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Mighty Gunvolt (3DS) artwork

Mighty Gunvolt (3DS) review


"A generic sample that will probably leave you wanting more... and better."


Mighty Gunvolt is part of what might have wound up being a good game if only someone had properly finished developing it. I unexpectedly received a free download of the title because I backed the Mighty No. 9 project on Kickstarter, and that was pretty cool. Had I spent money on it, though, I'd be complaining right now.

The game drops players in a future world that feels like something out of a Mega Man title, only with less personality. The story seems to revolve around an experiment gone wrong, or mind control, or love, or… something. It's hard to make out what the real point is, because the translation is just awful. This is either intentional--my guess--or someone probably needs to be fired. Whatever the case, I didn't find the effect pleasing because it is taken too far.

The story isn't really a big deal, though, because it only pops up at the start of the campaign and then again at the end, just ahead of the closing credits. You're not constantly assaulted by its awfulness, so it is easy to forgive. You instead spend most of your time running, jumping and blasting your way through a whopping four action stages, then defeating the same number of bosses before participating in a final showdown with the apparent mastermind behind whatever plot is afoot.

Stages are barren and uninteresting. You can collect a lot of fruit and diamonds along the way to boost your score, as well as extra lives. The early Mega Man stages were memorable, with colorful foes that just looked dang cool and unique worlds I can't forget. Here, you're battling things like oversized speakers, a few robots with blowtorches, and other generic opposition that has already slipped my mind. None of it is particularly challenging, to the point where I honestly can't remember a single time I died while working my way through a stage ahead of the looming boss encounter at the end.

Bosses, however, put up a fight that their domains do not. Each one follows reasonably complex attack pattern that you must learn if you want to survive. Your foes dart around the screen, throwing out projectiles or sprouting vines that fire shots at you from a distance, or dashing across the screen in a blazing fireball or whatever else. Eventually, you should be able to defeat each foe fairly consistently, provided you stay on your toes and remember what works. Until then, the fights can sometimes feel quite intense.

Mighty Gunvolt is a short game, though, particularly once you become familiar with the stages and their bosses. It took me something like a half-hour to blow through it the first time, and subsequent runs were even briefer. The only reason I bothered at all is that the game lets you play through as three different characters and I wanted to see how that changes things.

The answer is that it doesn't change them much at all. Each character has powerful projectile shots and a charge attack too, but mostly you can just run around and fire your peashooter to rid the environments of any threats. The characters also have different traits where mobility is concerned. One can double jump, another can float for a short distance, and a third can slide through narrow openings. The level designs aren't interesting enough that any of this really matters, though.

To be honest, Mighty Gunvolt feels like it was begun with grand ambitions, but somewhere along the way those fell apart and the team decided simply to clean up what it had and package it for consumption. There aren't enough levels to provide a lengthy campaign, and the stages that do exist are in no way memorable. Boss encounters are solid, but there simply aren't enough of them, and the option to play through the game three times as different characters doesn't add much to the mix because so little changes from one run to the next.

In the end, Mighty Gunvolt is potentially worth a look if you're dying for more action along these lines, but there are certainly better options for your money (including downloads of the classic Mega Man titles, which are still worth a look if you haven't yet experienced them or if it has simply been a while). I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I don't regret the time I spent here, but I also can't recommend that you seek it out unless somehow it falls in your lap, as it did mine.

2.5/5

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Staff review by Jason Venter (February 18, 2015)

Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.

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