Gunman Clive Review




Gunman Clive was initially a mobile game that ended up being ported to the Nintendo 3DS. It was developed by Hörberg Productions and became well-known for being a $2 game. While its cheap price made it an easy sell, it also featured fantastic gameplay that found an audience on Nintendo’s handheld. Gunman Clive would then go on to be released on Steam, and as part of a Gunman Clive HD Collection on Wii U. And of course, now on the Nintendo Switch, which is the version that I’m reviewing today. I skipped the collection on Wii U, but always wanted to play the game on a bigger screen. Now that I have, I can say that Gunman Clive is every bit as good as I remember it being, so you’ll only find joys in today’s review.

Fantastic Action Platforming Gameplay

If you’ve ever wanted a game set in the wild west that plays like Mega Man, then this is the game for you. Gunman Clive is an action platformer with a main objective of getting to the end of each stage. To do this, you’ll be gunning down enemies and tackling platforming obstacles that stand in your way. Defeating enemies isn’t a difficult task and you’ll get some cool guns to help you out. Guns that seem to take inspiration from Contra such as a spread shot, laser, and homing bullets. The real difficulty is dealing with enemies as you overcome traditional platforming obstacles. Things like moving platforms, disappearing platforms, minecarts, and good old bottomless pits. There are a few jumps that are a bit tricky, but overall the gameplay feels great, even if it doesn’t really offer up anything new for platforming veterans.


I compared the game to Mega Man, but the comparison is only meant for the basic gameplay. You run, shoot, and jump similar to a Mega Man game, plus have a similar health meter. The screen transitions and level layouts are also similar, but that’s essentially where the comparison ends. Gunman Clive is a linear experience that sees you completing levels one after the other, with a boss fight waiting after every four levels. Bosses don’t give you their weapons, and they don’t have weaknesses. You have to rely just on your skill to make it through the game. There is also a shoot ‘em up inspired level to keep the game feeling fresh to the end.

Its Wild West Theme is Done with Style

Gunman Clive has unique visuals that are a blend of 3D models with hand drawn shading. This visual style really makes it stand out against a wave of samey looking, retro inspired games. It doesn’t feature a lot of color, but the various shades of brown actually work considering its setting - this was actually one of many jokes in the game’s Nintendo 3DS release trailer. When the game does use color, it is usually a bright yellow, or purple that pop against the light shades of brown. Rounding out the game is a decent soundtrack that definitely has its share of western influence.

A Game that Keeps on Giving

Gunman Clive is a rather short experience with most levels easily conquered in under a minute. Because of how short, and well designed the game is, it makes playing it more than once an enjoyable experience. However, there is more to the game than just seeing it through to the end. Each level is timed meaning you can race against the clock to get the best time. You can also get a star on each level for beating it without taking damage. There are three difficulty settings to tackle, as well as multiple characters to play as. You can play as Ms. Johnson, who can float ala Princess Peach, or Chieftain Bob who must rely on a melee attack. Then there is the unlockable Duck Mode, which lets you play as, you guessed it, a duck. The duck has no attack and has the same objective of every other character. The one big change here is that there are no boss fights during Duck Mode.

Conclusion

Gunman Clive is a fantastic action platformer that may feel basic at times, but really delivers an unforgettable experience. Its unique visuals set it apart from most other games, and despite the developer’s tongue-in cheek joke about it being generic, Gunman Clive is anything but. The game is fairly short, but it has a good amount of content, and it’s good enough to revisit multiple times. I highly recommend the Gunman Clive HD Collection, which can be found on the Nintendo Switch eShop. If you've already experienced the game, perhaps you'd be interested in checking out the one level Game Boy demo.

Final Score: +3

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