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Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U) artwork

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U) review

"Like a classic platformer, with just the right number of ducks."

Gunman Clive is a 3DS indie success story. It's a small, humble platformer built by a single developer that's solid enough to earn a spot in the library of many a 3DS owner. Now, this bite-sized adventure (joined by its sequel) has made the jump to HD on the Wii U.

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U) image

Both games included in this collection are accessible from the title screen, but they're best experienced in the proper order. The central run-and-gun gameplay feels similar to that of Mega Man, but without the crazy weapons and robot dog. (Alternate weapons are also available as power-ups, but they mostly drop randomly and they disappear once you take damage.) Gameplay is simple, with tight and responsive controls. Several alternate playable characters can keep subsequent runs from feeling stale, as well. In this HD version, the first Gunman Clive now includes the melee-focused Chieftain Bob character, which formerly was exclusive to the sequel.

Bob is the one new non-cosmetic feature in this collection. Otherwise, it's basically a simple up-port to Wii U. Everything runs at a 1080p HD with anti-aliasing applied, and it looks great. The game's art style, which resembles line art and watercolours, upscales well. Gunman Clive is a great example of the kind of presentation that's possible with a low budget and enough creativity and skill. The art is complemented by the catchy western-style soundtrack, which is reminiscent of old western movies.

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U) image

No matter how solid they are, though, simple mechanics require varied level design to keep gameplay fresh. Fortunately, both Clive adventures pull it off. The first game is a bit simpler, with a mostly Wild West setting. Level gimmicks range from typical mine cart rides to bizarre, Mega Man 5-style gravity fields. Gunman Clive 2 expands the scope, becoming a world tour that involves a variety of mounts and vehicles. This keeps it from offering only more of the same, though the vehicle stages don't quite live up to the simple fun of the core running and gunning.

It's clear from their length that Gunman Clive levels were designed for handheld hardware. Most stages can be cleared in a minute or less, making them good for speed runs. The games themselves are built on a small scale, as well. Both of them together can be cleared in less than a couple of hours. There's room for small games that don't overstay their welcome, especially on the eShop, and especially when they're priced at $4.00 like Gunman Clive HD Collection.

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U) image

Gunman Clive HD Collection looks and sounds great, but it doesn't bring much new to the table for fans of the 3DS versions of the games. Chieftain Bob in the first Gunman Clive is a nice bonus, but not exactly a major selling point. Still, these games are just as good now as they were the first time around. New players should give the HD Collection a try, while returning fans should enjoy the games just as much in glorious HD as they did in humble 240p on 3DS, provided they keep their expectations for new content in check.

Roto13's avatar
Staff review by Rhody Tobin (September 04, 2015)

Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.

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