Multiplayer shoot 'em ups are almost always cooperative but Rival Megagun is here to provide exciting competitive battles instead.
Rival Megagun has you basically play a shoot 'em up on your side of the screen while shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles. Meanwhile, a meter will fill with energy depending on how well you perform. You can then use this energy to unleash character-specific attacks on your opponent who resides on the other side of the screen. If you manage to max out your meter, you can transform into a boss to unleash all hell on your foe. That's basically all there is to Rival Megagun's gameplay. There are some other elements such as being able to shoot enemies over to your opponent's side and deploy a bomb whenever things start getting too hectic but the core gameplay still isn't far removed from a basic vertical shoot 'em up. It may sound strange but I would compare it to Puyo Puyo Tetris in that at its core, it's a basic example of its representative genre but the added competitive aspect where you throw junk at your opponent adds a layer of enjoyable strategy to the equation.
Rival Megagun looks decent and sounds great. For starters, the selection of characters is distinct and quite unique. You can play as an arrogant teenage boy named Gen Thompson, an ex-supervillain named Dr. Magic, a young woman computer wiz named Nano Ayesa, a handsome pilot named Ruby Hart, a little kid inventor simply named Smith, and a goofy robot named Buddy 2.0. It truly is an eclectic cast. Anyway, the music is fantastic and it reminded me a great deal of the early Mega Man X games. Finally, the visuals are okay. No particular stage really stands out and the enemies and ships are rather generic but the graphics are at least somewhat detailed and remain unambiguous. Overall, Rival Megagun's presentation is generally well done although it doesn't stand out from the average shmup.
There are 3 ways to play Rival Megagun: single player Arcade mode, local multiplayer Versus mode, and Online Battle mode with friends or strangers. There are online leaderboards and collectible cards to unlock as well which adds some replay value. Plus, you can customize each character's Gear, Weapon, and Drone loadout if you want. Anyway, the fact that you can play multiplayer both online and locally is awesome because this is a multiplayer-focused experience. That being said, Rival Megagun could definitely use a lot more variation. After playing just a few matches, I noticed that everything started to become very repetitive. I wish there were mods that substantially changed the gameplay but instead, there are only basic options and just a few stages to play within.
I don't mean to complain too much because what's here is a solid blend of gameplay elements that makes for one unique competitive game but the shoot 'em up gameplay at its core is extremely basic and uninteresting. The enemies are super-easy to outsmart even on higher difficulty settings and if you're half-decent at playing shmups, avoiding your opponent's attempts to end your life is usually a breeze. The only significantly challenging part is when your foe transforms into their Mega Gunship form but by the time it takes to gain enough energy, you'll likely be so worn out that you'll welcome a loss. That's right; the matches can go on forever and although a match may begin excitingly, it inevitably turns into a tedious and drawn-out exercise in patience.
If the concept of a competitive shoot 'em up appeals to you then Rival Megagun is definitely a solid choice. Although it could have been so much more, what's here is still a unique and enjoyable game. Here's hoping we see more shmups like it down the road.
- + Great mix of shoot 'em up and competitive multiplayer gameplay
- + Awesome music and cool characters
- + Features local and online multiplayer
- - Matches have the tendency to become drawn-out and tedious
- - Core shmup gameplay is nothing special
- - Could use more variations