At first glance, I didn’t expect much from Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread for two reasons.
I can’t think of any game that I have ever loved with nine words in the title. Most games I can think of have an average of three words per title: God of War, Cursed to Golf, Cult of Lamb, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Ghost of Tsushima, World of Warcraft.
Games with longer titles usually get shortened by players. When sequels are released featuring subtitles, (like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) many of them go by [TITLE] II or III. Some of them go by the subtitle alone. It’s just easier that way.
When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, people just called it Zelda, New Zelda or Breath of the Wild. I’m sure if Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread becomes a highly popular game, the kids will just call it, “Blast Brigade.”
The Nintendo Switch menu preview image for Blast Brigade is simply one of the characters faces, with no name or logo. Any time a game has no name or logo in their preview image, I don’t expect the game quality to be any good. In my mind, if the developer had a good enough game on their hands they would have taken the time to at least create a nice little preview image. How hard is that?
Sometimes this happens because I received a game code pre-release, and the true image will show up once the game is fully released and I update my version. Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread has been out for quite a while now, and still no change to the image.
Another game that doesn’t have the logo or name is Sonic Mania. Instead it’s just an image of Sonic’s recognizable face. And yes, Sonic has one of the most recognizable faces in games, but still I would prefer to see SONIC MANIA written below, over or even on his beautiful hedgehog face — I know it’s a Sonic game, but I want to know exactly which Sonic game it is!
DON’T JUDGE A GAME BY ITS LONG ASS NAME
I was wrong about Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread, a long name and simple preview image don’t have to mean a game is no good. There’s a lot that works for this game, as well as some things that don’t.
“Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread is a 2D metroidvania adventure inspired by the popcorn-chomping thrills of ’80s action flicks.”*from the official Blast Brigade website
Many of my favorite games on the Nintendo Switch have been metroidvanias (Hollow Knight, Steamworld Dig, Guacamelee). What made Blast Brigade a little different is that different characters have different abilities. These abilities help unlock and explore new territories. Just like with any metroidvania, you may pass by an unreachable zone at some point, but you know that you will be back to explore that spot later.
Using modules, there are also many abilities to unlock as you play. The tough part is choosing which are the most important to you — do you need more health or more bullets in your clip?
What got me to request a review code for Blast Brigade in the first place was the cartoon art style. The character and background art of the game give me some Saturday morning cartoon vibes, but with more guns and violence.
The game is also fully voiced and features a humorous script with silly characters. Even the notes you find along the way are written in a slightly sarcastic tone. You may be dealing with the “evil genius” Dr. Cread, his mighty minions and some strange creatures but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to be a little goofy.
The main problem I’ve run into in Blast Brigade is that I’m not so great at this game. Since advancing in the game relies heavily on making your way to the next save area (or checkpoint hammocks), you don’t want to die in between. Of course, that’s where all of the intense battles take place, along with many of my deaths.
Even though I now have played the game for a couple of hours, I’m sure I’ve only progressed less than half of that, while I’ve been dying over and over in the same place the rest of the time. I’ve wasted so much time in between checkpoints, and I’ve only had enough time to unlock two characters from the team.
The sad thing is that I love the look of this game, I love the twin stick moving and shooting, and the weapons I’ve uncovered thus far are pretty fun to play. The combat is pretty simple, it’s always stupid mistakes that kill me.
The main reason I die so much is frustration. After attempting to complete the same area multiple times I begin to feel like the beginning part is easy since I’ve gone through it so many times, but I end up losing most of my hearts before reaching the “hard part.”
Next, I reach a point where I need that extra health, but instead I have one hit point left and I die doing something dumb, like falling into a pool of acid water, or getting touched by a laser.
I know I will continue to play Blast Brigade, I’m just not sure if I’ll have the chance to finish the game. The good thing is this feels like a game you can jump in and out of months apart and still have the controls down. There’s nothing too complicated about the controls, and there doesn’t need to be.
Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread is out now on PC and Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
*myVGBC.com was provided a review code for Blast Brigade vs. The Evil Legion of Dr. Cread by the publisher.