A nod for many gaming predecessors.
The longly awaited sequel has finally arrived! I was jumping inside since the E3 announcement. I was really looking forward to this title, I speculated the possibility, but never would have imagined it being made. So, just what can you expect from this sequel?
For starters, you can play as one of four playable characters. Three of which that are available straight away, and one that can only be unlocked post game. You can play this outstanding title as the famous Gunman Clive, Ms. Johnson, and Chieftain Bob. Each character has its’ own method for fighting off enemies. Gunman Clive has his signature pistol that shoots 3 consecutive shots. Ms. Johnson has a similar attack style as Gunman Clive, however she has a peculiar ability that seems strangely familiar. She has the ability to float for a couple seconds mid-air, after a jump. Just like Princess Peach in a sense? Chieftain Bob uses an Indian spear to thrust at enemies nearby. The only advantage to using him is that for some reason this spear can poke through solid walls and objects, to a certain degree of course.
You have your favorite character selected, now what? Select your preferred difficulty. I happened to enjoy the first installment, and I selected normal to start my journey off. However, if you have no experience with the Gunman Clive series, I strongly recommend choosing “Easy.” Starting off with that Normal difficulty was enough for me! Unless you’re up for the challenge, Normal or Easy is the preferred starting point.
The plot as for what’s going on is entirely made by watching the events unfold within the game. There is no dialogue until the very end. Which is fine with me, you’ll understand what’s going on just by going on your way. You play in what seems like a post-war apocalypse. You begin your quest by following the destruction and chaos left behind this mechanic, mobile submarine. (Yes, you read that right). This mechanic robot looks almost similar to the moving home in Hayao Miyazaki’s, “Howl’s Moving Castle.” *With less cannons*
If you’ve had the liberty of enjoying the first Gunman Clive title, let me start off by saying, it’s undergone a whole multitude of improvements; it’s a re-mastered version of everything you enjoyed from the first part. From the smooth 60 fps, to the various sound effects, it’s all a delight. Now, I have two bits of opinions that I believe will truly enhance your experience with this title. Firstly, you must play this game with headphones. You will be missing out immensely on the enjoyable sounds effects, and various in game melodies, it’s the must have item. Sure, every 3DS comes with speakers, but there are tons of tidbits that your ears will not catch unless you have headphones on! Arne Hörberg I commend your musical style and tastes! Every single level has its’ own soundtrack. I know developers struggle to find the right tune, which contemplates a particular level you are playing. In my honest opinion, every single song per level flowed together nicely! Even boss fights had their own unique remix soundtrack.
I know many 3DS owners prefer to disable or keep the 3D effect turned off while playing their favorite titles. In this case, keep it on! The 3D effects really emphasize over world textures and environments. I found it humorous that pausing the game, still had the environment moving in its’ pencil glory. It’s the little details that really tie this game together nicely.
As for the game play, you’ll recognize many familiar sound effects for particular actions that were from the first title. If you are ever damaged, grab a piece of cake to restore your health! Cause there is nothing better in a post chaotic war, to settle down and enjoy some cake! Compared to first title, this game is more realistic and smoother. The increased fps really makes wonders of a difference. The music is quaint and sometimes upbeat, which gives you that awesome personalization to a level you are playing. Pick up gun upgrades dropped by enemies, to really scare off your foes. To the bullet spray, and large missile styled bullets, you’ll always have an advantage over the enemy. One thing you’ll notice before selecting a level, you are traveling across the real world! If that didn’t excite you enough, depending which part of a country you are in, that determines the visual layout and aesthetics of that level. While traversing through a level, what happens if you die? Unfortunately, you must restart that level you are in. There is no active checkpoint system. This can be tedious at times, when faced with challenging and perplexing levels. It doesn’t really ruin the game play, is gives you replay value if anything else. Across your journey you’ll meet enemies both new and old. This was nice to see. You’ll see your familiar cowboys, ducks, pelicans, and wolves. New to the game, are spiders with a Skulltula attack style, bats, cowboy sliders (needs no explanation), and some moose’s. \
While playing the game, newly introduced to this title is 3D flying levels! It was quite the unexpected surprise. I thought the whole game would be the classic and tough side-scrolling adventure we all know and loved. Instead, we are given this elegantly flowing flight course. From flying on these wooden planes and shooting enemies, to riding on pterodactyls, the flying is the highlight of this series. This gravity defying title even makes a nice nod to the ever so popular, Tetris! (I’ll let you experience that yourself to know what I mean.)
What’s so special about the levels you play in? If I was were to wrap up the various levels into a single phrase? “Every level is a nice surprise in itself!” Meaning, you’ll find something to love about each particular level. It’s that enjoyable, you go through various emotions. You’ll be infuriated with tough levels, laugh at what seems like easy situations, only to be surprised in the end. If anyone has played Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii or 3DS, do you remember how the boss followed you throughout the whole game? Well, that’s the case with this game. For some apparent and good reason, the main boss decides to follow you and attempt to render your progress at given points in the game. I was very happy to see this, because that’s rare in a game. It almost feels as if the early 90’s kids were targeted for this game! If that isn’t enough to convince you, did you know at one point in the game you’ll need the aid of a panda!? You heard correctly, a lovable panda! During a level, as depicted below, you’ll need to ride the panda to escape being sawed in half by a spinning circular saw blade close to your heels! If this doesn’t get your adrenaline moving or blood pumping, I don’t know what will!
What’s the point of a marvelous game, if you cannot battle some tough bosses? Oh you needn’t worry everyone. The boss in this game get progressively tougher, to the point of “rage quitting” certainly intensifies. That’s what I want from a game, something that’ll make my blood boil, but to an extent of course! Take a look at a potential boss later in the game:
That’s correct; you’ll eventually come across a T-Rex ready to take a bite of you! Boss Battles are commonly found at the end of areas. Each boss has their number of weak points, and methods to taking them down. If I may add, every single boss you come across, leading until the very end, the method to defeating them is so dynamic! The developer really took time and consideration to the button layout the 3DS has to offer. So if you really want a challenge, look forward to the many bosses the game has to offer!
What does an everyday cowboy need? A horse! Midway through the game, you’ll enter this 3D arcade style area, where you ride a horse, while shooting enemies, kangaroos and dodging many obstacles.
This was like the real highlight of this game, riding a horse to the ends of various levels. Nothing felt more satisfying than reaching the end, and taking in that gorgeous sunset. The sounds were so realistic; you could even hear the hooves of your horse galloping across the road! One thing I also noted, the way you would jump with the horse, the animation had the Crash Bandicoot vibe. Like when Crash had to ride his trusty polar bear cub, through various levels. The horse riding levels, really made me feel right at home.
If that wasn’t enough connections, I have two more! Very much further into the game, you’ll ride in a mine cart. This felt so much like the original Donkey Kong Country, the dim lit cave, and enemies coming from your right, ready to smack your cart. The only difference, it was quite the anti-gravity joyride, I can tell you that much! The final connection! Toward the end of the game, you must walk along this moving convertor belt, that does various twists and turns, it really gave that Super Mario Advance 2 effect. If anyone remembers, there was a set of moving blocks that you had to follow the entire time, or you would fall to a spiky death. Yep, those same exact ones!
Though I won’t give any details about the final boss, note this, it’ll be the most dynamic level, you have ever experienced! To Mr. Bertil Hörberg, you have created an outstanding e-shop title, that’ll be considered a gem in the years to come. I do not know if those connections to other games were intentional, but it made the whole game much more memorable for myself, and I hope other’s will be able to bask in its’ amazing style and game play. I hope you’ll check-out this title on release day, January 29th, 2015! For just 2.99 €/$!
Review copy provided by Bertil Hörberg at Hörberg Productions.
Sound And Music: 10
• A uniquely shaped 3D environment, which truly enhances game play for any player.
• Replicates many situations and aesthetics from familiar titles.
• Such an affordable price, even though it is truly deserving of something higher!
• Though progress is saved when you complete a level, dying in a particular level means you must restart from the beginning of that level. Tedious with levels that are of a much higher difficulty.