Ratalaika is a publisher known for producing inexpensive games that use easy Achievements and Trophies as a selling point. Some of those titles, like Super Destronaut DX, are technically competent but have very little reason to exist beyond their Achievements. FullBlast, a shoot ‘em up developed by UFO Crash Games and published by Ratalaika, has slightly more meat to it than that.
FullBlast is a vertically scrolling shmup that supports 1-2 local players. The story involves alien invaders and the human aerial defense force tasked with stopping them. Text-based conversations between the player’s pilot and other members of the defense force comprise the entirety of the story – there are no true cinematics here. The dialog is so mundane that it’s impossible to care about, but most shmup players care more about gameplay than cinematics anyway.
Whereas FullBlast resembles a bullet hell shoot ‘em up, I found the challenge quite manageable on Normal difficulty. Your ship has a regular gun and a tiny supply of single use of screen-clearing bombs. Dying doesn’t restock bombs, nor does completing levels, so you’ll have to use them sparingly. The standard weapon can be upgraded multiple times, but it never feels satisfying to use. More variety and creativity in weaponry would’ve helped.
FullBlast’s visuals consist of plain and perfunctory 3D graphics. The first few levels all take place within a metropolis, but later levels move to a rural setting. These environments resemble simpler versions of those in the low-budget but much more inspired shmup Earth Defense Force 4.1: Wing Diver The Shooter. The enemy designs here are also totally plain and simple – just basic monsters and spaceships. Like the story, FullBlast’s visual design demonstrates a lack of creativity and inspiration.
Still, Achievement and Trophy hunters should find little to complain about here. All of the game’s Achievements and/or the Platinum Trophy can be earned by the beginning of the fourth level, which should take less than 20 minutes. The Vita version takes a little longer to complete. It has a lower enemy count, so you end up having to grind one of the early levels to kill enough spider aliens. FullBlast has 12 levels, but there is no Achievement for beating the game. Thus, I doubt many players will continue playing after the third level.
Despite FullBlast’s dearth of inspiration and its overwhelming plainness, I like it better than other Ratalaika titles I’ve played. Too many modern shmups are bullet hell shooters, so it’s refreshing to play one that doesn’t totally flood the screen with bullets at every moment. With decently fun gameplay, easy Achievements/Trophies, and a low price, FullBlast offers just enough bang for your buck.
FullBlast sells for $5.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Vita, Switch, and Steam. The PlayStation versions are cross-buy and each offers a Platinum Trophy, making them a pretty sweet deal for Trophy collectors. The Xbox and PlayStation versions were provided by the publisher for review.
- A modern shmup that doesn’t overwhelm players with bullets
- Two-player local co-op is always nice
- Easy Achievements and Trophies
- Paint-dryingly dull visual design, weaponry, and story
- Terrible leaderboards that list only the top ten players and nobody else
- No Achievements or Trophies for completing the game!
- Lengthy loading times on PlayStation Vita