Inti Creates' 2D action crossover has come back after its 2014 3DS debut. Mighty Gunvolt Burst combines the heroes of Mighty No. 9 and Azure Striker Gunvolt with a retro coat of paint and a few new twists so get ready for some Mega Man style fun!
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is quite a simple 2D action game at its core. Aside from running, jumping, and shooting; there really isn't much more to the controls. The only additional button is used for GV to open a menu that contains special abilities for him to perform. This simplistic control scheme allows you to focus on the gameplay and not fumble around or memorize needlessly complicated actions. The gameplay itself is full of tough platforming and plenty of enemies to shoot which will feel right at home for any fan of retro action games. One aspect that's handled beautifully is the scoring system. Although you have unlimited lives, you're graded upon completing each stage so you'll want to perish as little as possible. Also, you're awarded extra points as you defeat enemies in close proximity which is known as Burst. Achieving a high combo of Burst kills will net you enough points to get a higher grade by the end of a stage. Overall, this is classic 2D action that'll keep genre fans hooked.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst's graphics are about halfway between 8-bit and 16-bit which provides a unique-looking world that feels retro yet doesn't emulate any particular era. The stages are fantastically detailed and provide distinct visual styles. Their design is also noteworthy as you'll come across many unique situations that'll test your gaming skills. Whether you're jumping high underwater, hopping across Runbow-style disappearing platforms, or trying to play with the screen tilted; you're in for one varied campaign. Anyway, the music is superb and comes close to the quality of the original Mega Man games. The sound effects are equally well-done and provide satisfaction to battling enemies and collecting power-ups. In the end, Mighty Gunvolt Burst's sights and sounds are sure to delight.
As you progress through the campaign as either Beck or GV, you'll amass a wealth of collectibles. First, you'll fill out a collection of pixel stickers that are purely superficial but collecting them all will be a fun task for perfectionists. For the record, I currently have 75 which is probably about half. Next, both Beck and GV will gain CP as they progress which basically represents their maximum equipment load. They'll also gain modules that they can equip. Fiddling around in the customization menus to maximize each character's capabilities is extremely rewarding. You'll not only turn each of them into a robot-slaying machine; you can also have an array of configurations per character that you can switch to on the fly to overcome any situation that may arise. For example, you can have one that's suited for platforming with the ability to double-jump and another that's purely for combat complete with attack and defense multipliers.
All of this being said, I'm kind of disappointed by the fact that both characters play as similarly as they do. The only notable differences are that GV has special abilities while Beck can choose different shot types and GV can double-jump while Beck can air-dash. I completed the campaign with both characters and hoped to see a bonus third character unlock by doing so but all I got for my efforts was completing a couple of challenges that awarded me with more pixel stickers.
Another issue is that the difficulty curve is very counterintuitive. In other words, the beginning of the campaign is a lot more difficult than the end. This is because customization can result in amplifying your capabilities to a much greater extent than you'd think. To illustrate this, the first main boss that I fought took me multiple attempts while I beat the last boss on the first try with very little effort.
Finally, even though you can play through the campaign as both characters, there isn't much replay value. Each playthrough will last a little over an hour which is quite short even for this type of game. Upon completing the campaign, you'll unlock a harder difficulty setting that you can challenge if you wish. Besides that, there is a list of 30 challenges to master. Considering I only have 12 checked off as of writing this, I can imagine that unlocking all of them will take a lot of time and effort. Also, I found the lack of leaderboards to be perplexing considering Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a very score-driven game. I hope they're introduced later in a patch.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is an overall fun and fitting tribute to retro 2D action games that stars two recent heroes in the genre. Although you won't be playing it for years to come, it's still a worthwhile entry in one of the most classic genres in gaming.
- + Tight Mega Man style gameplay that'll keep classic 2D action game fans hooked
- + Fantastic retro visuals and music
- + Character customization is very rewarding
- - Both characters are a bit too similar when it comes to gameplay
- - Backwards difficulty curve
- - Quite short with limited replay value