NS Review – Mighty Gunvolt Burst (3DS)

2017 keeps rolling on and more fantastic games keep coming for the 3DS and Switch, with some games even coming for both at the same time. The game under the spotlight today is one such title, the latest adventure title from Inti Creates, Mighty Gunvolt Burst. Following on from the success of Azure Striker Gunvolt and the fantastic Mighty Gunvolt crossover that came with it (both reviewed by me on this very site), it was almost inevitable that another crossover would happen.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a MegaMan inspired run and gun affair set simultaneously in the world of both Mighty Number 9 and Azure Striker Gunvolt, and features both protagonists as playable characters. On one side of the story, Beck enters a training program but gets stuck within the program seemingly caused by Gunvolt (GV). On the other side, however, GV is pulled into the program from the “real world” by what appears to be Beck. In both stories, the player has to fight their way through themed worlds, taking down each of the eight Mighty Numbers to unravel what is happening in the virtual world the characters are trapped in.

Mechanically, both characters are similar, but not identical. Beginning with the similarities, both Beck and GV have the same controls and both run and gun their way through the levels. The goals are essentially blasting enemies and collecting currency (used for levelling up), health items, or other collectibles to both aid the players progress later in the game and to give completionists a nightmare of a time. The unique mechanic in this game is the Burst feature, which gives an increasing score multiplier for every enemy in a row that you dispatch from close range. This leads to an incredible risk/reward philosophy where the player has to put themselves in harms way continually to get the best score at the end of the level.

Both characters can be upgraded using the currency found in each level and by using the different elemental weapons acquired from the Mighty Numbers. The level of customisation this gives to the player is staggering, allowing the alteration of almost every element of the basic shots with all of the changes drawing a certain amount of the total pot of CP (the customisation points). This means the speed, size, element, and effect of the shots can be altered (even whilst in levels) to make sure the player can tailor their approach appropriately for any situation.

After defeating each of the levels, the player can accept a prize out a choice of an average of three per level. These are almost invariably always the choice between a CP boost item, a weapon relating to that level’s boss, or a piece of pixel art (which make up the main cosmetic collectible in the game). The levels can be tackled in any order, similarly to MegaMan, so if the player really runs into trouble they can quit out and try another. The only real negative penalty for this is that the player loses progress through the level, as CP and collectibles are kept regardless.

The differences are far more subtle; for instance, Beck has far more customisation options for his basic weapon, however, his lower damage resistance means that he is arguably the harder character to play through the game with. GV has less options for customisation, but the return of the Offensive Skills from Azure Striker Gunvolt means that the player has more offensive and defensive options, making GV the easier playthrough of the game. There are other, smaller differences between the two, such as GV having Joule with him to cheer him on at low health. But otherwise the game as both characters is painfully similar, to the point that it can become a bit of a chore to play through the game as each.

Aesthetically this game is absolutely fantastic. The sprite work is detailed and incredibly fluid, the character design is wonderfully unique (even if some of the Mighty Numbers are a little bland) and each of the levels are almost ingenious in terms of both design and mechanics, keeping the experience fresh in each level. The music is easily one of the best soundtracks on the 3DS in recent times, with each chip tune track uniquely marking out the level with unmistakable thematic cohesion. In fact, the presentation of this game is pretty much close to flawless.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t problems with the game overall. Mighty Gunvolt Burst is incredibly true to it’s influences, for better and worse. All of the agitations with MegaMan-style games are here: if you get hit by anything over a pit, that’s a death; should you so much as gently stroke a spike, that’s also a death; some of the Mighty Numbers, like the robot bosses of MegaMan, are unimaginably cheap; also, the game doesn’t adequately explain a lot of the mechanics and over-explains the ones it does think to mention. All of this wasn’t a deal-breaker for me personally with the game, but the frustration might potentially put off others.

So, should you buy Mighty Gunvolt Burst? Personally, it is a huge yes, but that does come with a rather large disclaimer. If you are not a fan of typical MegaMan gameplay, you will not be a fan of this as this game doesn’t really develop the formula to remove the frustrating elements of those older games. However, if there is a space in your heart left by that little robot in blue that Capcom has seemingly forgotten about, this will fill that and is an absolute steal for it’s price. Furthermore, it’s good that at least one developer is trying to give Beck the good game that he deserves.

Thank you to Nintendo for kindly supplying the review code for this game.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is out now for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS.

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