The second title in this crossover collaboration between Mighty No. 9 and Azure Striker Gunvolt, Mighty Gunvolt Burst from developer Inti Creates is a step in the right direction for a series that was supposed to be the spiritual successor to the truly legendary Mega Man franchise.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is what I see as something moving closer to the full realization of the idea originally conceived of in the release of Mighty Gunvolt. In this second entry we are given a greater depth of all game elements, including customization of weapons and abilities, slight variations of storylines for the two playable characters, and a beautiful realization of the classic 8-bit graphical style.
The gameplay is reminiscent to both previous entries in the “Mighty” series, and is an homage to classic 2D shoot-em-up platforming franchises like Mega Man. The main objective, regardless of your decision to play as Beck from Mighty No. 9 or Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt, is to traverse each environment specific level to defeat each of the 8 “Mighties” at the end.
The unique treatment of the two main characters is what gives this game some charm and some initial difficulty. Both characters are stripped of their signature abilities at the start of each campaign and it is up to the player to uncover these abilities throughout the levels in order to recover and utilize the full potential of each character. This is something that is essential if you want to curve the initial level of difficulty presented by the campaign.
With each play through of each level, the player is able to unlock and collect different abilities and customization options for shot creations that enhance the characters in the game. While it is worth it to collect all of these abilities and power ups, this leads to a rather tedious process of replaying each stage multiple (at least three if you’re trying to complete the game 100%) times in order to collect the final hidden ability. This would be fine if the stages didn’t already feel like ones you’ve played before, but since this game so closely resembles Mega Man, it’s hard to feel a sense of newness in these levels and is ultimately an incredibly tedious task.
While being able to customize the different weapon options for each character is a really unique feature that goes above and beyond anything seen before in this franchise, the process of creating these customizations and actually implementing them needs some work. In the customization menu, you’re given so many different options with so many different sub-options that it really takes quite a long time to create a weapon that you will actually find useful and effective. In addition to this long creation time, you aren’t able to seamlessly switch between custom weapons at all. Each time you want to switch a weapon you have to pause the game to select a different one. This weapon selection process could easily be adjusted to happen in real time so that you’re able to simply switch weapons without stopping your progress in the game. There are plenty of unused buttons on the Nintendo Switch to accommodate this upgrade and is something I think is essential either for future releases or for DLC.
While some of the things done in this game weren’t necessarily implemented in the best way, there are plenty of elements that really enhance the game. The unlockable dowsing ability allows the player to breeze through second or third play throughs of each level to discover other unlockable items by seamlessly integrating the HD rumble capabilities of the Nintendo Switch to clue players in on hidden locations. The music of each level is also something of a real treat. It’s engaging, appropriate for the atmosphere that they’re trying to create, and is something that I think adds an element of suspense and chaos that is necessary for 2D shoot-em-up games.
Some of the problems I had with the game could easily be fixed with a patch or with the addition of DLC. There are other additions that could be made to this game, including the third playable character from Might Gunvolt and also a possible extra campaign that incorporates enemies or bosses from the Azure Striker Gunvolt series. With those additions this game could become an essential Nintendo Switch title and while it is a good value and ultimately a good game, there are still just a few things that keep it from being great.
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.