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Gunman Clive - 3DS Download Review

Game Info
Gunman Clive

3DS Download | Bertil Hörberg / Hörberg Productions | 1 Player | Out Now | $1.99 / £1.79
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2nd January 2013; By KnucklesSonic8

Sometimes the most destructive elements to a game concept are those produced in excess, where instead of serving to expand the horizon that's been laid out, they become liabilities that produce a distancing effect. After some years of witnessing this on a repeated basis, you may sense the need to produce your own brand of calamine lotion to salve any wounds from nefarious or mishandled executions, in which case games like Gunman Clive can prove beneficial for such a concoction. Snubbing the idea of deflating or extraneous measures through a well-trimmed approach, Gunman Clive, though reserved, forms a clear and unobstructed path that proves a nice freshener for anyone who appreciates or might even be in need of a game that's short but sweet.

    Striving for an old-school vibe, Gunman Clive sees the player following after an abducted love interest in a quest that begins in a traditional, western town and climaxes in a different setting altogether. With your character moving at a fluid pace with light-footed strides, gameplay is of a run-and-gun format, where the A Button is used to fire pellets from your popgun and the B Button to jump. Enemies come in the form of blue gunslingers equipped with similar weaponry, hiding behind crates, within grounded hatches and atop ledges, or perhaps dashing in from the right of the screen. There are also a slew of wild desert animals, from bomb-dropping pelicans to persistent dogs and bats. All of the above, including the character you use, animate cleanly. Power-ups and cakes are occasionally dropped by these enemies, giving you laser beams or homing projectiles to emit from your trusty shooter. There's a slightly futuristic being leveraged here, as further seen in the later levels that you visit, but it never interferes with the heart of the game.

    Before anything else comes to pass, the presentation will incite positive feelings. The art style is of a sketched-out quality with light shading textures that make rapid transitions, all of which are reminiscent of games like Hotel Dusk where similar tones were utilized to a similarly effective standard. A golden yellow permeates throughout for a rustic look, with fonts and shapes having conventions connected to the western theme. The music can be a tad unusual at times for said theme, but on the whole it achieves a cohesion without being too run-of-the-mill. 3D usage doesn't do much for the look of things, barring one or two exceptions where chandeliers or a certain enemy type seem pushed out from the foreground. But that can easily be forgiven given the strength of the graphic design. One thing to note is the presence of serious glitch about halfway into the experience, but the developer is aware of it and hopes to rectify the issue in the near future.

What I especially appreciate about Gunman Clive, next to the presentation, is the humble politeness that is displayed in the level design. First of all, even though the game regularly uses ordinary props and sets to paint a traditional picture, these are never abused to the point of boredom or a lack of surprise. Rather, in line with the mildly progressive nature, other segments in the game will involve getting to the front of a railed train of sorts, exploring the interior of a saloon or cave, hopping into a mine cart à la Donkey Kong Country, and being influenced by gravity shifts. As well, the bosses present in the game are balanced and very enjoyable. In so doing, the game is strengthened rather pleasantly as it goes along and doesn't in the slightest experience a decline in the focus, to an effect players won't want to interrupt and will be much more inclined to go through in a single sitting.

    Further on this point of subdued greatness, Gunman Clive has such a commendable discipline in the way of its design execution. It doesn't employ gratuitous gimmicks or needless agents for the sake of doing so, with little backing or thought behind it. And yes, there isn't a strong level of excitement to be had. But where the game lacks in emphatic behaviour is made up for in a healthy atmosphere. It's not that the game does anything wild and risky, but when you really stop and consider these executions and the way they unfold to a tight and very concise structure, the level design is rather impressive, exerting a smooth flow that scales well even though it feels like it could've seen to an increased expansion in a few portions. Yes, rather than negate any semblance of creativity or bind its contents to a very quiet hold, there's an excellent comfort and easy comprehension to all of this, yet the game itself is not immature by way of design. And while the platforming challenges and the overall difficulty may have some longing for a bit more, the pitiless refinement makes the game engaging in its own way.

he experience can be completed in an hour or less -- a small price to pay for the execution not paling in effort. And if you're like me and don't want the experience to end upon completion of the 20th stage, you can find contentment in the fact that Gunman Clive does a decent job in the way of replay value. If time attacks are your fancy, there's a nice motivation in support of the existing pleasure to play repeatedly for a good time or to aim for no damage. There's also an additional surprise mode that changes the focus of gameplay a little and becomes more about avoiding combat, and this can be fun as well.

    Taking stock of everything, Gunman Clive may appear invariably narrow and in need of a stronger spirit, but it's one of those games where the more you play, the more you're drawn to it, and certainly the art style plays a role in cementing such sentiments. While on the shorter side, there's a tight hold on the flow and design that performs well to the end of the game not requiring sympathy. If games like Gunstar Heroes get you giddy but you wish to explore a less aggressive form of it, this, while not being a copycat by any means, will be more than acceptable. As such, Gunman Clive is, by my estimation, a necessary pick for younger gamers especially, whose parents are on the lookout for some wholesome yet still entertaining games for their kids to immerse themselves in. Presenting very few faults at all, it is a game that effectively demonstrates why a brisk yet unbending execution can be for the best.

24/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Fluid and very refined gameplay, progresses admirably in the platforming challenges it iterates, design is engaging in its own way
Presentation 8/10 - Great animation work, doesn't use 3D much but the art style itself is very effective, music is well done also, serious glitch present
Enjoyment 5/5 - Highly accessible and presents little-to-no barriers, more subdued but commendably doesn't rely on gimmicks, enjoyable for all ages
Extra Content 3/5 - Motivation exists to continue playing through time attacks, bonus mode to be unlocked that changes gameplay terms a little

Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Gunman Clive 
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