Gunman Clive Review

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Gunman Clive was first released on iOS, android, and the PC, but has since found its way to the Nintendo eShop on your Nintendo 3DS. It’s a game that sarcastically touts being a generic sidescroller and having artsy 3D graphics. While both points are true, Gunman Clive’s trailer seems to have missed something; it’s Mega Man in the Wild West.

Gunman Clive has very little story; somebody is kidnapped and needs to be rescued. Who has been kidnapped? That depends on the character you choose; your choice is between Clive and Ms. Johnson. That’s practically everything you need to know about the story for this game because Gunman Clive’s focus is on gameplay. For this review, I’ll talk mainly about my experience with Clive.

UoZqawEbpBGJdagSDeVxl9XTj5Xk0Z0YGunman Clive is a 2D sidescrolling action game with a heavy emphasis put on platforming elements. It can be best compared to Mega Man and Contra, but you can tell the developer took inspiration from Super Mario Bros. and even Donkey Kong Country.

Gunman Clive is broken up into four worlds, with each world having five stages. The action is a straight forward run and gun, platforming affair. Clive must contend with cowboys, animals, and a variety of other obstacles before he can reach the end of each stage. Most enemies can be taken down with one shot, but some will need an extra to fall. Clive does have a health meter – its size depends on the difficulty mode you select – which will deplete as he takes enemy damage. There are no lives, but once your health is depleted, Clive will be punished by being sent back to the beginning of the level. Fear not, enemies occasionally drop health restoring cake for Clive to consume.

At the end of each world, Clive will have to face off with a boss. These boss fights start tame, but wind up getting more exciting and challenging. It’s a good idea to try and preserve more powerful guns for these fights, but a little courage will go a long way.

Gunman Clive’s levels are designed with retro sidescrollers in mind. There are moving platforms, disappearing blocks, and even respawning enemies. It’s not a difficult or long game by any means, but it’s a fun game to play. Clive controls extremely well with only a handful of buttons to be concerned about. The d-pad will move Clive, the B button will make him jump, and the Y button makes him shoot his gun. Further inspired by classic games, Clive can pick up different guns to use, one of which is a spread shot. However, these guns will be lost after being hit by an enemy.

You might think that Gunman Clive’s setting would restrict the possibilities for levels, but there is a bit of variety thrown in that keeps the experience fresh. One level in particular sees Clive riding in a mine cart, similar to the mine levels found in the Donkey Kong Country games. Another sees Clive flying through space on a rocket and shooting at enemies much like you would in a Shoot ‘Em Up game. Why is Clive in space? You’ll have to play to find out.

I mentioned earlier that you can choose between Clive and another character, Ms. Johnson. Both characters do control differently, so I’d like to touch on that briefly. Ms. Johnson isn’t as agile as Clive which means she can’t shoot while running, however, Ms. Johnson can use her dress to glide briefly through the air. There is a third character to unlock, but I won’t ruin the surprise. Though, I will say that this character can’t use any sort of attack.

5YUXBjecAnbtZY2Q7-6VRy_7-w4UOKT4Gunman Clive’s visuals are some of my favourite on the Nintendo eShop. They aren’t colorful, but they’re artistic. The game looks like it’s been sketched and shaded by hand which not only feels unique and looks great, but works wonderfully in 3D. There is a lot of depth thanks to game’s brilliant layering, which includes fantastic background art, and some decent protruding effects thanks to the overall design.

In addition to the game’s Wild West visuals, it features a soundtrack that is very fitting. There is a good mix of western styled tracks that sound as if they come straight from an old NES title. In fact, you can hear little snippets from classic franchises; at least I’m positive I heard a little Castlevania ditty in there somewhere. Some tracks are repeated, but Gunman Clive never overwhelms the player with old tracks.

Final Thoughts:

For a $2 game, Gunman Clive delivers a solid, enjoyable experience. Retro gamers will likely adore this game, especially Mega Man and Contra fans. While there is very little story, Gunman Clive excels in the gameplay department, and brilliantly embraces its Wild West setting. It only took me 30 minutes to beat, so it’s a relatively short game. However, the game has a high replay value thanks to its inviting gameplay and extra characters.


Obtained by Purchase

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  • Robert

    Sounds like a huge winner in my book, am really looking forward to getting this once I complete something else soon.

    The megaman and contra references sound great and since Gunsmoke for the NES isn’t on VC, you get that old west feel. I’ve watched the trailer a few times and am digging the music and art style. Looks like that constantly moving cartoon sketch/pencil drawing type of thing.

    Edit: I also hadn’t heard about the additional playable characters which sounds cool.

    • Mini Fortress

      It is pretty neat, definitely adds more value to the game. Also helps that all three play differently.

      It is very old-school, especially with the respawning enemies, that surprised me a little, but made a lot of sense. Very cool game, the music has grown on me more since writing this review, and the art is that moving cartoon sketch drawing that you’re talking about. Looks really cool in motion, the screenshots and trailer don’t do it justice.

      • Robert

        Finished it in about an hour last night as Clive and *LOVE IT*. The respawning enemies surprised me too and losing your gun after one hit adds quite the element of pressure.

        The first few levels were so easy I wasn’t sure about the game. It then started to ramp up very nicely and the boss fights and stage variety was alot of fun. Some levels were quite difficult towards the end and took a number of attempts to complete. Certainly not Super Meat Boy hard, but enough to require some platforming skill.

        The music was also fantastic. I like all the tracks, but found myself favoring the western style vs chiptune. And as always I dislike those damn “medusa heads” with their floating wave patterns.. :)

        Time to get back to the next round as Ms Johnson and maybe ramp up the difficulty.

        The only thing I disliked, besides the medusa heads, were the rotating stone rectangle things. Some of the movement didn’t seem quite right and I slipped off too easily before that piece of the block rotated. I also hear there’s another bug on the stage 2 boss, but i didn’t run into that.

        • Mini Fortress

          I also liked losing your power-up when you get hit, it’s the equivalent of losing a life in Contra where you also lose your gun.

          The game has its moments, like the Mine Cart level, and the gravity levels towards the end. I had a bit of trouble with those, both of which become a lot harder in the higher difficulty settings.

          I honestly couldn’t remember the “medusa heads” if my life depended on it, and I’ve finished the game four times LOL.

          The bug only appears if you have the 3D turned on, while it looked great, I prefer to play every game with 3D off. I know the block you’re talking about, and I think you’re expected to jump really fast, I didn’t have an issue with it. If it’s what I’m thinking about, of course.

          • Robert

            Finished it as ms Johnson earlier this week in 0:38 and it seemed way easier than before. Some of it was knowing the levels, but I think her floating helped some near the end with jumping on the large rocks and platforms.

            Have to say I really enjoyed the cart and gravity levels. Want to go back and speedrun the cart level a bit more now.

            I think those medusa heads looked like clown heads or something, but they had that wave pattern from castlevania.

            Do you play any game with 3D on? That’s kind of wild. I had a rough time adjusting to the 3DS’s 3D at first, being dizzy for the first few days, but was good after that. I think it took me a number of months for all 3D to “sink in” right though. For example I just couldn’t see Zen Pinball correctly until a few months later.

            I also did get stuck by the 3D bug on level 10 during my second playthrough, but I hear a patch should be released soon.

          • Mini Fortress

            Ms. Johnson’s float definitely makes some of the trickier spots a little easier; definitely makes Super Mario Bros. 2 a lot more fun, with the Princess, of course.

            I cannot for the life of me remember them lol. I’ve got to play it again to find them.

            Have you tried Duck Mode? I’ve been able to beat it on normal, but I’m stuck big time on the train on hard.

            I try every game with 3D for a couple of hours, but switch it off mainly because I find it harder to play the games. My eyes aren’t terribly good and I seem to struggle with squinting and whatnot with the 3D on. I make sure I play enough to get a good evaluation, then turn it off to finish the game.

          • Robert

            I think the heads are near the end with the gravity levels.

            I tried the duck for the first level, but wanted to complete ms Johnson first. Will be going through as the duck soon. Am interested to see how they handle the boss battles. On hard mode does anything about the game or enemies change or is it just less of a life meter?

          • Mini Fortress

            I think I found them, they start appearing in the rocket level and then for the rest of the game!

            Just less life meter, everything stays exactly the same.

          • Robert

            I noticed that in some of the later levels (11-20?) there are multiple enemies, some run and some may even follow you to the next screen. I can’t remember if it did the same for Clive/MsJohnson, but it caught my attention with the 3rd character. (on normal difficulty)

            Suppose it did could have done this before, just didn’t remember from before. On the moving train one of the wolves followed me to the next car where you encounter the first yellow/orange mushroom thing that shoots in 5 directions.

            Man, this is probably far too much conversation for a short game. :)

            Anyway, really had fun with character 3 last night. It plays so differently with each providing a distinct experience.

          • Mini Fortress

            Funny you mentioned that because I had the exact same thing happen to me with character 3. That wolf caused me a couple of deaths, you have to let him run back before you move on. Still cannot get past the level on hard, will try again soon.

            I like that this game evoked so much out of us lol, definitely a small title that deserves the attention.

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