Azure Striker Gunvolt 2
Developer: Inti Creates
Publisher: Inti Creates, Yacht Club Games (Physical Release)
Release Date: September 29, 2016
MSRP: $14.99 (Review Copy Received)
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review above, or read the full review of the game below.
Fans of the action-platformer genre have been clambering for a good title for a while. After the the complete disaster that was Mighty Number 9 (Read: More like Mighty Number 5.6), is Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 the savior gamers were asking for?
Gunvolt 2 is one of the better sprite art games I have seen in some time. And when I say art, I mean art. Animation is very fluid and well animated, combined with some nice animated effect overlays for powers and lighting.
With all that said, the anime styled story is a bit bland and boring being completely overshadowed by the game’s sprite art.
The enemy art work, and style is really refreshing. While thematic to each other, they manage to all be different, with bold, if not comically cliche and over the top styles, matched with personalities that will be easily spotted by anime fans (Read: It’s not like I want to kill you or anything, Baka).
Gunvolt 2 has you playing as not only the titular character, Gunvolt but as Copen as well. Right from the start there is an initial issue with how the game is set up; the main skills that the player uses to mitigate damage has to be equipped and the game does not even direct you do it initially or talk about how to out side of a passing single story slide. It is at this point the player can see the game heavily relies on you playing the first game. Something I personally did not do, and honestly, should not have to do. This issue will come up later but for now let’s get back to game-play.
While both characters have similar abilities when it comes to damage mitigation, there damage game is vastly different, and both quite enjoyable once you get down the basics. While playing as Copen, the player will be aiming to stay in the air, bouncing from enemy to enemy in an effort to stay in the air, hovering while blasting enemies you tag with his dash maneuver.
Gunvolt’s damage game is focused mostly on tagging multiple enemies with your gun and then sending out your electric fury to crush your foes. Both uniquely satisfying in their execution especially when you see your score shooting through the roof when you are successful. But as fun as this all is, it could have really used a tutorial.
Controls are tight and smooth for a 3DS, but I must state again, for a 3DS. There are notable limitations when playing as Copen as at times a mid air dash would just stop working or go in a slightly off direction ruining what could have been a perfect combo. While playing as Gunvolt, the limitations are less noticeable, and less strenuous on your hands.
There is an upgrade system, for both characters, but unless you are planning to sink more than 20 hours into the game, will be lost on you as items are not only randomly rewarded at the end of the level, but could require 3 separate sets of 8 random items.
Music is nice and thematic,fitting each stage’s theme, but it’s nothing amazing. At the same time the sound is adequate; not over reaching but not under performing. A big part of the game is the voice acting which is done completely in Japanese, which is a relief and odd, as subtitles are at times way off the mark. The subtitles come off as pure cringe, which did not help.
The story, as I alluded to earlier, heavily requires the player to play the first game to even have a small idea of what is going on. Literally every who, what, when, where, why question is unanswered at the start, with only very few of those questions answered later on. This is quite essentially not how you write a sequel. This is a shame as I really feel like I would have enjoyed the story if I actually knew what was going on, as it had all the set pieces for something interesting.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is an amazingly well crafted action platformer, it’s just not a well written one. Spirit art is amazing, and game-play is fun once you struggle to figure it out what does what. This could have been an amazing game if they took the time to explain major elements of how it works and as well as the story.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 was reviewed on 3DS using a digital copy provided by Inti Creates. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 7
- Great Sprite art and animation.
- Fun game-play.
- Lack of explanation on everything from game mechanics to story.
- Poor localization with Cringe worthy dialog.
- Strenuous on your hands after long play session.