Azure Striker: Gunvolt - Review

Author: Roberto Magistretti
Date: 2020-03-02 21:04:31
Jump and shoot. Run and shoot. Shoot, shoot and shoot again. Gunvolt, the absolute protagonist of this action video game for 3DS placed on the shelves of the European eShop just a few days ago, is a guy who would have had a great time in the days of Super Nintendo and 16-bit consoles. It will also be for this reason that the boys from Inti Creates, with the collaboration of Keiji Inafune, have thought well of building around him a great action game that looks like a vintage Mega Man. And it's not surprising: those of Inti Creates, in fact, in the past have worked on the series of Mega Man Zero (for Game Boy Advance) and Mega Man 9 and 10 (Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360). The close relationship between Gunvolt and Capcom's blue robot, however, is only superficial. Yes, of course: Azure Striker Gunvolt looks like a Mega Man because of the nostalgic graphic style, the stormy soundtrack and the whole presentation / packaging. But it is played in a decidedly different way.

The whole game is centered on this extravagant combat system that gives an otherwise canonical action game its own personality. Of course, the foundations are those of the 8 and 16 bit classics, all two-dimensional, flat and straight for straight, but the dynamics made of flying assaults, acrobatic dodges and electricity storms unleashed on the opponents is absolutely original. It is funny. And rewarding. In practice, the fights of Azure Striker Gunvolt are stuff with broad hints of smug consent. And it is fortunate, therefore, that they are also the focal point of the entire game, made up of a dozen (abundant) of scenarios that can be crossed from part to part in a dozen (scarce) minutes each and which, predictably, end with the clash with a boss. Given the previous experiences of the development team, very few will be displaced to know that these damned bosses seem to have run away from the archives of the Capcom offices. To defeat them, needless to say, very quick reflexes are required, eye / motor coordination and, why not, some luck too (captain, from time to time). And most importantly, their Mephistophelic attack and movement patterns must be memorized.

To put together astronomical scores, among other things, it is practically mandatory to devote a lot of attention to leveling and strengthening Gunvolt. The leveling of the electric boy is automatic (just let him fight), this which pushes to face again and again the same levels. In addition, by completing the levels with style and collecting certain hidden / secret bonuses, you can obtain materials that, combined with each other, give access to new weapons, gadgets and skills (from the classic "double jump" to a sword of electricity to be used at mo 'Smart Bomb, so to speak). This section of the game does not have much importance for those who have in mind to get only to the end credits, but it is practically indispensable for those who instead find themselves in the head the obsession for the highest score (which does not, however, boast an online scoreboard, therefore the challenge is against oneself and, at the limit, against the companions of the Miiverse). Furthermore, around the levels there are also hidden precious gems which, legend has it, once collected, give access to an alternative ending.

I downloaded Azure Striker Gunvolt to my 3DS XL thanks to a code that was provided directly by Nintendo. The game is on sale in the eShop for 12.99 euros. To complete it, it took me less than five hours, but as mentioned in the main text, once the credits reach the end, the challenge cannot yet be said to be over (and in fact I continued to play it). By purchasing Azure Striker Volt on the eShop you are "rewarded", for a limited period of time, with a small bonus game entitled Mighty Gunvolt (see video above), a sort of miniaturized Mega Man all action and shootings. Said among us, Mighty Gunvolt is on balance a revised (and corrected) version in 8-bit style of Azure Striker Gunvolt, or a retro jewel and a tribute to a timeless style. Small and beautiful.