Review: Gunman Clive 2

Back in the saddle again.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 02/12/2015 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Awesome gameplay; unique visual style; more variety than the original title
Poison Mushroom for...
Over too quickly; visuals hinder one particular level

When the original Gunman Clive released two years ago, it was one of the first games I had the opportunity to review for Nintendojo. I wasn’t expecting much, but the title’s unique graphic style intrigued me. Imagine my surprise to find that it was one of the best titles on the 3DS eShop up to that point. When I heard a sequel was in development, it quickly became one of my most anticipated titles. I’m happy to say that Gunman Clive 2 lives up to the greatness of the original, without feeling like too much of the same.

For the uninitiated, Gunman Clive 2 is a platforming sidescroller reminiscent of classic NES titles like Mega Man. The majority of the game’s 25 levels are focused on making it to the end of the stage while fighting a unique menagerie of enemies. This time around, however, there’s a bit more variety. Developer Hörberg Productions didn’t make any radical changes to the formula, but there are some welcome new additions, such as flying levels, animal compatriots, and a greater variety of locations and enemies. These small changes accumulate to make Gunman Clive 2 feel like a stronger overall package than its predecessor.

The game’s controls add to Gunman Clive 2‘s retro charm. Clive can walk, jump, shoot, and crouch. That’s about it, but it makes the game very easy to dive into. For those looking for something a little different, the game’s other playable characters offer some slight differences. Ms. Johnson returns with her Princess Peach-inspired control scheme, and the previous game’s unlockable character (no spoilers) is back, as well. A new character joins the trio this time around, Chieftain. Chieftain is a bit more difficult to master than Clive and Ms. Johnson. His spear weapon can only stab forward, giving it a much more limited attack range. As a result, however, it also makes him the most strategic character to use, and the most satisfying to master.

Gunman Clive 2 features an incredibly unique set of enemies. Clive and friends are in pursuit of the kidnappers from the original title, and this premise takes the player to locales that are a lot different this time around. Clive and company will find themselves facing snowmobile riders, samurai, dinosaurs, and a whole lot more. The boss fights are the real highlight. Each one offers a unique challenge, and victory won’t come without a few deaths along the way.

Speaking of deaths, Gunman Clive 2 will result in a lot of them. The game can be a bit punishing compared to more recent titles, but it never feels unfair, or cheap. Last year’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze often left me ready to throw my Wii U GamePad against a wall, but each death in Gunman Clive 2 felt like a learning experience. The game’s shorter levels also make it easier to find the motivation to try again. The game also keeps track of each death, which will likely give passionate gamers some incentive to compete for a lower number.

Gunman Clive 2 also retains the original title’s unique graphic style, and it really compliments the game. Hörberg Productions has increased the game’s color palette, adding some visual variety. It works more often than not, but one particular level might have opted for too dark a color scheme. A dark purple background makes one level at sea a bit hard on the eyes, but thankfully it only lasts for a single level.

While the game has a strong amount of variety and reasons to continue to play, it is on the shorter side. I completed my first play through in a little over two hours. That might be a turnoff for some gamers, but considering the game’s asking price of $2.99, not to mention its overall quality, it’s a minor quibble.

Gunman Clive 2 is everything a fan of the original game could want: it improves on an already strong framework, without feeling like a rehash. For the price, this is simply one of the best platformers available on the Nintendo 3DS. Gunman Clive 2 proves that Hörberg Productions’ first game was no fluke. The first title felt like an homage to some of the better games from yesteryear, but the sequel proves that the developer has established a unique voice for the franchise moving forward. I truly hope we’ll get to see this franchise continue to grow in the near future.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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