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.
Gunman 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.
While there is very little story, Gunman Clive excels in the gameplay department, and brilliantly embraces its Wild West setting.
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.
Gunman 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.
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