Posted: January 25, 2014
Gunman Clive is a western platformer, in the simplest sense. Its price of $2 is well-justified as it's short, sweet, and gives enough good times to outweigh the bad.
On the whole though, I was kind of bored with the whole game. Even with a length of approximately 30-45 minutes, this game that was originally on the 3DS and phone devices also isn't one I would normally even glance at. However, I enjoy platformers and thought the art style looked nice in videos so I decided to check it out. You play as Clive, or a female character who is the daughter of the mayor of some town (and whose name I forget). There's also a third playable character but I'll get to that in a bit. Clive controls similar to how MegaMan does in that series of games, minus the special moves, and the female lady (from now on I'm just going to call her "Umbrella) walks slowly but can float after jumping. For some reason I decided to play as Umbrella and she gave me some added challenge which was nice. I imagine playing as Clive would not be as fulfilling as her clunky slow speed made the game quite a bit more challenging.
In fact, I'm happy to note that this game does provide a decent challenge, even for experienced gamers. Enemies, which consists of bandits, wolves, and ducks oddly enough, move fairly fast and can appear at any time so you have to be on your toes. There are about 20 levels in the game, each of which are fast (about 60-90 seconds long each) and good for quick play sessions or a full playthrough in one run. In each level, your goal is merely to get to the end usually, unless it's a boss.
Now, I'm really not a fan of the bosses in this game. They all feel the same because they mostly kind of are. Usually they just blast bullets at you and move around a bunch. They're bland a little boring sadly, but I guess for the price you can't expect much variety in the bosses. Maybe it was just a personal gripe but on these levels I usually blazed past them and didn't care for their designs or making a strategy at all. Blasting bullets right back at them usually worked every time for me.
The length may be an issue for some. Really that's what this game being a good buy or a bad buy for anyone comes down to. Now, I've heard some say this game can be beat in an hour, but I beat it in about 35 minutes without rushing at all so that seems a bit off to me. Considering this game is less than an hour long, I wouldn't say it's worth the $2 if you just run through it once. I like to play games for at least as long as I payed for, and if I payed $2 for it I'd like to get at least a 2-hour game back.
Now, I'm not actually discrediting the game by saying I don't like its price as I do in this case. When you beat the game you unlock a third character, a duck. Yes, you get to play through the whole game again (minus the bosses) as a duck that can fly for brief periods of time and can't attack. It's pretty funny seeing a duck waddle past the enemies you had just beaten and it also provides a great extra layer of challenge that more games should try to do, even if it's as a joke. The duck mode is actually pretty tough and took me 30 minutes to get through about 1/4 of the game. There's also achievements for beating each mode with a gold star (for speed), not dying, and not getting damaged (which is crazy!). These can be pretty fun and hard to try and attempt, so in terms of replayability this game isn't too bad luckily. I've seen some people on the forums who have 5-10 hours and have all the achievements, so you can definitely get your money's worth if you don't mind trying some tough challenges.
The graphics are point that many love to mention when talking about this game. They're definitely very cool and "artsy" I suppose. It feels like you're playing something an artist doodled on a notebook, but brought to life. The dusty colors are nice to look at too. Overall, this game looks pretty good for what the developer had to work with, and it's probably one of the shining points of this game. The sound is sadly not quite as good, with basic sound effects and just "okay" music. Nothing was really memorable, but I enjoyed the main menu theme and a few songs slightly.
If you're looking for a multi-hour long game, this isn't it. In fact, it isn't even an hour long unless you're very slow and die quite a bit. However, the potential replayability with the fun (and hard!) duck mode and the pleasant art style may suck you in. It's worth a shot, if you pardon the pun. ;)