Windows Central Recommended Award

Blazing Chrome is a co-op shoot 'em up on Xbox One that pays homage to the Contra franchise from Konami. While Konami's next Contra project is a twin-stick shooter called Contra: Rogue Corps for some odd reason, developer JoyMasher has gone and made a worthy successor with Blazing Chrome. The gameplay is precise yet accessible, and the power-ups and bosses are a sight to behold. Given the title's level variety, it might be the best Contra-like game ever made.

Survive the hordes

Blazing Chrome

$17

Bottom line: Blazing Chrome on Xbox One is one of the best run 'n' gun shooters out there.

Pros:

  • Fantastic pixelated visuals
  • Precise controls
  • Tremendous level variety

Cons:

  • Steep difficulty curve
  • Relatively short campaign
  • Some characters feel similar

Blazing Chrome visual variety

In Blazing Chrome, machines rule the world, and the few humans left are on the edge of total extermination. It's up to you and a friend to fight back. Think of it as a Terminator film. The story is an excuse to shoot everything in your path. The real highlights are the visuals and gameplay.

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Blazing Chrome features pixelated visuals just like the cult classics. However, the level variety sets it apart. Even though you can choose which mission to tackle, you'll be surprised by what you'll encounter. For example, after the first level, you can choose to jump into Mission 2 or Mission 4. One level requires you to control a hoverbike, and the other pits you against giant sandworms. Suffice to say, Blazing Chrome prides itself on surprising the player especially when it comes to bosses. The game even has head-on levels like Konami's classics.

Blazing Chrome weapons and defense

Just like Contra, Blazing Chrome features weapon and defense upgrades. You can pick up a variety of different gun enhancements that shoot lasers, swirling bullets, and much more. Other drops include the ability to summon defensive robots or attack boosts. Many of the weapons resemble those in Contra, but some of the original ones like wavy bullets are the best. It's clear that a lot of thought went into designing them.

Occasionally, you're able to get your hands on superpowered weapons. The opening level is quite memorable because you can eventually enter a mech. The mech doesn't allow you to change weapons, but it's so overpowered that you can blast through even the toughest of foes. Luckily, there are many such moments in Blazing Chrome.

Blazing Chrome character homogeneity

Blazing Chrome features several different characters which initially feel the same. However, there are a few unlockable ninjas that are amazing. Instead of simply shooting small bullets, these individuals have wide attacks that can take out many enemies at once. While this doesn't come in handy when you're simply shooting those in front or behind you, enemies that are above you don't stand a chance. You'll probably have to watch some videos on YouTube to uncover these characters.

Blazing Chrome costs less than $20, and that shows in the length of the experience. There are only a few levels to conquer before you reach the end. Luckily, there are varying difficulty settings so you can replay them again and again. I would've liked to see many more levels because they're so good. Hopefully, the team at JoyMasher is working on an expansion because I can't get enough!

Blazing Chrome final thoughts

Overall, Blazing Chrome is quite possibly the best Contra-like game ever made. The weapons are meaningful, the levels are varied, and there's always something unexpected around the corner. While the difficulty curve takes some getting used to, beating a mission is its own reward.

4.5 out of 5

The Contra Anniversary Collection is a great package to relive those nostalgic moments, but Blazing Chrome is more like a refinement. If you're looking for an amazing shoot 'em up, then look no further. The fact that it's included with Xbox Game Pass is an added bonus.

Kill all robots

Blazing Chrome

It's also part of Xbox Game Pass

In Blazing Chrome, bring your friend and shoot some robots to free humankind while enjoying a classic run 'n 'gun experience, fully loaded with action and exciting fights.

Jump into digital

Xbox One S: All-Digital Edition

Ditch the discs

Secure your Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, Microsoft's new and ambitious disc-less console. It's the cheapest Xbox One ever made, bundled with a trio of downloadable games like Forza Horizon 3.

Excellent and affordable Xbox accessories

Up your Xbox experience with one (or all) of these budget accessories, all of which are approved by the gamers of Windows Central.

PowerA Play & Charge Kit for Xbox One ($15 at Amazon)

This charging kit keeps your Xbox One wireless controllers juiced up, and it offers batteries for two controllers. At just $15, this is hands-down our favorite budget charging companion.

ElecGear 4 Port USB Xbox One S Hub ($19 at Amazon)

This brilliant little USB splitter hub attaches perfectly to the side of your Xbox One S console. It's ideal for use with chargers, controllers, headsets, and more.

Controller Gear stand ($13 at Amazon)

Proudly display your Xbox gamepads with this stylish and functional stand. The licensed design is minimalist and black, and it has a hidden storage compartment, making the price of $13 a real steal.

Asher reviewed Blazing Chrome on an Xbox One X console using a copy provided by The Arcade Crew.

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