Friday, February 20, 2015

[REVIEW] Gunman Clive 2

Gunman Clive 2
Played on: 3DS
Genre: 2D platformer
Developer / Publisher: Höberg Productions

The first Gunman Clive was a pleasant surprise on the 3DS e-Shop, with its peculiar aesthetics, tight platforming, and budget price point. This sequel is everything a fan of the original could hope for, keeping what worked and bringing about some excellent new features.

The most obvious of those features, of course, are the colors: now each stage features a different predominant tone. The colors are used in very simple ways, just like the original title used its greyish brown hues, but the variation improves the atmosphere of each stage and makes them stand out from each other. Also importantly, the minimalistic usage of colors preserves the series's appealing visual simplicity, letting the gorgeous animations of characters and environment stand out in a very particular way.

Run, panda, run!

If the original game threw us for a loop with its mixture of 1800-era cowboys with futuristic robots, here creator Bertil Höberg decided to go deeper into the time-defying setting shenanigans. This way, you'll get dinosaurs, samurai, European aristocrats, and a plethora of steampunk flavors here and there. Needless to say, this is awesome, keeping you on your toes about just what you're going to find next.

Most of the gameplay borrows from old school 2D shooters like Mega Man, featuring fluid platforming action that is very satisfying. Each of the three initially playable characters plays differently: Clive is the all-rounder, Ms. Johnson is slower but can float for short distances, and Chieftain Bob, with his limited melee attacks, acts as a veritable super-hard mode. If that's not enough variety for you, fear not: several stages are seen from a 3D third person perspective, and have your character shooting enemies while riding horses and aeroplanes.
In pre-Soviet Russia, Tetris plays you.

Of course, being a budget title, Gunman Clive 2 doesn't really last for long, although the different characters and the post-ending special mode give it replay value. Perhaps the game's duration could be further boosted by a few secrets here and there, which are virtually nonexistent as is. Given all of the game's great setting ideas, it would be excellent to be given incentives for exploration; sadly, this is a missed opportunity, and while excellent at pretty much everything it sets out to do, the game ends up a bit too linear.

It's hard to harbor any serious complaints, though. This is one of those games that seem way too good for the price point ($3 at release), offering tight controls, gameplay variety and excellent setting ideas. It's an improvement over the first game in pretty much every imaginable way, and a great option to have on the go.

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