Gunman Clive 2 Review
When the original Gunman Clive released on the eShop two years ago, it was well received thanks to its highly polished platforming and distinctive art style (not to mention its $1.99 price point). For his sophomore effort, creator Bertil Hörberg could have played it safe and delivered more of the same. Instead, he held nothing back and crafted a game that surpasses its predecessor in every conceivable way.
Um, guys, the log...
Gunman Clive 2 is a side-scrolling run-and-gun platformer in the vein of Mega Man. You can play as either the titular cowboy, Ms. Johnson, or Chieftain Bob. Clive is the standard choice; he simply jumps and shoots. Ms. Johnson can hover briefly like Princess Peach and shoots slightly faster. Chieftain Bob wields no guns and can only attack foes with a short-ranged spear. The game itself is segmented into 25 stages that take approximately one to two minutes to complete (not counting all the times you’ll die, of course).
And die a lot, you shall (at least I did). Fortunately, Clive & Co. respawn immediately so you won’t be frustrated for too long. Gunman Clive 2 is weightier than most platformers; essentially, when you commit to a jump, there’s no turning back. Though the game is fairly unforgiving in this regard, it’s never unfair. Successfully completing a stage requires patience and solid timing to maneuver past enemies and obstacles alike. Though you may occasionally curse the lack of stage checkpoints, you’ll feel truly accomplished when you finish a particularly challenging level. My only criticism is that it’s sometimes difficult to see an enemy in front of you until you’ve already been shot. However, given that enemy placement is the same each time through a level and every stage is so short, this was never a serious issue. In fact, the game feels built for speed runs for this reason.
I wonder what killed the dinosaurs...
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Gunman Clive 2 is the sheer variety of gameplay packed into such a short campaign; not a single stage feels repetitive. One minute you’ll be escaping the smoldering ruins of a Western town, the next you’ll be hopping from ship mast to ship mast in the middle of the ocean. You’ll ride in a Donkey Kong Country-inspired mine cart and on the back of a giant panda. You’ll narrowly dodge falling Tetris blocks and jump between Mario Galaxy-esque platforms with their own gravitational pull. I haven’t even mentioned the bosses yet, which range from a massive mechanical spider to a towering, terrifying T-Rex. Also, in addition to standard 2D platforming segments, Hörberg added a few 3D on-rails sections that feel just as good.
Lastly, it’s impossible to discuss Gunman Clive without mentioning its art style. The game looks like a hand-drawn Western, a cartoon that’s constantly in motion. The sequel is also significantly more colorful than the original. Perhaps I died so many times because I was simply admiring the creativity on display during each stage. Furthermore, the game’s music, composed by Arne Hörberg, complements the stage design quite well. I’m particularly fond of “The Lone Rider” (the game’s title song), whose combination of flute and guitar recalls classic Western themes.
Seriously, Clive, stop killing dinosaurs.
Gunman Clive 2 is everything a sequel should be. It improves upon the first game’s solid foundation and adds a substantial amount of new, equally enjoyable content. If you’re even remotely fond of challenging platformers, then saddle up immediately and give this game a shot.
Please note that the final score is not an average