Kero Blaster
Title Kero Blaster
Developer Studio Pixel
Publisher Active Gaming Media Inc
Release Date April 11th, 2017
Genre Platformer, Run and Gun
Platform PS4, PC
Age Rating ESRB E for Everyone
Official Website

Kero Blaster is a platformer/run and gun game from Studio Pixel, the developer of Cave Story. As such, I can’t help but draw some comparisons between the two games. However, I also feel like this game, while certainly similar to Cave Story, is trying to do its own thing. The story of the game is very straightforward. Your company has some teleporters that are on the fritz due to these weird black creatures. It’s your task to take out these things and get the teleporters working. Your boss is also an angry cat that seems to speak in gibberish. That’s about it as far as the premise goes. Afterwards you’re kicked right into gameplay. Kero Blaster focuses on gameplay rather than a complex narrative. Considering how good the gameplay is, that’s okay by me.

Kero Blaster | First level

As is typical of the genre, gameplay consists of running and jumping around, and shooting enemies. Kero Blaster starts you with a very basic gun, but you get a new weapon after every boss fight. Each weapon has different traits, making them suited for different encounters. One weapon you get has wider shots, and another has projectiles that travel downhill. Enemies drop money, which allows you to purchase weapon and health upgrades. The gameplay is rather intuitive, although it has one interesting feature. Holding down the fire button locks the direction you’re facing in place. This means you can jump and maneuver around as you’re shooting. I did have a few issues with the gameplay, mostly with the floaty jumping and somewhat slippery movement. I also found it a tiny bit frustrating that you can’t change the direction you’re shooting while you’re shooting.

Kero Blaster | Fire weapon

Kero Blaster is extremely linear. All the levels follow a singular path, and as soon as you complete a level, you go right into the next one. However, I feel like this allowed them to make the levels a little bit more challenging. The game isn’t obscenely difficult, but I died a fair amount of times, and there were some tense moments. The boss fights in particular are challenging and creative, but not overly frustrating. The boss fights are definitely some of the more memorable aspects of the gameplay. One in particular takes place on a speeding train, and a robot is chasing you. You have to avoid its attacks while making sure to stay on the train. For those wanting more challenge, hard mode unlocks after beating the game. This offers completely remixed stages and enemies, as well as a new story.

Kero Blaster | Upgrade weapon

Graphically, this game is going for that retro 8-bit aesthetic, similar to the original Cave Story. Combined with the fantastic chiptune soundtrack, it certainly looks like an old NES game. Despite having simple graphics, the enemy designs are varied and interesting. The bosses are also very big and impressive looking. The gameplay here is quite a bit more polished than what you’d find in older games, though. That’s really what this game nails. It has an old school aesthetic, without too much of the old school jankiness.

Kero Blaster | Boss fight

Essentially, this game is all about that run and gun action. Cave Story was about exploration, whereas this focuses on action. If Cave Story could be compared to Metroid, then I’d compare Kero Blaster to Mega Man. The game is about four hours, though I feel that’s a good length for this sort of game. If you want a game where you jump and shoot, this game has got you covered. For only $10, I think this game is well worth the price for some well designed run and gun gameplay. As far as I can tell, there are no additions or changes to this port of the game. The HUD is slightly different, and takes up less space, but that’s fairly minor.

Review Score

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Jason Quinn
Been playing video games since before I could form coherent sentences. I love a wide variety of games, from fast, technical action games to slow RPGs. Aside from video games, I have a love of music, film, and anime.