spent running and gunning while taking down ground-based and aerial aggressors.
Visually, MECHBLAZE is a nice throwback to the 16-bit titles of the 90s although with more detail and animations than what was possible back then. The frame rate is displayed onscreen at all times and for us, it stayed at a rock-solid 60 fps throughout. The game has no shortage of explosions and other cool effects like light beams, smoke trails, and more. The only downside is that the maximum resolution is 1280×720, which is quite small when played windowed on a high definition display. MECHBLAZE also doesn’t feature any cut-scenes and instead uses a text briefing before each mission to issue you with instructions.
There is a bit of a learning curve to the controls in MECHBLAZE, especially for players who are not familiar with previous ASTRO PORT titles. Your mech is pretty slow on its own, which is understandable, but the inclusion of a dash button makes it a little easier to move around faster. Holding down the jump button also activates your booster which provides you with a limited amount of air time. This is useful for reaching higher ledges or to dodge a string of bullets coming straight at you. Alternatively, bullets can be blocked by holding down your shield button, but unlike your boosters, these do not replenish on their own. In addition, you have dedicated buttons for shooting and switching between your three different types of weapons. MECHBLAZE can be played using either a keyboard or a controller, but does not have mouse support. It does allow players to customize the controls, though, and you can also choose between two different types of firing modes. The first requires players to hold down a button to lock their firing angle while the second lock the firing angle automatically as soon as you start shooting. While the game doesn’t have any type of speech the music and sound effects are decent and the volume for each can be adjusted independently.
Due to the difficulty settings, which start at “Easy” and go up all the way to “Ultra” MECHBLAZE is a game that can be enjoyed by newcomers as well as veterans. Players can even save their progress, which will place them back at the start of the level when reloading. The ability to collect health, extra ammo, and weapon upgrades during levels also prevent the game from becoming frustrating. It’s not the type of game for players who simply want to play through it once and never return, but fans of the genre who enjoy chasing higher scores and taking on more challenging difficulties will have a blast with MECHBLAZE.
- OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
- Processor: Intel Pentium3 1GHz or better
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Integrated Graphics Chip
- DirectX: Version 8.1
- Storage: 600 MB available space
- Sound Card: Integrated Sound Chip