Super Blast Deluxe Review

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Title: Super Blast Deluxe
Developer: Raptus Games
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 231 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: 
Yes

A lot of indie games have adopted the progression type that games like Angry Birds made popular.  The model is that a stage-based game has score-based requirements for unlocking future stages.  You play a stage and are awarded points or “stars” depending on how well you did.  Future levels then require you to earn a certain number of these stars to be able to unlock and play them.  I’ve seen a lot of games use this model, and it’s really not a bad one.  It helps you train and get better at the game, particularly in harder games.

Today’s review is about a game that utilizes this model.  It’s not Angry Birds or any game that I’ve played, for that matter.  You like barrels like the entire cast of the Atelier series?  If so, check this out.  Here’s my review of Super Blast Deluxe!

Story

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The storyline takes place around a race of beings called Imps.  They have been watching the human race ever since they discovered their existence.  Our story begins with the Imps becoming aware that humans are very bored at night.  Their boss decides that it is their duty to fix that issue.

Essentially, the story is that the Imps are launching themselves through barrels and making fireworks in the night sky, racing against the rise of the sun to make as much commotion as possible.  It’s a pretty silly story, but it works out fairly well as a setup to the actual game.

Gameplay

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Super Blast Deluxe is a side-scrolling puzzle game with time management and RPG elements thrown into the mix.  The overall flow of the game is that of a puzzle game with very precise timing-based inputs to get from one end of the stage to the other.

The game progresses in various worlds.  The Hub World has you in a 3D environment you can openly walk through with your character.  The idea of this is to walk around to find a gateway to each “world” that contains a set of stages.  There are gates that lock new worlds, requiring you to finish each prior world before the next is available.  There is also an area to go to the Endless Mode world and the Imp HQ.

First of all, Imp HQ is where you go to customize and change characters.  There are over a dozen different characters that you can unlock, each with their unique traits and effects that can change how your score is calculated at the end of each stage.  You also obtain skills to be used in stages when you complete each world.  You can come to HQ to equip and upgrade those skills to enhance their abilities and effects.  These could be as simple as re-doing a move if you have a fast enough finger or slowing down time to help you get through tricky parts of the game.

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Each world has 10 stages and they progress in a very side-scrolling fashion, despite having 3D visuals.  In the game, you are launched into barrels and your goal is to get to the end of the stage by launching yourself from barrel to barrel and reach the end without hitting any of the obstacles.  This is a pretty simple idea, though I can’t really give it a genre.  Actually executing this plan is much more difficult than it may seem.

There are different kinds of barrels and obstacles.  Some barrels constantly move, requiring precise watching and timing in your launches.  Others need you to aim a specific way to find the next barrel (with the analog, D-Pad, or Touch Screen).  Then, you have obstacles.  All obstacles instantly kill you, so you cannot hit any obstacles or you will respawn and have your score and time penalized.

Time is another thing to note.  In this game, you have a constant timer going down and when it hits 0, it’s Game Over.  The idea is to get through it as quickly as possible to get a better score.  Apart from this are Chili Pepper items that increase your score, but also require more precision than simply clearing the stage.  Once you finish, you’re scored based on your combo of barrels without dying, the pepper items, and time remaining.  It’s easy to get under 3 stars, so the idea is to as best as you can as quickly as you can.

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This is part of where the difficulty comes in.  There are a lot of situations later in the game that require absolute precision.  That means that if you hit the input half a second too early or too late and you hit the obstacle and get penalized.  Tying this with the fact that some stages have several jumps like that in succession for a good 5 seconds or more can make the game extremely frustrating.  The Slow-Down-Time power does help a lot with this, but you’re on your toes constantly in the later areas of the game.

That isn’t to say it isn’t fun, though.  It is quite rewarding to finally finish that stage you’ve been working on for so very long.  Many of the harder stages are set in a way that finally beating it will almost always get your 3 stars, and that is very rewarding.  Many times, I barely got through a stage and was expecting a low score and got a high one instead.

One thing is that the game isn’t very long.  A trek across the entire game without messing up can probably be done in a couple hours.  Given for retries which you absolutely will be doing, I would give it at least 3-4 hours.  I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s work to pay $8.99 for 3 hours of gameplay.

Controls

I have no real complaints in the control department.  You won’t be using a lot of controls as you play the game.  As for usual, there are no special controls when the game is played on the PlayStation TV.  Since L and R aren’t really used in the game, there’s no need for it.

Moving in the hub world is done with the D-Pad and Left Analog Stick.  You can also use X to jump and Square to interact with a world or gate to unlock a new world or enter an unlocked world.  In the stages you will be using X to launch from barrel to barrel, and the other face buttons for skills.  The D-Pad, Analog Sticks, and Touch Screen for aiming with the purple barrels.

As I said before, I have no complaints.  The controls work pretty well.  The more major issue with the game is in the following section.

Presentation

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Visually, I have to say the game looks quite impressive.  The visuals look like they have not been really altered from the level of a PS3 or PS4 game.  That is an exceptional feat, but it also comes at a price.  That is to say, the game lags in its frame-rate.  There is also a good amount of blurriness and distortion during cut-scenes.

When you’re in the hub world, there’s a pretty noticeable amount of frame-lag.  This isn’t as much of a problem in the stages since you don’t freely walk around there.  It’s there, but in much smaller increments.  However, it is certainly noticeable and if you don’t like a game not having a smooth frame-rate through and through, you’ll want to know.

Summary

Super Blast Deluxe is one of the latest puzzle games on the Vita and is quite unique.  While the frames drop a lot in the hub world and the game barely lasts a few hours, it’s still a fun puzzle game for anyone who likes a nice challenge. 

7/10

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