I really wanted to find a way to talk about this game without comparing it to the Mega Man series, but you really can’t. If you’re a long time fan of that franchise you’ve been waiting a long time for another game like that to come along. Mighty No. 9 tried, but didn’t really live up to the expectations people placed on it. Mighty Gunvolt was a spin-off of the 3DS game Azure Striker Gunvolt. That short experience felt close to what fans of Mega Man had been wanting, but hadn’t got. The development team is back again, this time with a full-sized ‘sequel’ to that game. This is the game that I feel Mighty No. 9 wanted to be. It’s like a second chance for that game and you really should play it if you’re looking for that Mega Man fix.
So what exactly is Mighty Gunvolt Burst? It’s a side scrolling platformer in the vein of those other games I’ve mentioned. It stars Beck from Mighty No. 9 and Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt. The game is being developed by Inti Creates, a group staffed by many former ex-Capcom employees who actually worked on the Mega Man franchise at different point. A mysterious entity, known as Teseo has forced Beck and Gunvolt inside a virtual reality simulation. You have to fight the eight Mighty Numbers, in whatever order you choose, before facing off against Teseo in a final confrontation. If that sounds familiar, it should.
Where this game differs from other games like it is in the customization. No longer do you just acquire the powers from the enemy you’ve beaten. As you play through the levels you’ll find different upgrades and abilities hidden throughout each. When you acquire those they become immediately available for use. Before each level you have the option to use CP to equip those options. You can mix and match them freely from about a dozen different option categories. Each upgrade costs CP, but you can also make things more challenging by equipping negative abilities to gain some of that CP to use in other areas. This is where equipping abilities that enemies are weak to comes in handy. Mixing and matching those abilities will make the game as easy or as hard as you want it. Of course, there are achievements for beating every enemy with the weapon they’re weak against. You can even re-equip yourself in the middle of levels if you’re having problems or you’re finding enemies aren’t weak to your weapons. It’s nice to be able to customize that on the fly without having to get out of a level and replaying sections you’ve already completed.
The levels themselves are fairly short affairs, but Mega Man style games haven’t been known for their length. You can probably plow through the main portions of the game in just a couple hours. Each level will take you between 5-10 minutes to complete. The game keeps a running tally of how long it takes you to complete and how many times you’ve had to retry the level. There are no lives, just the shame of seeing that counter rise. Most levels I was able to complete with no more than half a dozen deaths and I forsee that getting even easier as you learn the enemy placements and level progressions. Checkpoints are fairly even spaced and so a death means you won’t have to retread too much ground. Like with any good game they also don’t feel like they’re cheating you. Death feels like you did something wrong and correcting that mistake means it doesn’t happen again. There’s no real randomization to any of it either, so once you learn exactly where things are they’ll always be in that same place the next time through. The bosses are the same as Mighty No. 9, but they have been given new attacks and new patterns.
Beck and Gunvolt themselves play slightly different from each other. Each has the ability to upgrade their weaponry like the other. Gunvolt, though, has access to some special abilities that Beck doesn’t. That doesn’t really give him and advantage over the other, but it gives you a slightly different way to play the game. The new dowsing ability you can buy as an upgrade gives you the chance to find all the hidden secrets you might otherwise miss. It’s a nice little feature that rumbles harder based on how close you are to a hidden collectible. It’s a small thing, but nice to see HD rumble used in a way that feels like more than just a reason to shake the controller. Missing from this release is Ekoro from Gal*Gun, who was a playable character in the original game.
Might Gunvolt Burst feels like a second chance for Beck and Mighty No. 9. It gives Azure Striker Gunvolt fans a chance at another adventure with the character. It builds and refines the game play from the former title, pulls familiar enemies for him to fight and really feels like this is the game the first one should have been. The upgrades aren’t just collectibles. They really give you the ability to mix and match you abilities to suit your playstyle or your needs. Finding them and getting as many of them as you can will make the latter half of the game almost a breeze, but they’re worth hunting down. If this had been the first release for Beck it would have made Mega Man fans very happy. It’s a very solid platformer that gives you an old school feel and feels like a natural progression for games like that. I enjoyed every minute I had with the game, even when I was dodging message board comments from angry fans during the final boss fight.
Review copy of the game purchased on the Nintendo eShop
Played through the game once as Beck, partially as Gunvolt
Total Play Time: 4 hours