Platform games with high difficulty in the Megaman style is rare today. Even more so after the failure of Mighty No.9 that did not meet the expectations of the fans. Few know, but there is a 3DS franchise that was also launched for the Nintendo Switch called Azure Striker Gunvolt that manages to deliver a game in the Megaman style and at the same time have original and interesting mechanics.
The game is not so new and was released in 2014 and also has a PC version, I recently played the first and second game on the Switch buying physical media through Play-Asia. The game was developed by Inti Creates and manages to revitalize the megaman formula in an original and great way, different from Mighty No.9 that failed.
Like any megaman, the game is a platform game, with selectable areas and bosses in each area. The game manages to innovate with a system of levels, skills, equipment, challenges and points that make the replay factor very strong. A great highlight goes to the story, level designer and the epic soundtrack.
In Azure Striker Gunvolt you control the character Gunvolt who is on a mission by the PLUMA group (Pleiades of Universal Freedom, Martial and Anarchic) to eliminate the muse Lumen, sponsored by the Sumeragi group but finding the same he has doubts and a new conflict begins. The story seems very cliché but with time it gains depth and unexpected things happen.
Features of Azure Striker Gunvolt
One of the main characteristics of Azure Striker Gunvolt is its main ability called the corona, a circle of energy that damages enemies no matter how far from the screen. The corona also allows you to float for a while in the air and repel some projectiles.
The damage will depend on the markings you make with your normal weapon. The more marks (maximum 3) the more damage and points you generate. There is a point multiplier called kudo, which we will cover later in the article.
You also have offensive and defensive skills that are acquired by passing levels and leveling up. You can have different weapons with different shots that make different markings. Items can improve your jumping, running and weapon skills, damage and defenses. To synthesize items you need materials you can get through the stages.
The game has a good number of levels and also secret and more difficult levels after making the real end of the game. In the second game the levels can be richer, full of secrets and innovations, you will always be surprised when playing Gunvolt. You also have a power called prediction that prevents you from taking damage in exchange for energy points, which keeps the corona active.
If your energy points run out, you will be overwhelmed for a while. It's amazing how Gunvolt manages to be both easy and difficult at the same time, enabling different forms of play for all ages and helping players to specialize in this style of play.
The difficulty and replay of Azure Striker Gunvolt
What stands out the most in Megaman games is its difficulty and exploration. Azure Striker Gunvolt does this correctly leaving several options for difficulties, there are 3 game modes (easy, normal and difficult) plus 3 more ways to score selected points in the stage, making the game more difficult.
At first, the stages of the game are easy, you can run and pass them in a few minutes without worrying about taking damage. The game has a system of Rankings and rewards, to acquire these rankings (C, B, A, S +) you need to make a higher score, which increases the difficulty of the game and leaves a very large and attractive replay factor.
There is a screen of challenges (achievements) that give prizes on items or money. If you are crazy about conquest you will struggle to try to get S + in one of these phases, which requires you to multiply the points by doing combos, without taking any damage or taking a checkpoint. The challenges also involve speedrun and other specific objectives.
There is a system called Kudo, when entering the stage you choose between cowardly, cautious and intrepid. If you choose intrepid, when taking damage your accumulated points (kudos) are lost, in the cautious you can take up to 3 damage, while in the coward your points are not lost when taking damage.
You can reset your accumulated points by taking a checkpoint or using an offensive skill. As kudo has a multiplier in addition to the accumulated points, we recommend that you do not reset the kudos until the end of the stage to multiply more points and earn an S Ranking.
Upon reaching a total of 1000 kudos a song from Musa Lumem starts playing (a Japanese soundtrack), you can also hear a song by the muse when being revived by her after dying several times in a big boss.
Final thoughts on Azure Striker Gunvolt
The second game in the franchise manages to keep all the essence of the first, improve the story and innovate with a second character who have a completely different gameplay and skills than Gunvolt. More elaborate bosses and new enemies and more complete and long stages. On the switch you can purchase 2 games in one at a good price.
The game is simply fantastic, addictive, with an impeccable soundtrack, good gameplay and is on the same level of epicity as Megaman. If you are looking for a game for 3ds, Switch or PC in the style of magaman, this is highly recommended and mandatory! In some ways it is even better than Megaman that stopped in time!
Click here to access the Game page on Play-Asia. I was lucky enough to buy it on Play-Asia for less than 100 reais, if you get smart you can get a promotion like that too. Unfortunately the game is not so cheap and costs about 40$ the digital version, but it is worth every penny.