Kero Blaster's chiptune soundtrack is a perfect analogue for the game itself: effortlessly upbeat and cheery one moment, dramatic or laid-back the next, but always sounding like it could've come from an NES if a composer had spent the past 25 years mastering its sound chip. Kero Blaster is a throwback 8-bit shooter without an ounce of waste: its minimalist story sends a hardworking frog through a viney forest, a tumbleweed-swept mesa, and other charming levels filled with somehow more charming enemies.
Studio Pixel's Cave Story was a pillar of the formative indie scene - and now a follow-up of sorts has emerged in the form of his sidescrolling platform shooter Kero Blaster, which releases today. It's a momentous, nostalgic and slightly melancholy occasion - how much has changed in the world of independently created games in just six or seven years. I can't say if Kero Blaster is any good or not yet - its free prologue Pink Hour was too brief and too difficult to really get to grips with - but a recent trailer hit all the right notes, so I'm hopeful that the old Pixel magic is there.
If this trailer for Pixel's long-awaited follow-up to Cave Story doesn't lift you up, then I'm sorry but you might be a soulless husk - either that or you aren't overly fond of platforming, chiptunes, or Pixel's expressive yet simplistic art style. One of the two. We've known about Gero Blaster for a while now, but it's recently been renamed Kero Blaster and been given a brand new video, which affords us our first proper gawp at the soon-to-be-released sidescrolling platform shooter.