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Gunman Clive: Review Revisit

by Justin Berube, Nicholas Bray, J.P. Corbran, David Egolf, Andy Goergen, James Jones, Zack Kaplan, Dave Mellert, Neal Ronaghan, and Guillaume Veillette - April 5, 2013, 7:55 am EDT
Total comments: 9

We weigh in on the January release as a group.

When Gunman Clive launched on the 3DS eShop in January, word spread like wildfire about this $2 eShop title that was actually GOOD. The game was quickly praised on podcasts, and reviewed positively. Our own Tyler Ohlew gave the game a 9 out of 10 when he reviewed it, saying that "[Gunman] 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." 

In the end, most of us at NWR really enjoyed the game, but we thought we'd take a more scientific approach and ask everyone who played it to write a one-paragraph review and assign the score they would have given below. The result is our first (of hopefully many!) Review Revisits, where we take a recently released game and put it through its paces with multiple opinions.

If you have a game you'd like to see in the Review Revisit hot seat, drop us a note in the talkback thread!

Review from Neal Ronaghan, Site Director

Gunman Clive was a breath of fresh air, and easily the best full-priced $2 game I've ever bought on a Nintendo platform. The art style was immeadiately captivating, and the callbacks to the Mega Man series made me smile, especially since it was anachronistically not related to Mega Man at all. The charm is what ultimately made me crazy about the game, though, especially when I realized you could play as the captured female at the start, and also play as a humorous unlockable character after you beat it.

Review from Nicholas Bray, Australian Correspondant

This is a game where the presentation, gameplay and overall polish, come together to help make one of the best titles on the eShop. Taking design tips and ideas from old-school platformers such as Mega Man, the running, shooting and some satisfying boss encounters help make this a memorable experience. Although short, the level design and aesthetics more than make up for it.

Review from Guillaume Veillette, Radio Free Nintendo Editor

The game has all the right influences and is executed well enough to make it a hit with fans of NES action games. The low price makes its brevity much more palatable and easier to recommend. You can buy it along with, not instead of, some of the meatier action games on the eShop service, such as Mutant Mudds or Cave Story!

Review from J.P. Corbran, Community Manager

Gunman Clive is exactly the kind of thing I want to see on the eShop: a small, focused, really polished game. Taking the best elements of old-school action platformers like Mega Man, it creates a short but very fun series of levels. While the campaign doesn't last very long, it provides a good variety of gameplay ideas that keep it feeling fresh the whole way through. This is a must-buy game for any platformer fan, especially at that price.

Review from Dave Mellert, Contributing Editor

This is one of those examples of a game that won me over by its price as much as its actual content. Packed with two to three hours of straightforward, gorgeous, run-and-gun platforming, it is certainly a better use of your $2 than a latte. And those graphics! I would have paid a buck just to check out the 3D art - Gunman Clive makes a very impressive use of the 3DS's main feature. I think this game is a no-brainer for anyone with a 3DS.

Review from Justin Berube, Staff Writer

A platforming game with shooting elements, Gunman Clive is almost like a Mega Man and Contra hybrid, but sadly doesn't excel in either area. That said, the title is still a fun game while it lasts, which is approximately 30 minutes. The game's short length may seem like a problem, however it isn't so bad since the title only costs $2. What really makes Gunman Clive worth it is its unique hand drawn looking art style which is something I'll remember for a long time.

Review from Zack Kaplan, Staff Writer

Gunman Clive is a good illustration of what makes a quality eShop title. Appealing visuals, fun platforming action, and some catchy music make up for a very short but enjoyable experience  The game's length is its downfall, even at the low price point the game ends too soon. I personally finished it in an hour. Still, it is still a great trip through the wild west.

Review from James Jones, Senior Editor

As visually arresting as it is, Gunman Clive's style cannot counter what are a handful of very noticeable issues that detract from an otherwise enjoyable experience. Besides its almost comical lack of length, the action feels very slow when compared to similar titles, the power-ups feel incongruous with the current challenge, and the fact each enemy encounter is a "one-on-one" experience prevents the game from offering for true difficulty scaling. The building blocks for a really good game are here, but compared to other run-and-gun games its patterned after the game feels as empty as the ink pen visuals.

Review from David Egolf, Programmer

With great graphics, a fun little story, and some wonderful music, Gunman Clive is certainly one of those games that is worth playing at least once. While keeping controls simple, it manages to provide the right amount of challenge that doesn't get tiresome quickly. This game does end up on the shorter end of the scale, however that's not entirely to it's detriment. After a few playthroughs, it becomes a time trial (while trying to minimize deaths,) perfect for when you have a few minutes to kill before an appointment.


Evan_BApril 05, 2013

Hell yeah, James Jones.

As much as I enjoyed and got my money's worth out of Gunman Clive, it's disgustingly short and features some pretty unbalanced mechanics. The powerups are barely worth it (aside from spread, go figure), the enemies never really swarm, and the physics are very wonky, especially in the later levels.

Despite all of this, it's absurdly low price makes it okay for purchase- I'm just hoping the success of the title allows a more polished game to come of it.

Pixelated PixiesApril 05, 2013

I also have to agree with the J.J (James Jones).

I had fun with the game, but I really wasn't a fan of the floaty jumping or the agonisingly slow bullets. For it's price point I thought it was perfectly reasonable and relatively enjoyable, but, for me, it was pretty forgettable.

CericApril 05, 2013

Have you guys played MegaMan 2 recently?  The bullets travel and clive jumps much like MegaMan.

Pixelated PixiesApril 05, 2013

Quote from: Ceric

Have you guys played MegaMan 2 recently?  The bullets travel and clive jumps much like MegaMan.

I disagree. Gunman Clive certainly strives to me like Mega Man, but I can't say it's entirely successful. Clive's jumps are very much different. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but on the way down Mega Man accelerates. In other words, he hangs in the air briefly, but once he's reached the peak of his jump his fall is relatively speaking much quicker. Clive, on the other hand, seems to fall far more slowly.

I'm not saying every game of this sort needs to be exactly like Mega Man. All I'm saying is that I vastly prefer the platforming of  Mega Man over Gunman Clive. I also found the shooting in Gunman Clive to be oddly unsatisfying compared to games like Mega Man and Gunstar Heroes.

I thought Gunman Clive was enjoyable, but, for me, it didn't do any one thing particularly well.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorApril 05, 2013

Gunman Clive was an awesome game.  Yeah, it's short, but it's also $2.  Well worth it.  If we continued to get games like this, I'd be thrilled with the eShop. :D

FjurbanskiApril 06, 2013

Yeah, for $2 I can't really complain that much. Ultimately Gunman Clive was a fun, but forgettable game. It needed to be longer and to just have more ideas and variety. I got two hours of fun out of the game, and I'll probably never play it again.

I expected my position to elicit a much more profoundly negative response.

I grew up on Metal Slug and Mega Man. Gunman Clive is not in their league, even when adjusting expectations for the pricetag.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorApril 06, 2013

Maybe you should adjust your expectations away from Metal Slug/Mega Man.  I never really got that vibe from the game...

I came for the Mega Man allusions, and stayed because I had fun with it.

This is a case where the fact that it is $2 made me a lot higher on it than I would have if it was $10. I'm not bothered by a game that I can 100% with every character in like 2 hours if I'm spending $2 on it.

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