Review: Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch/3DS)

Mighty, indeed.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/15/2017 12:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Excellent visuals and music; tight controls and gunplay evoke the very best entries of the Mega Man series; plenty of replay value; collectible hunting!
Poison Mushroom for...
Customization feels superfluous, but some players will delight in the minutiae of it; Bursting feels tacked on more than anything else

Inti Creates and Comcept both have the distinction of creating games that carry on the legacy of two of Capcom’s most beloved characters: Mega Man and Zero. Inti Creates’ Azure Striker Gunvolt series is highly derivative of its own Mega Man Zero titles, while Comcept attempted to create a game in the vein of Mega Man in the form of Might No. 9. While Mighty No. 9 sadly failed to catch on with its middling first outing, Gunvolt has been a real gem, with a compilation of the first two games heading to Switch later this month. Now, Inti Creates and Comcept have combined forces again to produce a sequel to Mighty Gunvolt.

Mighty Gunvolt was an 8-bit mashup run ‘n gun that co-starred Gunvolt, Beck (from Mighty No. 9), and Ekoro (Gal*Gun). It was a very fun but overly brief experience that, at the time, seemed to be a one-off. With the arrival of Mighty Gunvolt Burst, however, it’s clear that the two studios have much more in mind for the brand. Thankfully, developer Inti Creates has taken the original game and expanded it into a much fuller and more rewarding experience.

Burst lets players choose from either Beck or Gunvolt at the start (Ekoro is available as DLC, see below). Each character has his own story path to follow, though honestly, the story itself isn’t really at the center of the action. It’s the gameplay that fuels the experience in Burst, and it’s very, very good. Burst succeeds in borrowing from the best of the NES-era Mega Man games without feeling like an outright copy. That said, while Inti Creates does a sublime job of mimicking the core run-jump-shoot mechanics of those classics, the developer does do plenty to make Burst stand on its own two legs.

For starters, while Mighty Gunvolt attempted to be more authentically 8-bit in its presentation, Burst isn’t nearly so slavish. For this game, Inti Creates has adopted a pixel style that allows for more intricate animations and greater environment detail. The end result is a screen that’s lush and vibrant while still evoking an old-school, retro feel. This feel carries over to the soundtrack as well, which is rich with catchy beats and chiptune chirps and boops. From a presentation standpoint, Burst is a winner.

While the Mega Man formula is on full display in Burst, there’s one distinct difference here called Burst Combos. In short, to get a Burst Combo, destroy an enemy at extremely close range. You can keep extending the chain the more baddies you bust in this manner, which will send your score soaring. I have mixed feelings about the combo system. On one hand it adds an extra layer of difficulty, as it’s definitely challenging to get that close to foes to land a killing blow. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel like the feature was added solely to differentiate Burst from Mega Man. Perhaps if it was more innovative I’d feel differently, but even so, it’s nothing that takes away from the experience.

The other most significant deviation from the traditional Mega Man formula is weapon customization. There’s a whole myriad of menus to scroll through that allow everything from the shape and speed of your shot to be altered to your liking. I don’t want to say the options are superfluous, but I ultimately wasn’t all that interested in customizing my blaster. Let’s just say that I think mileage will vary by user when it comes to this feature. The wealth of options is quite generous, so those who want to experiment will have numerous combinations to play with.

There’s also plenty of reason to come back after the game is over. There are 30 Challenges to complete that will unlock a variety of weapon buffs and collectible stickers. Some of the Challenges are exactly that—challenging! One tasks players with beating the game in under an hour, which is intense but satisfying to pull off. There are also some collectibles to uncover, too, which can be found by utilizing the in-game dowsing system. The controller will give off helpful rumbles indicating how close or far away the player is from a collectible. All in all, there’s a ton here to scour for both during and after the game has been completed.

Overall, this is a marked improvement over Mighty Gunvolt. It’s bigger, better, and more engaging than that game, which was entertaining but ultimately still just an aside. Burst is a full-fledged leap into the waters that Mega Man first waded into, and Inti Creates did an admirable job of producing a game genuinely worthy of carrying on such a hefty legacy. Some of the mechanics added in aren’t all that compelling, but at its core, Burst has nailed the precision platforming and shooting that the Blue Bomber made famous. It’s also a nice showcase for Beck, who I’d love to see get one more shot after his failed solo debut. Absolutely keep this one on your radar!

Thoughts on DLC

Ekoro was available as a free downloadable character until August 9, so it now costs $1.99 to get her. Inti Creates offers this description of the character:

“A self-proclaimed ‘elite’ angel has descended from the heavens.
Although she can’t use her popularity-inducing powers in the game world, her wings give her jump an extra ‘oomph’ over the other characters. Her basic attack, the Angel’s Arrow, is a little weak. However, she has the power of the Goddess’s Blessing to compensate. Using this unique system to raise her firepower is crucial!”

The experience of playing as Ekoro is fairly different from either Beck or Gunvolt. Check out the trailer for Ekoro below and get to blasting! Er, bursting!

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