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Nuclear Blaze review – Hot stuff

It all starts as a normal day on the job. As a nameless firefighter, you dive into the latest blaze with boundless enthusiasm, determined to rescue as many survivors as you can. But then you realise something isn’t quite right. Just what is the purpose of the military base you’ve found yourself in, and what caused the fire in the first place?

A 2D firefighting game by Sebastien Benard, lead developer and game designer on the brilliant Dead Cells, Nuclear Blaze is the type of game that quickly draws you in and surprises you. Playing as your little pixelated firefighter, you start out with quite a basic moveset: you’re able to jump and fire your hose left or right and that’s about it. That’s enough to get you started though, and it eases you into the game perfectly.

Making your way into a military facility and then through its rooms and corridors, it’s your job to put out any fires you encounter and see if you can save anyone along the way. If you’re really thorough, there are cats hidden away in various nooks and crannies that you can rescue too, as well as more secrets. Ultimately, you get out of Nuclear Blaze what you put in: you can rush through the story if you want, but it pays to explore.

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Image: Deepnight Games

Of course, the further you get into the game, the more dangerous the situations you find yourself in. Fires start out small and easy to negotiate, but in time they engulf entire areas. You need to manage your supply of water to extinguish them effectively, and also occasionally shut off gas or electricity supplies. The latter can be particularly troublesome: spray water near a live cable, for example, and you’ll find yourself getting a shock.

Thankfully you unlock a small number of skills as you progress, making your firefighting exploits a little bit easier. A heroic dodge manoeuvre allows you to quickly evade falling debris and pass safety through some hazards, while a super hose lets you spray water up high, making it much easier to manage the fires around you. You can even use your hose while hanging onto a ladder eventually. While the gameplay of Nuclear Blaze never gets too complex, then, it’s deep enough to keep you engaged for its running time.

An initial playthrough of Nuclear Blaze is likely to take a few hours at most, and while it can be challenging, there are a wide range of difficulty options that allow you to tweak it to your preferences. You can give yourself more water, for example, determine how much armour you have, and even prohibit the spread of fire. A mode made specifically for children is included, too, which changes the level design and more to make it more appropriate for them.

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Image: Deepnight Games

For adults, though, Nuclear Blaze really begins once it’s been completed, with a Hold My Beer mode letting players make their way through the game again with increased challenge, content and secrets to discover. While Nuclear Blaze isn’t the biggest game, then, it has more than enough content to justify its modest price.

If you’re a fan of 2D platformers, we can’t recommend Nuclear Blaze enough. It’s a unique offering being a 2D firefighting game, but what surprised us more is how how quickly it drew us in with its mysterious premise. You’ll want to explore this military base and discover what was going on there, and you’ll want your little pixelated hero to make it out of the ordeal alive. So, it’s fun and it’s engaging: what more could you want?

This review of Nuclear Blaze is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Nuclear Blaze review - GameSpew's score

Nuclear Blaze
8 10 0 1
A 2D firefighting game, Nuclear Blaze will draw you in with its mysterious premise and then keep you hooked with its engaging puzzle-platforming gameplay. Thanks to its dedicated kids mode, it's suitable for all ages, too.
A 2D firefighting game, Nuclear Blaze will draw you in with its mysterious premise and then keep you hooked with its engaging puzzle-platforming gameplay. Thanks to its dedicated kids mode, it's suitable for all ages, too.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • It's got a lot of charm
  • Firefighting is fun
  • Many secrets to draw you back in

We don't like...

  • It's rather short

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