Blaster Master was a well-received oddity when it released for the NES back in 1988. It was a sidescrolling platformer starring a tank called SOPHIA, but you could also control its driver Jason, whose on-foot sections were played from a top down perspective. The series has so far spawned eight games across a bunch of platforms including Mega Drive/Genesis, PSX and Game Boy Colour, but Inti Creates’ 2017 reboot Blaster Master Zero is probably the jewel in the series’ crown, though its 2019 sequel was great too.
A third instalment in that modern series was announced overnight, in the form of Blaster Master Zero 3. Inti Creates describes it as “the pinnacle of mutant blasting action” but to my eyes it looks pretty much the same as the last two games, which is no bad thing. The Blaster Master stories have never sunk in with me, but if you’ve been following along, this one sees Jason going back to the original game’s planet in order to save “series heroine Eve.” A foolproof setup for videogame heroics if ever there was one.
These modern Blaster Master games inherit the pixel art style of the first but take on a Metroidvania structure. They’re really fun, but if you need more convincing, they’re developed by the team responsible for those brilliant retro-styled Bloodstained offshoots, as well as a crop of modern Mega Man games.
We don’t have long to wait before we can play it, either: Blaster Master Zero 3 releases July 29 on Steam and the Epic Games Store. If you’re keen to play the first two games before then, both are currently discounted by 50 percent on Steam. Don’t Blaster Master yourself out, though.