App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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BlazeFury presents itself as a shmup, but it disregards most of the rules surrounding the genre. Instead of weaving in and out of enemy fire while mashing buttons to shoot them down, your ship remains mostly still and your job is more about strategically linking together kills to restore your health. It’s an odd take on an age-old formula, and it’s not perfect, but there’s something to BlazeFury’s brand of shooting that may appeal to some.
Locked on target
The first thing you should know about BlazeFury is that you don’t have any direct control over your ship. It just kind of floats in the center of the screen and automatically drifts through levels for you. Instead of steering, you are challenged with swiping over the screen to lock on to enemy ships, which your ship will then fire at.
There are a few other mechanics at play here, like special attacks you can power up and a health management system based on the number of enemies you kill in a single salvo, but by and large your main duty is swiping. Fortunately, this action ends up feeling pretty cool because every time you touch the screen, the game enters “Aim Mode,” which zooms in the camera a little bit and slows the game down to a crawl, allowing you to assess the battlefield and paint your targets with precision.
Up your arsenal
Because you can’t control your ship in BlazeFury, there’s no way you can make it through a level unharmed. Your ship has a life meter that constantly ticks down as you get hit, but you can mitigate damage by killing ships quickly or gain some life back by chaining together lots of kills in a single aim session.
You can’t just skate by in BlazeFury through your reflexes and tactical prowess alone, though. Later levels have enemies with tons of health and a lot of firepower, which you can only overcome by upgrading your own ship. In each level of BlazeFury, you’re collecting a single currency, which you can then use to unlock new weapons, upgrade existing ones, build drones to accompany your ship, and more.
Because of the difficulty ramp in BlazeFury, most of the game is centered around grinding out currency. The core gameplay itself looks and feels cool, but there’s no real way to master it. Instead, you have to invest wisely in weapons that can get you through increasingly tough situations.
There are some additional achievements on every level, which give you something to do in levels beyond simply painting targets over and over again, but most of the game still boils down to an upgrade treadmill. As a free-to-play game, this grind feels pretty annoying, but if you opt to make a one-time purchase of $4.99, the grind feels much more intentional and satisfying (and the ads go away, too).
The bottom line
BlazeFury probably isn’t your typical shmup, but that’s not a terrible thing. It has some new ideas, and some of it feels pretty great. It’d be nice if the game had some more to it beyond locking onto enemies and spending currency on upgrades, but even this rinse and repeat gameplay has some appeal to it. So, although it isn’t the most involved game out there, BlazeFury can satisfy if all you’re looking for is a more casual action game experience.