Blaster Master Zero 3 is one of those games where it takes everything people appreciated about the original and doubles down on it. You liked working to help Eve and Fred? You’ll be striving to reach and save them again. Enjoy platforming in G-SOPHIA SV? That’s still here. Think all the different gun types are cool? All of them are around from the very start. You want a challenge? Well, I certainly think this one feels harder.
While the story in the Blaster Master Zero series might not be the reason people are showing up, the third entry does a great job of providing additional intrigue and closing up loose ends. It also shows how far the series has come, as there’s more far more exposition than in Blaster Master Zero and strong family vibes. Since the original game, a trip to Sophia’s been looming. We know Jason pledged to help Eve with the mutants, and all of Blaster Master Zero 2 was about reaching the planet Sophia to cure her infection. Now that they’ve arrived, they’re captured. Jason is separated from Eve and Fred once more, mutants are around, and he must explore the planet and fight more mutants to find out what’s going on and perhaps save those who mean the most to him. Spoilers aside, the finale offers a satisfactory conclusion to the particular trilogy and all sorts of connections to past games.
The core gameplay in Blaster Master Zero 3 is unchanged. Jason will be traveling in and out of G-SOPHIA SV. In the overworld area, you’ll have a 2D perspective. There are standard bullet attacks. You can use stronger missiles if you have MP, but you also need MP to move. Fortunately, that recharges by dropping from huge heights. Some areas are small or hard to reach, which means leaving the vehicle and sending Jason out alone. Fortunately, his equipment got an upgrade and when he is on his own, he can use a jetpack to sort of glide at a slower rate than he’d fall. This means fewer chances of dying due to a substantial drop or being able to float downward perhaps to a new area. And when it comes to protection, there are temporary shields you can grab and apply. You can warp the G-SOPHIA SV between save points. It’s great for the more Metroidvania elements and in the event you need to backtrack or revisit a place. Not to mention bosses can have more phases, including parts that might involve changing whether you’re in the tank or adjusting tactics as health decreases and the opponent reacts to getting weaker.
When you find a cave or off the beaten path area, Jason goes in on his own. Things shift to the top down perspective as usual. Right from the start, you have five different bullet variants which attack and behave in different manners. So you can quickly swap between Cross Wave, High Diffusion, Lock-on Striker, RG Blaster, and Turbo Whip attacks. Each one feels like it can be effective against different sorts of foes. Not to mention that each one has up to eight levels as you power up Jason’s gun and play, adjusting and improving its output. But more importantly, the top-down segments can involve switches and challenges where only one sort of gun would be effective. It means thinking a bit more and like there’s more of a puzzle element to these Blaster Master Zero 3 portions than in, say, the original.
But what I enjoyed most is how the Vision Reversal Visor system is handled. There are super-dimensional space segments. After you reach a certain spot, you can press a button to head into that dimension. The whole concept of it provides an excuse for why Eve and Jason can’t so easily reunite. (Something that people might question given how Blaster Master Zero 2 went.) It also provides an opportunity to make the game feel a little different and play around with ideas. You might see different enemies around. If you activate it while in, say, a Sophia Force Base, you get to visit a randomized dungeon. It’s a mechanic that makes you think a bit more about your approach. (I would also recommend spending quite a bit of time there and exploring it.)
I suppose that’s a good way to look at the game in general. Blaster Master Zero 3 not only offers more of what this series and Inti Creates is good at. It is a game that makes you think. How do you want to approach enemies? You have five shot types to work with. What will you do when you face this boss, especially when you know their pattern will change as you wear it down? And what is the super-dimensional space going to require you to face this time? The result is something people might find satisfying.
Blaster Master Zero 3 is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.