It’s Mega Man in the Wild West!
Gunman Clive has been on the Nintendo eShop for over a year now, and whenever I hopped online to browse the wares, I would always be interested in this one for two reasons:
1. The unique pencil-style visuals
2. It’s only $2
Call me cheap, but I never bought the game until very recently because, believe it or not, I didn’t think it’d be worth it. Man, was I ever mistaken. Gunman Clive is a short game, no doubt, but what you get is a truly wonderful action platformer full of challenge, creative stages, and lots of fun.
With the most fundamental of stories, Gunman Clive almost entirely relies on its gameplay to win you over. Each stage has you reach a goal by taking out enemies, dodging projectiles, jumping from platform to platform, and in some instances solving basic puzzles. It starts out relatively simple, with only a few enemies firing their guns toward you face, but eventually you’ll have to dodge multiple bullets at once, while jumping on moving platforms and avoiding pelicans that can drop bombs from their mouths for some reason. It’s nutty, it’s funny, and it’s all really well done.
There are 20 stages to play through, and each group of stages ends in a large boss battle. Most of these require you to simply survive long enough and deal enough damage, but others, specifically the end boss, have multiple forms and are much more challenging to overcome. I do wish the same intricate design used in the final battle was implemented in more enemies, but it’s not a horrible misstep.
Power-ups sometime drop from fallen enemies and give Clive an expanded arsenal rather than just a simple one shot gun. The new guns include a three-way shot, bullets that hone in on enemies, bigger bullets that do more damage, and a gun that allows more than the standard three bullets to be on screen at once. If you have a power-up and get hit by an enemy, you lose the power-up and have to collect another. It’s a penalty for each mistake, but it’s fair, and it makes every power-up feel much more special and lucrative.
I found myself drawing a few comparisons to the classic Mega Man series while playing Gunman Clive. The basics are apparent: jumping and shooting. Beyond that, other elements are reminiscent of the Blue Bomber, like disappearing and reappearing platforms, shooting enemies while landing on moving platforms, instant death spike traps, and a small amount of recoil from each hit inflicted. If you call yourself a Mega Man fan, you owe it to yourself to check this one out for sure!
The visuals are a big winner for me. They are simultaneously basic and beautiful. The simplicity of the design and backgrounds look amazing in screenshots which you can see here. But when you see the game in motion and watch the scenery flow as you move and Clive jumping and shooting at enemies, the real beauty comes forth. We’re not talking Skyrim levels of perfection here, but for what it’s trying to do, Gunman Clive does it well.
The controls are tight, which is essential to any worthwhile platformer. Clive has a very lofty jump, but it gives you the opportunity to adjust your landing mid-jump and ensure you can make it to the end of each stage. Though the game is short (it can be completed in just 2 hours), an unlockable duo of characters present you with new challenges and extend the life of the game. For just two bucks however, the game is well worth your time just for the main game.
Gunman Clive is a real gem on the eShop. For just two dollars you really can’t go wrong. The gameplay is solid,the controls are spot on, and the visuals are minimalistic and wonderful. Overall it’s only a few hours in length, but that’s a small price to pay for a game with a small price.