Gameplay of”Azure Striker: Gunvolt” falls short

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First Posted: 9/21/2014

One of my favorite series of all time is “Mega Man”, but there hasn’t been a new edition in a long while.

“Azure Striker: Gunvolt” is a new side scrolling action game made by the creator of “Mega Man” Keiji Inafune. Gunvolt feels a lot like the newer “Mega Man X or Zero” games. The attacks are a bit different then the iconic blue bomber because he doesn’t shoot pellets. “Gunvolt” shoots streams of electricity.

It doesn’t seem like an important distinction but it does change how the gameplay feels and adds some different types of mechanics to the tried-and-true formula.

Upon first inspection, “Gunvolt” looks like just a traditional side scrolling platformer where you shoot bad guys, avoid pitfalls and grab collectables but the electrical attacks change how you play the game. You have to fire small nodes at your enemies, you can choose to focus your attack on one or fire multiple nodes and zap multiple enemies at a time with chain attacks. When you are zapping bad guys Gunvolt hovers in the air a bit giving him some extra air time to increase his mobility and avoid attacks.

There really isn’t much story line. It is more about the gameplay, there is a dialogue but the English translation can be really weird. Just like the series that inspire it, you choose between six starting stages, filled with different themes and obstacles to tackle, the place where it differs is it actually has a score counter.

The gameplay is fast and kinetic, you kill as many enemies in a row to build up a score multiplier which ties into the save system. There are checkpoints throughout each level that let you restart at that spot minus your kill count. If you do manage to rack up a big score you earn the chance to be brought back to live during fights and raise your score even higher.

After each level you can use your points to craft items which will raise your attack levels, defense and even healing recovery items. The gameplay is not as difficult as the old school games, the checkpoint system makes it easy to restart and there are unlimited lives the real challenge is made from getting high scores.

Even though the level difficulty isn’t that tough, the bosses can be a challenge. They all have different special attacks and each one requires learning their pattern and timing, throughout the game you earn special abilities like health regeneration that can help you on tough boss battles especially later on in the game. When you kill a boss you gain a new special ability some let you fire up walls and through enemies which change the way you play.

Overall I had a lot of fun playing “Azure Striker: Gunvolt”, even though the story wasn’t anything special the gameplay was fast, and very reminiscent of some of my favorite games of the 16-bit era. The level design is great and the soundtrack is straight out of the NES era. If you are a fan of the “Mega Man” series you have to check out this game, it might be one of the best downloadable titles on the Nintendo 3DS right now.