4.5 out of 5


  • Smooth gameplay
  • Dimensional rifts
  • Diverse gameplay


  • Vulnerable when falling from heights
  • Limited combat tips

Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC
Inti Creates
Inti Creates
Blaster Master
Action, Adventure
File Size (Minimum)
155 MB
Release Date (NA)
Jul 29, 2021
Release Date (JP)
Jul 29, 2021

Blaster Master Zero 3 is a single-player, Metroidvania action platform developed by Inti Creates. Inti Creates has produced numerous game series such as Mega Man, Gal Gun, Curse of the Moon, and the Gunvolt series. Blaster Master Zero 3 is the third installment of the Blaster Master Zero series which pays homage to the retro NES Blaster Master game. Explore mutant-filled planets with the help of your tank called the G-SOPHIA SV and blast your way through them to save your friends.

Chaos and Betrayal

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

The story picks up where Blaster Master Zero 2 leaves off, with Jason, an inventor and pilot for the metal battle tank, and Eve, a support female android who helps Jason on missions, returning to their home planet of Sophia. Upon arrival, Jason and Eve are attacked by the Sophia Force (SF) and captured along with their frog friend named Fred.

While separated and held captive, the SF base falls into disarray for unknown reasons, allowing Jason to break out. During the escape, he is able to recover his battle tank and begins his quest to rescue his friends. Meanwhile, he contemplates the question of why the SF betrayed them and discovers that the planet is being threatened by a mutant scourge. It seems that fate is in Jason’s hands as he explores the planet and interdimensional space for answers and for a way to reverse what has happened.

Tanked and Loaded

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

The main portion of the game is spent traveling a 2D level in the G-SOPHIA SV, an upgraded version of your tank from the previous games in the series. The tank is capable of rolling along, jumping, and using a booster to hover for a brief period of time. In terms of its offensive capabilities, it comes equipped with main cannon weapons and sub-weapons, and each of those weapon systems uses their own independent SP gauge that slowly depletes as the weapon is used during combat. Each of the weapons systems can be swapped out with others found along the journey and switched through a quick selection menu. This allows for quick swapping based upon enemies or puzzles found along the way, such as homing missiles for quick-moving flying enemies or 3-missile bursts in a directional fashion.

When the SP gauge is depleted, it causes a system shutdown. This can leave the G-SOPHIA SV vulnerable if both weapons systems are depleted. Until they have time to recharge, you cannot attack or hover to dodge incoming attacks. SP can be recharged by falling from adequate heights or through significant impacts to the tank using a ‘Gaia System’. While this can happen during routine exploration and against regular enemies, it can be more problematic during a boss fight in which dodging may be imperative at certain points.

Puzzles and obstacles found while in tank mode are relatively straightforward.  The only exceptions are the times when Jason needs to exit the tank to crawl through a small opening to hit a lever. Jason tends to have a simple blaster, which is not too effective for monsters found in this setting, so it tends to be better to avoid conflict on foot. While the tank recharges its gauge by falling, Jason tends to be squishier when he plummets from most heights, resulting in instant death most of the time. Thankfully, he is equipped with jet boosters to allow him to hover for short distances to lessen the impact of falls or to clear gaps.

Dungeon Crawling

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

One of the most unique and enjoyable experiences is exploring the SF dungeons in which Jason must enter these areas on foot without his tank. Upon entering, the perspective changes from a Metroidvania style to a dungeon crawler like retro Zelda on SNES, and he gains access to a series of five different weapons that can be switched on command, such as a cross wave gun, a high diffusion gun, and a turbo whip. In addition to the main weapon selection, he has access to a limited stock of grenades, which deal increased damage to a close enemy, and to multi-counter moves. Multi-counter move options expand as new moves are obtained but are utilized through the same button and timed at the correct point in battles. Depending upon the combat needs, the counter move is automatically selected, which may be the key to surviving tougher fights. 

Different kinds of puzzles and obstacles are found in the dungeons, like doors that may need to be opened by shooting certain diamonds with the correct weapon. Other challenges may require using the lock-on striker to activate a moving platform to get across a gap. In addition, there is quite a bit of complexity with the dimensional rifts that appear. These transport Jason to a colorful dimension which may have different enemies or a slightly different layout than in the original dungeon area. The rifts can be found outside of dungeons as well, allowing the tank to travel into these dimensional worlds. Ultimately, at the end of dungeons lies a reward to improve either Jason or his tank, such as a new counter move, a main SP blaster, or a new mobile technique.

Mastering Your Blaster

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

The game tends to allow for a great deal of flexibility when it comes to offense, which prevents having to only use the newest weapons and moves. However, that being said, there are certain advantages to using one weapon versus another. Using the lock-on striker may prevent close quarter combat versus using the turbo whip, but the lock-on striker may not deal as much damage. Certain enemies tend to be weaker to selective weapon types. A tank sub-weapon might be better for taking down one monster, whereas the main blaster is better for another. Part of the learning curve for the game is figuring out what to use in different situations to improve the survivability of your character.

While in the SF dungeon, Jason is able to perform a dodge maneuver called spin dash that creates a red shadow and quickly moves him out of danger. However, using the spin dash consumes CP, which can be problematic if utilized in quick succession without recharging. Learning when to dodge and when to attack is critical in this game. In general, the combat portion is quite smooth and balanced to prevent underestimating enemies in your path. In certain situations, there are times where combat is not the way to go and simply avoiding an enemy prevents provoking them, like those white and green robots on a hovering tire.

Mutants Mayhem

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

The monsters found throughout the game differ dramatically between the tank exploration areas and the SF dungeons. Each requires a different approach while limiting the damage done to Jason or his tank. For example, when opening boxes for SP or health recovery bars, there is a scorpion that tends to be overlooked and is quite dangerous. The scorpion tends to pop out of certain boxes and attach to the tank until it explodes, which can make you think twice before opening boxes carelessly. Watch out for the flying bees that shoot from above and the mutant blebs that launch horizontally or vertically at the tank. Each monster poses enough of a danger to be taken seriously, which provides a satisfying challenge every step of the way.

Bosses tend to come at the end of stages/dungeons and can be quite challenging. Each boss has their own vulnerability and attack patterns which needs to be taken into account if you’re going to beat them. For example, one of the early bosses you encounter is the CIRQ SP-1000, which is a robot that has created a bunch of spiky balls that orbit it. Jason has to use his new homing missiles on the tank to create openings in these circular spikes to shoot the main blasters at the boss. However, some of the difficulty comes from exhausting the SP gauges, which can leave the tank as a sitting duck. This is when timing the SP recharge helps you avoid running out at the wrong time. Interestingly enough, the boss battles can come in the dungeon, which is reminiscent of the old school Zelda dungeon bosses.

Travel and Tunes

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Screenshot

Fortunately, the game saves often at certain checkpoints on foot and by tank, which helps avoid any significant retracing of steps. Due to their difficulty, boss battles tend to have save locations generally right before the door to the boss. This save functionality allows for a lower stress trial-by-fire as you figure out how to defeat the boss. In addition, certain save stations allow Jason and his tank to teleport to various other areas of the game, which allows for more exploration complexity and minimizes the linear nature of some platform games.

Thankfully, you have a map to assist with exploration. It can be confusing where to go next, so under the menu, a map of the area and the dungeon shows you your target location. Also, while there is a “how to play” section on basic moves and controls, it would be helpful to have other combat tips that are elaborated on, such as when to use multi-counter moves to your advantage. Even an encyclopedia of mutants that show weakness as they’re discovered would be nice. The game’s learning curve is fairly quick, but it may be a bumpy road for those new to the series. This is anticipated to a degree. The menu has a retry option that lets you go back to the last checkpoint in case Jason becomes separated from his tank and winds up trapped on a level.

The graphics and music are fitting for the reimagined retro platformer and are in line with the series’ previous entries. Simple, 8-bit songs interweave with sounds of exploding missiles and blasters, changing from uplifting and fun 8-bit tunes when exploring to intense, fast-paced songs when facing a boss. What more can you ask for?

Blast from Past

Overall, Blaster Master Zero 3 is a fitting conclusion to the series and an impressive tribute to retro platformers. The core gameplay is polished and balanced, leading to the right amount of combat, exploration, and challenge. The semi-linear progression and exploration of dimensional rifts and side areas adds quite a bit of complexity as well. So take a leap of faith into the super dimensional experience and become the Master Blaster!

A Nintendo Switch code provided for this review and gameplay footage.

Blaster Master Zero 3 - Gameplay Footage (Nintendo Switch)

About Patrick Schmees - Contributor

Always up for new challenges and adventures in life. During my past time, I enjoy hiking, hanging out with friends, and fishing. I have been enjoying playing video games with my brothers since I was little playing Atari at my grandpas house. I enjoy playing all types of games across various platforms (Switch, PC, PS)

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