As far as I'm concerned, Inti Creates are the masters of 2D action games and they've just unleashed their best game yet.
I've been a huge fan of Inti Creates from back when Mega Man Zero debuted and since then, they've made some incredible projects including the amazing Azure Striker Gunvolt series. Although it has already received a couple of spin-offs, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is the first true side-game as it stars the very cool Copen and feels like a true follow-up to the franchise. Its story involves the evil Sumeragi Institute and a ragtag group of kids who are hiding from its brutal reign and dastardly soldiers known as The Falcons. However, hope is restored when they meet Copen and his trusty pal Lola as they may just be powerful enough to take on Sumeragi and defeat them once and for all. I absolutely loved the cast of characters from their lovely artwork to their expressive Japanese voice actors and as you play, you won't want to say goodbye to this delightful bunch of chums, that's for sure.
Of course, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is packed with amazing 2D action which is its main appeal so if you love the genre then allow me to say right off the bat; you need to play this game! Controlling Copen is super-tight and responsive and doing so involves mid-air dashing around stages while firing a vast array of weaponry and performing the odd special move. My left thumb currently has a blister on it from playing this as much as I did over the past couple of days which rarely happens and I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Thankfully, I completed the entire game and lived to tell about it. Anyway, dashing into enemies places a target on them then you shoot and deploy special weapons until they explode. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is and the variety of special weapons that you receive from defeating the bosses is fantastic, too. It's one of the most exhilarating games that you'll ever play.
Keep in mind, Copen has a stock of Bullits that allow him to dash and automatically evade enemy attacks which you can easily recharge by simply tapping down twice. Maintaining these is crucial and you can increase the maximum number of Bullits as well as loads of other boosts via spending earned currency in the customize menu. You'll also level up as you play so if you ever get stuck, you could always replay missions. Speaking of which, you can try and acquire 4 collectibles in most stages as well as play them in Score Attack mode and try to beat your best times and scores. Between missions, you can even talk to your friends which increases the chances that you'll be rescued whenever you're in a pinch. You also earn Kudos points as you play that allow Lola to transform.
I'd be doing Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX a disservice if I didn't mention how awesome its soundtrack is. Each stage has a unique track and they're mostly energetic tunes that amplify the action and sound like they belong in a PS1-era Mega Man game. When you factor in the gratifying sound effects, you're left with one rewarding soundscape that'll get your heart racing as you zoom around stages while performing stylish moves and attacks. Oh, and it's incredibly satisfying whenever you deploy your SP Skill.
Finally, a couple of aspects left me feeling like Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX could have done a bit more to add replay value. Once you finish the game, you unlock 6 bonus stages that are pretty cool and act as enjoyable challenges. However, I was looking forward to unlocking an extra character to play through the campaign again with or some sort of additional mode. Last but not least, I wish you could customize Copen more as simply levelling up and purchasing boosts doesn't quite feel like enough.
When it comes to 2D action games, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying experience than Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. From its spot-on presentation to its high-octane action, it's a prime example of 2D action done right.
- + Intense and supremely satisfying 2D action that'll make your thumbs blister
- + Top-notch art, music, and effects
- + Awesome array of weapons and abilities
- - Supplementary content only consists of a handful of unlockable special missions
- - Could use more customization options