Mighty Gunvolt Impressions: A Fun Free Game With The Potential For More

By Jack . August 27, 2014 . 1:31pm

While I first looked at Azure Striker Gunvolt and thought “this looks like a lot like Mega Man,” my first look at Mighty Gunvolt made me think “this is undeniably Mega Man”. The retro-style visuals, the tight controls, and familiar mechanics all seemed to be here. That said, like Azure Striker Gunvolt, an initial glance at Mighty Gunvolt won’t tell you the full story.


Perhaps the quirkiest aspect of Mighty Gunvolt comes from its collaborative nature between three different series Inti Creates has worked on: Mighty No. 9, Azure Striker Gunvolt and… Galgun. While Mighty Gunvolt bills itself as a crossover between three franchises, in general it feels more like an 8-bit remake of Azure Striker Gunvolt. Four out of the five stages in the game come from Azure Striker Gunvolt, with the remaining one dedicated to Galgun. Sure, Mighty No. 9 isn’t out yet, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed at that level distribution.


That being said, I really like the concept of taking ideas from Azure Striker Gunvolt and presenting them in a more traditional, mechanically simpler way. If anything, this game is actually a crossover between styles of platformers. Mighty Gunvolt looks and feels a lot like playing the NES-era Mega Man games, but many of Azure Striker Gunvolt’s unique enemies, bosses, and stage hazards are carried over and transition surprisingly well into the dramatically different environment.


Mighty Gunvolt also attempts to bridge the old and new style of games with its characters. Beck, Gunvolt, and Ekoro all take gameplay elements from their respective games to inject some new spice into the classic 8-bit platformer formula.


Beck plays closest to the traditional Mega Man moveset. He’s the only character with a slide, which allows him to go under certain areas for shortcuts and bonus points. One of the weirdest things to get used to is Beck’s charging mechanic, which unlike Mega Man, unleashes a powerful dash instead of firing a buster shot. Awkward at first, utilizing the charged up dash can become a very useful tool for both traversal and swiftly dispatching enemies once mastered.


While Beck’s mobility can be difficult to adjust to, Gunvolt feels more natural. He comes equipped with a double jump, allowing him to easily access higher areas and make quick work of the platforming sections. Disappointingly, the only electricity-based attack he uses feels pretty tame, only activating when you hold a button down for a few seconds. Gunvolt shoots out a ray of electricity that can he move around, but the range is kind of short and the long charge time to activate makes the move very situational.


Ekoro seems to be the most technical character in the cast, relying on the ability to charm enemies onto your side by hitting them with a charged shot. After you’ve entranced an enemy, it will fire bullets at other enemies for you until it gets destroyed, either by taking damage or by crashing into enemies by your own command. Ekoro’s mobility relies on the ability to fly, making it a middle ground between Beck’s dash and Gunvolt’s double jump.


The most apparent fusion between older and newer generations of gameplay comes from the level design. To put it simply, Mighty Gunvolt does for the NES Mega Man games what Azure Striker Gunvolt does for the Zero and ZX games. At a glance, levels feel consistent with an NES platformer, but a closer look reveals that the game also serves the same basis for score-focused gameplay that Azure Striker Gunvolt does.


Often, levels have paths meant purely for collecting score-increasing items, with some characters being able to access exclusive areas based on their mobility. Additionally, the combo system from Azure Striker Gunvolt returns, where the more enemies you kill without taking damage the more points you obtain.


Replaying stages for better scores and times makes up the meat of the game, as a casual run through doesn’t last very long. I’m not usually one to count playtime, but my first time through, completing the game with all three characters, lasted maybe a little over an hour total. A desire for high scores and speed-running is essential if you want to get the most out of Mighty Gunvolt.


What levels are there feature some generally good design, although after playing Azure Striker Gunvolt, much of it feels a little too familiar. While the level layouts are different, all the enemies and bosses work almost exactly like they do in Azure Striker Gunvolt, give or take some limitations granted by the faux-NES style. The best level to me might actually have been the Galgun one, which features enemies and a boss I was completely unfamiliar with.


I’m a little torn on Mighty Gunvolt based on my time with the game. As a free bonus, the game is unquestionably a great dessert to Azure Striker Gunvolt’s main course. If it had to stand on its own, however, it feels just a little too small to really stand among its NES inspirations, instead filling the role of a miniature Azure Striker Gunvolt.


I mainly just wish there was more to the game, it develops such a nice foundation, but ends before it hits its prime. That said, while it’s no Mega Man 11 for sure, Mighty Gunvolt scratches a similar itch and I’m glad it exists. And Inti Creates have said that they plan on releasing downloadable stages for the game, including ones focusing more on Beck.


Food for thought:


1. I think it’s really interesting that Mighty Gunvolt emphasizes the score aspect so much, as the only NES Mega Man platformer that tracked a score was the very first game in the series.


2. The plot might be the biggest throwback in the whole game, as the entirety of it is told in two (I’m assuming intentionally) incredibly poorly translated text sprawls. It’s borderline nonsense, just the way I like my NES plots.


3. Another nice little touch is that all of the developers in the credits take on nicknames like the old Capcom game credits, including an appearance by the INAFKING himself.


4. You can soft-reset the game by holding L+R+Start+Select. I was a little annoyed that you couldn’t choose to play as a different character without exiting the game until I figured that out.

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  • Ren Yuumei

    Damn that so sweet

  • raygunner659

    “Love was in Danger!”
    It’s interesting how each character plays. Can’t wait to try this out

  • British_Otaku

    Only beat the game with Ekoro so far but I agree that it doesn’t seem like the type of game that could sell alone. Gunman Clive gives this game serious competition for value and most people interested in the three licenses have only the excuse of “it is like Megaman sorta and connected to these other things kinda” to buy it.

    Wish I knew about the soft reset in advance, it was bad enough that I needed separate saves (three saves, three characters) but needing to switch off seemed poor even as an intentional choice. I’ll keep the soft reset in mind.

    Interesting as the prospect of DLC for this game is, I can’t see it ending well as far as value goes.

    • Jack

      Is Gunman Clive pretty good? I haven’t tried it. I dunno if I’d say the three licenses are the only excuse, I think there is value in having an Inti Creates developed Mega Man-like thing. They’re good at what they do.

      Personally I wouldn’t mind like a dollar per level or whatever, but I’m also a huge sucker so I guess we’ll see what their plans are first.

      • British_Otaku

        Yes, Gunman Clive is pretty good. It goes for 200 yen/2 dollars/2 quid I believe, but it provides classic Megaman like experience (uses the screen transitions in the same way, jump and shoot) with some twists as you go into space or physics change aside from dropping your special weapon (replaces default) when you get hit once which is more akin to other platformers or shumps.

        There are three playable characters, one is our Gunman… Clive. One is his wife (I think >_> you have to win to unlock her) and one is a duck. I believe the duck is the only one with a unique skill set though I admit I was so surprised by the duck option I didn’t try even Clive for a while. Anyway, the duck can flutter a bit and is always ducking (when Clive needs to duck at points to avoid things) but can’t attack which changes the dynamic of the game quite a bit.
        The game is pretty challenging, but ultimately simple and doesn’t bother you with a lives system instead counting all of your failures.

        There is definitely value in a Inti Creates MM like project. They are capable people (the credits didn’t seem to have many of them involved – unless everyone goes under Forum like names) and the game is solid for what it is worth.However, people are mainly interested because Gunvolt looks cool (the main attraction) and they are anticipating Mighty No 9. It will find people to buy it sure after it stops being free (won’t be surprised if it goes on sale shortly for Gunman Clive prices or lower when a related game for money) and there isn’t much to bite into here.

        I guess scores could give the game more life, Japan didn’t get a Miiverse for Mighty Gunvolt (it would be the first community for something not even on the store I know) so my interest would be up if people were sharing scores, challenges and jokes, but it has no legs in comparison to the core properties and seems like a cute but competent preorder bonus.

  • WyattEpp

    Typo: s/desert/dessert/

  • Guest

    This or Megaman 9/10???

    • Jack

      Not really a contest for me. In my completely objective, fact-based rating scale I’d say Mega Man 9 and 10 are an “Fantastic, pretty close to the best games in the entire series/10,” while Mighty Gunvolt is an “it’s pretty good/10.”

  • hng qtr

    “You can soft-reset the game by holding L+R+Start+Select.”
    Err…I think every 3DS game is like that.

    • Jack

      I wish, man. 3DS games almost never have a soft reset, which sucks because exiting out of the game and loading it back up takes way more time than a soft reset on DS or GBA ever did. Just an additional note however, Azure Striker Gunvolt also lets you soft-reset which is great.

  • I kind of want to just buy Mighty Gunvolt.

  • Reiswindy

    That badly translated text screen is sooooooo NES!
    I must have it !!

    • Ferofax


  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    I can not wait..reading this make me want it ever more

  • Yan Zhao

    Wait this free game is out already? D:

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