NS Review – Q-YO Blaster (Switch)

Q-YO Blaster essentially is a mini Cuphead X Parodius. It’s a 2D side scrolling shmup with crazy enemies clearly inspired by 1920s cartoons. Strange alien bugs have invaded Earth and only an equally bizarre ragtag team led by a genius guinea pig can save the day. Pick one of 15 madcap heroes and go save the world.

Earth’s 15 saviours are split across three teams, each with a different special, one kills enemies, one protects you and one does a bit of both. Each character has its stats for damage, speed and fire rate ranging from 0-3 and apart from that all heroes are the same. It’s disappointing they don’t have different loadouts like in Parodius and other shmups. Three or four characters with different loadouts would add a lot more replay value than 15 nearly the same albeit wacky and interestingly designed characters.

Thank you Mr. Cheeks for assembling a team to save the world.

You can fire by pressing or holding A, when you have one of the two ammo limited weapons holding A fires directly and quickly whereas pressing A fires a spread shot useful for taking out many enemies at once, extremely useful when the game gets rather bullethelly. You also have pulse at your disposal, press Y to turn all bullets on screen into gems which charge your special attack, you can collect up to 3 of these and like bombs in old school shmups they’re your get out of jail free card.

After each of the short levels you choose a one time upgrade such as increased speed and then get treated to a short static cutscene featuring sometime barely understandable English. The story is no masterpiece but the retro comically translated feel and poor grammar made me chuckle.

How many time indeed.

Like in most classic shmups one hit and you’re dead, but you have three lives per continue and 9 continues to complete the game. When you use a continue you lose a hefty amount of your score, so much so that I spent most of the game hovering around 0 points even playing on beginner difficulty. There are 3 difficulties for story mode, beginner being hard enough for me from a few levels in and then an arcade extreme mode where you forgo the story and get thrown into true bullet hell but are given 99 continues for your effort. Arcade extreme features the added bonuses of 2 extra levels featuring two of the more intriguing bosses, 2 extra upgrades and two extra ammo limited weapons making this the only mode worth playing after you’ve experienced the story once. Despite beginner being hard enough for me I only lost 40 of my 99 continues when I played this mode.

That’s one big bug.

The pixel art graphics are as crisp as a mouldy turnip despite this I actually quite like the graphical style as it makes it a pretty authentic 16bit experience. The alien bug enemies are pretty quirky and interesting to see but I’d like to see some more variation to the enemies as the same bugs pop up time and time again across the levels.

When Q-YO Blaster’s two major influences both have such excellent soundtracks it was disappointing that Q-YO’s is so severely lacking, it’s not the worst soundtrack I’ve ever heard but I wouldn’t rate it as good either. The sound effects are passable but nothing spectacular.

Die evil house.

Playing on beginner Q-YO Blaster took about 30minutes each playthrough with arcade extreme taking a bit longer. I found it fun enough to play through multiple times and short enough that I’ll be sure to come back for a quick bug exterminating, world saving romp. While the Switch offers a whole host of bullet hell style shmups Q-YO Blaster offers a unique art style and simple easy to pick up gameplay while at the same time being affordable and fun.

Q-YO Blaster is available digitally on Nintendo Switch eShop from 27th June for £8.99/€9.99/$9.99 and as if writing is 50% off if you own a Forever Entertainment title. Thank you to Forever Entertainment for providing the review code.

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