Excellent! Bathed in the flames of battles!
Lock and loadClick and love it!I know. Terrible.What could it be?

Gunman Clive 2

Game by Hörberg Productions
Reviewed by Philip "Pocket Squirrel" Wesley (Deluxe Version Review 01/29/2015)
Size: 571 BLOCKS on the eShop. (Verified by our Download Guide)
Save: SD Card Backup/4 Slots
Released: 2015
Works with: 3DS Software compatible devices.
ESRB Rated: T
Rating Descriptions: Violence
Quick Opinion (Highlight to View): Own
Discloser: A review code was provided by
Hörberg Productions, before the launch of this title, to aid in this review.

Opening Snide Remarks

The first Gunman Clive was an interesting surprise for the Nintendo 3DS eShop back in 2012. The first title was an odd looking 20 level side scroller made by practically one person and released for about $2 on the North American eShop. The developer had previously only worked on minor PC/Mobile games. The game had a distinct style that harkened back to the posters for a particular kind of movie genre that is lovingly called a "Spaghetti Western."

If you need to know what a Spaghetti Western is, please do yourself a favor and find a way to watch Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A time In The West." A quick primer to the genre would be to watch practically everything movie with Lee Van Cleef in it. I will also recommend The Dollars Trilogy of films that includes: "A Fistful of Dollars," "A Few Dollars More," and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."

Gunman Clive caught everyone's attention by taking the aesthetic of those posters and combining it with a weirdly technology based, side scrolling shooter akin to games like Mega Man or many older Capcom "platform shooter" titles. The biggest issue with the first game is that it was considered to be too "short" and the announcement of work on a sequel was met with somegreat fanfare and hype.

Now, in 2015, the man who created Gunman Clive brings us the sequel. When I have waited three years to play a game. It is a shame I can only review it once!

Gameplay Description

This sequel picks up fresh on the heels of the first game. After rescuing Ms. Johnson, Clive returns to find the town in shambles as members of the same gang from the first game have exacted their revenge. This time around, Clive, Ms. Johnson, and their new friend Chieftain Bob must track down the bandits across the globe and take out their leader.

The gameplay is pretty simple, for the most part,
each character has a set style of play to help them get through each side scrolling stage. The basic level structure is to get from Point A to Point B while navigating obstacles like disappearing platforms, variable gravity, and manipulating level specific items like a rampaging Triceratops, mine carts, or a friendly panda.

The gameplay is broken up this time
with some new style of stages like a flying stage similar to games like Star Fox or a riding level similar to Outrun. When you are in a flying level, you can invert your controls if you wish to. There are about 25 levels to fight through to take out the evil leader of those bandits. To break down the gameplay further, let me explain what each of the four playable characters can do.

The game has three difficulty levels
and the amount of damage you take and where you respawn from a fall is determined by the difficulty level.

Gunman Clive
is your main character. He jumps moderately well and uses a gun. He can also pick up upgrades for his gun to shoot in three directions or cause more damage.

Ms. Johnson
is also a gun-toting gal, but she moves a little slower than Clive and has the ability to slow her descent from a jump. This is actually quite useful.

Chieftain Bob
carries a spear that has a decent amount of reach to it. He jumps higher and seems to move a little faster than Clive, but his attack is short range, so you can not take out enemies from afar like Ms. Johnson or Clive.

Duck Mode
is available when you beat the game. This allows you to play as a duck with no weapons and the ability to "fly" for short periods of time.

Many of the level specific obstacles involve learning and reacting
to the patterns of the minor enemies and the much more complex patterns of the bosses. Overall, if you are a veteran of games like Mutant Mudds, Mega Man, or Bionic Commando, you will feel right at home in the fast paced world of Gunman Clive 2.

Liked: Personally, I feel like I could play an entire game made up of the style of the flying stages in this game. I like the new bosses and interesting level design. I also like that the game appears to have increased in difficulty in comparison to the first game.

Hated: At 25 levels and a few new types of levels, the game still feels a little bit short. Although I may feel this way because I really want more.

Graphics Description
Say Ahh!
Chris Pratt has nothing on Clive.

The first game had a lot more limited color pallet with a mostly tan or light brown color to everything. This time around, the living sketch style is enhanced by striking color choices like shades of Red, Purple, Blue, and so forth. The extreme contrasts really pop when using the 3D option and the art style really adds a unique "living" feel to this title. I love a good art style and this game has an extremely unique one that feels a bit like the way that the Game Boy Color would add color to black and white Game Boy titles. Everything is easy to see and visually interesting. The game also moves a lot faster than the previous title at a solid 60 frames per second, even when using the 3D option. If you have hardware with the 3D option, go ahead and crank it up! It adds to the visual look of the game immensely. Clive and his entire world are made up of 3D models, but textured to appear semi-flat. When the game is paused, the graphics appear to "keep moving."
Get a Horse With A View.
According to the developer, this is the only time you go "West" in the entire game.
Oh. Chris Patton...
Panda, PANDA, hold me close.
Oh Purple. Purple.
That Midnight Cowboy.

Liked: There is a level that takes place on a snow covered mountain and it is my favorite looking level in terms of the side scrolling part of the game play. The game moves along briskly and everything feels centered around that sweet 3D experience. The levels where you are flying or riding into the screen make superb use of the 3D. There is one flying section, in particular, near the end of the game that is just a visually wonderful experience. The "boss" near the end of that level shoots a screen filling laser that escapes the bounds of the screen in a fun and interesting way. Overall, the added details to the backgrounds and enemies, combined with the high contrast in color choices makes this a striking game to play.

So pretty!
Cue the trumpets!

Hated: If you do not like the art style, you are going to find the look of the game a little painful. If you are not playing in 3D, the game looks slightly flat and somewhat less impressive.
Sometimes these look better in 3D....
Ninjas and Sumo! OH MY!

Sound/Music Description

My favorite "feature" of this game is the ability to pause a level and listen to the music continue. As I write this, the game is paused on Stage 15 as I listen to the music through headphones. The game has a distinct theme which is remixed and inserted into the composition as the game progresses. The music is high energy and full of interesting instruments. Stage 6 in particular has a wonderful section which sounds like plucked bells. In order to "pluck" a bell, you need to place it on a soft mat and then lift and drop the hammer while holding the bell firmly. This provides a muted sound that is distinctly a bell, without producing a loud ringing bell tone. A lot of the general tone of the music appears to take inspiration from Ennio Morricone's sweeping score for "Once Upon A Time in the West" with a dash of Lindsey Stirling or Bond. The opening theme is just a gorgeous tribute to The Ecstasy of Gold. The sound effects are appropriate for the action happening on screen and the music really enhances the action on the screen.

There is a reason that the composer, Arne Hörberg, has a title screen credit.

On a side note,
you can actually preview the music and purchase it from Arne directly!

Liked: If there had been a harmonica or vocals in the opening theme I would probably have died by melting into a blob of purely satisfied audio joy in my chair.

Hated: There is a distinct lack of jaw harp in this soundtrack.

Play Control/Game Design

The only time I had any trouble with the controls is the odd gravity reversal sections where you push UP to duck, but I can see how they wanted that to be that way. The characters are diverse enough to make playing through the game multiple times a unique and rewarding experience. The game tends to jump directly into the next level after you beat a level and this makes the game seem shorter because of that. You will be firmly invested in the action and the game keeps track of how fast you clear a level and how many times you have died before you beat the game. This gives players a reason to go back through and get faster times. Also, you can beat a level without taking damage, if you are good enough and that earns you a star next to that level. I find that both a challenge and also a bit evil. Of course, you can do that with any of the characters too.

The controls are easy to understand
and the only thing that is not obvious is that press forward twice will make your panda go faster in the level where you are riding the panda. Also, you can shoot forward and to the side in the horse riding level. The new "contrast" for the graphics allows an easy way to tell what elements of a boss might be vulnerable or might harm you. I also like the fact that this game is not a "save the princess" style plot and that the "story" of the game is presented through the level design and backgrounds without nary a word of dialogue until the end of the game.

The game takes some of the ideas from the first game
and expands on them in interesting ways that make this feel like a natural continuation of the story of original Gunman Clive.

Liked: Some of the levels are just superbly tricky to get through with out taking damage, especially the boss levels. The ability to restart a level in the pause menu is really appreciated.

Hated: There are really only five more levels than there were in the first game.

Improve (Free Ideas For Game Designers!)

To be honest, this game feels like there should be a Gunman Clive 3 and I will be disappointed if there is not one. This may have to do with the relatively quick feel of the gameplay. I think what could be improved is to give the player more interaction with objects in a level, for example: maybe you need to break a part of the stage to go further or a hit a switch to open a gate before you hit it in a mine cart stage or the game could have branching levels where you may take a lower path or a higher path to lead to a different level path. That type of branching gameplay could also open up multiple endings and other additions. Maybe the sequel could revolve around a treasure map that may lead to a City of Gold (or some sort of diabolical trap). Also, there needs to be a floating Aztec Temple in the sky level. I want to be jumping between airships or swinging from vines! Maybe a level could take place on the back of a giant dragon or a level where you pilot a crude submarine. The realm of interesting ideas is practically endless.

The game could also use a list of challenges,
so that people may keep track of set things that they could achieve in the course of playing the game. Things like "going through a level without firing a shot as Gunman Clive," or shooting certain objects in the course of a level.

RIYL (Recommended If You Like...)

If you loved the first game, picking up the second game is required by law in some states. Otherwise, I would suggest picking it up if you like Mutant Mudds, older Capcom side scrolling shooters, and the aesthetic of the artwork in the game.

Final Words

The first time you play through this game, it is a wild, tense, joyride of discovery and action. Subsequent plays will reveal it to be a finely tuned machine that you can exploit for speed running and perfect "no damage" runs. The game keeps track of your "no damage" runs and your times. You can also post your best times on the Nintendo MiiVerse for the game.

If you are a fan of platform shooters in general, you need this game in your life. Gunman Clive 2 is a worthy sequel to the first game that expands on what made the first game great while exploring new and interesting gameplay styles.

The only real issue that the game has is the relative length of the title, but that can be expanded by the marked incentive to try and clear each level perfectly, while improving your clear times. There is a lot of fun to be had with Gunman Clive 2, but you have to be willing to go back through previously finished levels.

I also have to really appreciate that the credits reveal that this game was made almost entirely by one person. Very few games these days can boast that kind of statement and the few that can vary wildly in quality. Gunman Clive 2 is a worthy addition to what I hope will be a trilogy of superb platform shooting action games.

Gameplay: ****
Graphics: ****
Sound/Music: *****
Play Control/Game Design: *****
Value: *****

Star Total: 69
Personal Opinion Merit: 15
Final Score: 84%
Letter Grade: A
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