3DS

North America

Gunman Clive

by Tyler Ohlew - January 2, 2013, 5:47 pm PST
Total comments: 13

9

No giant robot spiders, but this is certainly a wild, wild west.

Gunman Clive eschews what we've been fed to believe are the makings of a nostalgic platformer. Despite a clear understanding of its influences, it never flaunts them or screams, "Hey, look at how old school I am! Aren't I old school?" There's no retro sprite work, chip tune music, and no pandering. Clive is a successful attempt at continuing a genre we don't see much of anymore, a genre with which other developers often focus on tickling our 8-bit fancies instead of capitalizing on what's really important.

Gunman Clive puts you in control of Clive, a fearless cowboy forced to save his girlfriend from bad guys, as you run, jump, and shoot your way across 20 levels. Gauging Gunman Clive as a simple throwback or parody, however, will only lower your guard for how off the rails this train goes (which is ,considering a train does indeed forego its tracks to attack you). You start off with an unassuming pea-shooter, but random enemy drops provide power-ups that upgrade your weapon in interesting and unexpected ways (though these power-ups occasionally fall from airborne enemies into pits).

What starts as a tale of cowboys quickly becomes a death machine that would make Dr. Wily proud. Gunman Clive feels like an adventure and doesn't let issues like a consistent theme get in the way. The shanty towns and rocky terrain of the initial levels are later injected with disappearing blocks, gravity shifts, and paralyzing electric pulses, and soon enough the game's world becomes unrecognizable from those early goings. The game's aesthetic is pleasant in its consistencys, presenting a scratchy world composed of few colors, and enemies that stand out in their soft, watercolor design. If holding one's attention is a game's greatest goal, Gunman Clive succeeds with aplomb.

As mentioned, Clive handily marries the old and new. Difficulty is a tricky aspect of any game, but in the case of retro-inspired works, it often misinterprets what developers of old were attempting. Gunman Clive pays respect to this particular memory, but is also equally progressive. The difficulty selected (easy, medium,or hard) determines your character's health level, and there is no life counter. Stages don't have checkpoints, but instantly restart upon death and are bite-size in length. The game's difficulty comes from the design of its stages, not unneeded frustration masking itself as a nod to the past.

I don’t like discussing a game’s length, but this game's has been an issue for some. Gunman Clive is a very short title. However, that’s only if you’re basing it off a single one-hour playthrough. Players are afforded the ability to play as two additional characters, one which controls differently from Clive, and another that unlocks upon completion of the game and greatly changes how you play (I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s very whacky and suits the title perfectly). I’d argue that its brevity is also due to a lack of fluff- Gunman Clive may be concise, but it creates the same amount of fun I’ve had in much longer titles.

Summary

Pros
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Great balance of difficulty
  • Provides great reasons for replay
Cons
  • Brevity leaves you wanting more
  • Occasional loss of power-ups is disappointing

Talkback

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 03, 2013

I wonder if the prospect of releasing a demo on eShop for this game was ever considered given how short it is. This seems like the sort of game I might enjoy, but it's also a game that I couldn't be completely confident in until I got hands on with the controls and how the movement feels.

Though, the trailer for the game has given me a clearer idea of the sorts of platforming and action it's going for. I'll maybe circle back to this when I'm finished with some of my other games.

Also, the trailer is actually pretty funny. It jokingly proclaims, 'from the creator of some other unknown smartphone games' comes 'a generic old school sidescroller' with 'weird artsy-looking 3d graphics'. It's very on the nose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzqEzd_tFgs

I have this on my Xperia Play, and for what little I've played of it, it's a pretty cool game. It's a bit hard though.

The_Darkest_RedJanuary 04, 2013

I picked this up on 3DS last night and had a very good time with it so I'd say this review is spot on. The varied gameplay, incredible art (seriously, it looks amazing on the 3DS XL), catchy music, and nice use of 3D all combine to make this game well worth the $2 asking price. It's a very charming package overall.

red14January 05, 2013

I see this as being like a wild west themed Mega Man. Which gives me another reason to purchase this title.

joshnickersonJanuary 05, 2013

Quote from: red14

I see this as being like a wild west themed Mega Man. Which gives me another reason to purchase this title.

When you get to the stages filled with ladders and disappearing blocks, yeah, you'll definatly get a Mega Man vibe. Totally worth the $2, even though I suck at it. :)

CericJanuary 05, 2013

Quote from: joshnickerson

Quote from: red14

I see this as being like a wild west themed Mega Man. Which gives me another reason to purchase this title.

When you get to the stages filled with ladders and disappearing blocks, yeah, you'll definatly get a Mega Man vibe. Totally worth the $2, even though I suck at it. :)

I swear the Gravity stage throws in a notable rift in the music from Gravity Man and the fight before the last has the Dun-Dun-DUN-da-da that is so notable in Zelda II's music.

reefJanuary 06, 2013

I just beat this game for the first time with Clive on Normal, and the game tells me I did it in 1 hour and seven minutes with 79 retries, probably most spent on that train boss lol. I'm not good at video games, but that's longer than I expected, and I definitely want to play more of the other characters and tougher difficulties.

Overall I liked the style of the game and thought it was really engaging. Some of the elements that were borrowed from other 2D platformers were cool, but some did not work as well in Gunman Clive (bouncing mushrooms, particularly) because of how floaty he is. But still, definitely a great game - game of the year so far  ;)

ejamerJanuary 07, 2013


The game is short. There is no getting around that, and I think it's important that people know this going in. It's also a lot of fun and worth playing through multiple times.


I agree with reef about the bouncing mushrooms in particular not feeling very good or natural in the game, but everything else felt good and well designed. Levels are short and simply, regularly introducing new ideas to keep the game from becoming stale.

Took me 45:48 to play though on Normal difficulty with Clive, using 45 retries. Looking forward to playing through again with the two other characters. Can also see myself picking this up whenever I've got a few minutes to kill as it's very good for short 2-3 minute sessions.


Not a game I might recommend at a higher price... but at $2 this felt like a steal.

CericJanuary 07, 2013

Stages 12-14 are probably the hardest in the game, 12 being the bouncing mushroom one.  I agree the bouncing mushrooms should probably not have made it but its only 1 stage.  A good fix would have been to make them always jump you X high thats my biggest problem with them.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 14, 2013

I got around to buying this today. Man, it's short! 40 minutes to be precise. I had fun though, and at £1.99 I guess I really shouldn't complain about it's length.

Still, it raises an interesting question about value. There are games on eShop like Fluidity and Crashmo which cost 4 times as much but those games also provide heaps of content and are 20, 30 or (as was the case for me with Crashmo) 40 times as long.

In terms of the quality and length of the experience I wouldn't exactly say Gunman Clive is a steal, but it's probably appropriately priced.

CericJanuary 14, 2013

Quote from: Pixelated

I got around to buying this today. Man, it's short! 40 minutes to be precise. I had fun though, and at £1.99 I guess I really shouldn't complain about it's length.

Still, it raises an interesting question about value. There are games on eShop like Fluidity and Crashmo which cost 4 times as much but those games also provide heaps of content and are 20, 30 or (as was the case for me with Crashmo) 40 times as long.

In terms of the quality and length of the experience I wouldn't exactly say Gunman Clive is a steal, but it's probably appropriately priced.

Did you actually fully play through it?
You should definitely play the unlocked character.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 14, 2013

Quote from: Ceric

Did you actually fully play through it?
You should definitely play the unlocked character.


I actually thought the unlockable character was kind of dumb, lol. That 'character' removes the things I like about Mega Man-esque games (which is the precision jumping and shooting). It's a somewhat comical little unlock, but it's not exactly something that would make me want to play through it again, fun as it was.

CericJanuary 14, 2013

Quote from: Pixelated

Quote from: Ceric

Did you actually fully play through it?
You should definitely play the unlocked character.


I actually thought the unlockable character was kind of dumb, lol. That 'character' removes the things I like about Mega Man-esque games (which is the precision jumping and shooting). It's a somewhat comical little unlock, but it's not exactly something that would make me want to play through it again, fun as it was.

The Precision Jumping is their in another way.

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Genre Adventure
Developer Hörberg Productions
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Gunman Clive
Release Jan 03, 2013
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Gunman Story
Release May 22, 2013
PublisherFlyhigh Works
Rating12+
eu: Gunman Clive
Release Dec 20, 2012
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