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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Sorta Fresh" Review: Gunman Clive!

He may not be the most original hero, but it's certainly an original game.
You know, when I picked up Gunman Clive for its insanely low price of $1.99, I wasn't really expecting much. A two dollar game can't really breathe that much atmosphere into a concept as basic as a run-and-gun 2D platformer. And not-too-far into Gunman Clive, I wasn't really thrilled with the title. Clive felt clunky, but aesthetically it was interesting. The graphical style chosen is really neat and ensures the developers that they don't have to work that hard and just focus on level design. The only problem is that the level design is extremely straightforward and, truthfully, not hard. Obstacles are clearly defined and the difficulty level is very forgiving, with very little precise platforming because if its somewhat slow and clunky controls. In the later parts of the game, Gunman Clive throws its western premise out the window, opting for a mind-boggling finish that will give some players feelings of the ending to Sonic and Knuckles or perhaps Wario Land 3.

But after completing the short adventure, you get a little surprise. And I'm not one to spoil games, but for the sake of this review, I feel it's necessary. Spoilers ahead.

SPOILERS FOR THE COMPLETION OF GUNMAN CLIVE!






Okay, the Duck mode is fucking brilliant.

I was pretty confused as to why such an arbitrary enemy was in earlier portions of the game, but upon unlocking the bugger and trying him out, the game became so ridiculously fun to me. The play style changes drastically and the true difficulty becomes avoidance, not defeat or triumph over your enemies.

And it's strange that this should be what makes the game for me, because Gunman Clive isn't really a bad game. It gets very good in the later areas, with some neater, tight platforming that can make you head spin. And, it's all about survival. Clive's hard mode only gives you two hits before you die and start back at the beginning of the level, which can be quite aggravating. But it's a nice way to buff the game's play time, even though the places that cause death are really annoying. One area that comes to mind is the precise mushroom platforming portion about halfway through. Other times, the game can be a bit trial and error-prone, but it's never ridiculous since the levels really are quite short.

But when you get Duck mode and have to try making it through levels without being touched, especially on hard mode with only two hits, you start to enjoy the game in a different way. You curse the inclusion of some well-placed enemies and breathe sighs of relief upon pulling off ridiculous jumps with the flight mechanic. You appreciate the game and how it was designed because it features two completely different play-styles.

And that's why Gunman Clive wins in my book. You have so many different ways to play the game- three different difficulties with no-hit challenges in every stage, and three different characters with their own abilities. The visual style is subtle but charming, and the music wavers between catchy and forgettable. It's an extremely fun title that may be a bit short, but for two freakin' dollars, you're really getting a bang for your buck.

Final Verdict: Gunman Clive doesn't turn the run-and-gun platformer formula on its head, but it has a great deal visual flair and a wealth of content and play style for its absurdly low price- it may be one of the best cheap 3DS games on the eShop.

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