Even in this day and age of HD graphics, thundering surround sound, and even a reality that's virtual, sometimes it's just lots of fun to return to the classics. Blaster Master Zero is a near-pixel-perfect 8-bit love letter to those retro days gone by, with only a few new tweaks to keep things fun for modern gamers. Some of these additions, such as the Switch exclusive multiplayer and HD rumble, can add a little extra to the gameplay, but honestly, they feel a bit tacked on more for the sake of triviality to show off a few unique hardware features. The multiplayer, in particular, isn't really a "true" multiplayer mode. Instead, a second person can jump into the mix, controlling an on-screen crosshair to provide support fire for Jason. While it can be helpful, it feels more like a glorified shooting gallery than a meaty multiplayer component.
As far as the core gameplay is concerned, Blaster Master Zero is a solid and deep adventure. The subterranean world is massive, and there's a lot of back and forth involved as SOPHIA-III gets upgraded with new abilities, making it possible to reach previously inaccessible areas of the map. The constant switching between driving SOPHIA-III and letting Jason stretch his legs for a bit in one of the cavern dungeons also works as a great way to mix up the gameplay to keep things from ever getting stale. The only real gripe here is how the game manages Jason's weapon upgrades. Players pick up weapon power-ups in the dungeons, increasing his available weapon level. But before using any of the weapons, the player needs to open a menu and manually equip whichever custom weapon he wants to use. The problem is that every time Jason takes a hit, he loses a weapon level, making certain weapons no longer available until he regains more power-ups. This ends up forcing the players to constantly switch back and forth between the gameplay and the weapons menu over and over again, causing some unwanted breaks in the action. It's a bit frustrating, especially during large boss fights, but it also provides a little extra motivation not to get hit. Even with this minor irritation, Blaster Master Zero is one of those games that manages to strike a fantastic balance that makes the overall experience feel like a true timeless classic.