There’s nothing that can really send me into a frenzy like a new Inti Creates game, and considering the stellar showing of Blaster Master Zero on 3DS and Switch, it was a shock to see the sequel so casually announced, and out before I even knew it.
[Warning: Spoilers for very early-game Blaster Master Zero II ahead.]
Blaster Master Zero II starts off around where the first game leaves off, following the hidden true ending and final boss. Jason has saved Eve from the mutated Sophia-III, and found out her true parentage from her home planet of Sophia. However, it turns out that not every infected Mutant cell was removed from Eve, and her body slowly gets corrupted, which is why we see her the way she is on the title screen. Determined to save Eve, Jason and Eve devise the new G-Sophia Metal Attacker tank that can take to the stars, in order to reach her home planet.
While the prologue recaps everything from the previous game, it’s the gameplay that has evolved, but also in a way that is easy to get right back into if you’ve played the first game. This time, as you’re exploring space, overworld exploration is done in various planets that aren’t too big on size each – or at least that’s the case for the first planet, Flosante. It’s a bit like how some Metroidvania games split up gameplay into chunks in order to accommodate handheld or portable play.
Flosante is a planet which was destroyed by the Mutants, and is now floating with debris that can be destroyed to create platforms. It’s the perfect place to test out the G-Sophia’s most primary new ability – the ability to absorb kinetic energy and turn it into SP for missiles and sub-weapons. You know how in the first game, small clouds of dust would poomf out when the Sophia-III hit the floor with its hydraulics? It’s like that, but cranked up to 11. It’s the very feeling of satisfaction, but with actual gameplay benefits this time.
Of course, the downside to how you can infinitely regain energy is that now the G-Sophia is left in a one-hit kill state if you run out of SP, until it automatically refills. While SP was a precious resource in the first game, here it requires careful meter management, such as when you need to multitask hitting enemies with missiles and using the Hover function.
All this seems like a lot to take in at once for a new player, but I think that’s exactly what Inti Creates was aiming for with the sequel – returning players. That seems like a no-brainer, but it honestly isn’t when considering the series’ history of sequels with no relation to the previous games. Blaster Master Zero started off as a remake of the first game with a modern aesthetic and incorporated elements of the Japanese original Metafight’s sci-fi setting and world, and as such, it doesn’t feel like a leap in logic to suddenly go interstellar. There’s a reason the game is titled Blaster Master Zero II, and not a different subtitle. Where the game will lead, I still have no idea, but I’m willing to follow along with it.
Food for Thought:
1. It’s great to see Jason and Eve’s interactions once again, and even though Eve is chained up in the Sophia for story reasons, I love how there are once again context-sensitive conversations you’d normally never think of triggering.
2. Jason notes ruefully in a conversation with Eve that the main cannon was the only thing left over from the Sophia-ZERO from the first game. Sophia-ZERO was an experimental model with heavy weaponry, but that meant it wore down quickly as Jason searched the underground for a cure for Eve to no avail.
Blaster Master Zero II is available on Nintendo Switch.