My experience with Gunman Clive started as one of those rare times when I actually purchase a game on a friend's recommendation. Shout out to my friend Andrew for suggesting this one to me. The game's price of $2 on the Nintendo 3DS E-shop was also a large contributor of why I went ahead and bought it. Turns out it was worth all 200 pennies, because Gunman Clive is actually pretty damn great, so let's talk about it.
Gunman Clive - Nintendo 3DS
Intro / Summary
Gunman Clive is a side-scrolling shooter platformer that combines the best platforming elements from Rayman Origins with the best shooting elements from Mega Man II. You move from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen shooting anything that is A) alive, and B) isn't you. Complete each level by jumping on platforms, climbing ladders and trying not to die as much as you are totally going to die. There are 20 levels each taking about 75 seconds to complete if you don't die, and something around 3 minutes each if you die as often as I did. All together I beat the game in about 65 minutes on a long car ride my band and I took from Long Island to Washington D.C. last week, and I did continue to play it on a harder difficulty once the game was beaten which believe it or not is something I don't normally do. The fact that I took the time to replay this game immediately after having beaten it means the game was either too short, or the game was really fun to play; I am going with the latter on the grounds that I feel a game can really only be too short if you paid $20+ for it, and beat it in 65 minutes- Once again, this game cost me $2, so I consider myself to have gotten exactly what I paid for, and I was pretty down with it.
Good Things: Also the title of a great Reel Big Fish song
One of the first things to be noticed about Gunman Clive is the visual style and the musical score; both are beautiful. The game employs a visual effect that makes it appear to have been hand-drawn frame by frame, complimenting the game's ol' western style. Gunman Clive looks like the music video for A-ha's Take On Me meets an old western film. Swag-tastic.
Gunman Clive prizes itself on the classic easy-to-play, hard-to-master technique. All you are able to do in the game is jump, walk, and shoot, but the level design is so clever that even these old-school moves won't get boring before you finish the game. The game is pretty tough, being at about "diamond" on a hard-scale from Vanilla pudding to Dwayne "the rock" Johnson, but it is never frustrating because of a combination of different video game staples being removed from Gunman Clive. First, there are no lives in the game, which means no Game Overs. Live are outdated and dumb for reasons that have been discussed infinitely by gamers who aren't me, so if you need an explanation on that, go somewhere else and come back. No lives in Gunman Clive. Without any lives, checkpoints aren't really necessary either, because the threat of being thrown back to the start of a 55 second level in which dying has no penalty really isn't that scary, so those are removed as well, which would only be frustrating if the levels were long, but they are not. The game presents a challenge intense enough to make sure that it won't be completed in 20 minutes, but it is not so unfair that it frustrates the player. I believe "sweet-spot" is the proper term here, but I've always found that term to be suggestive (made worse by the pink-colored text), much like how utilization of the word "moist" suddenly begins to make me feel sticky out o....sorry, lost my train of thought there. Difficulty curve is just right.
The game has a very modest length. Games these days (or at least the ones I have been playing) have the most aggravating tendency to last about 6 hours longer than the amount of time for which I care to play them. I always think it is rather cocky of a game to assume that I will refuse to quit playing if it gets boring just because I'm already 10 hours in and I might as well finish it. Well, those games are fucking wrong, and they're the games out of which I take the most pleasure in ripping apart. Gunman Clive, like I said, is only about an hour long if you only play through it once. Honestly, the fact that this game is so good, while being so short makes me fear that the developers lost confidence during development and in the voice of an insecure 13 year old mumbled at some point "aw shucks, no one is gonna wanna play this game!", so they made the game an hour long assuming that no one would ever want to play it for more than an hour any way. Now don't get me wrong, I am glad that the game was only an hour long because it means I have more time to play other games, but honestly, this may be the first time ever where I wish a game was longer, but perhaps only by or hour or so. Also, you can play as a duck after beating the game once. This mode is called "Duck Mode" and it makes me giggle.
Short-Comings: "Homecoming" is a great Green Day song that sounds similar to "Short-Comings".
Hmm...the game is short...but like...that is a good thing when playing simple games...I mean, Pac-Man is a great game, but does anyone want to play that for more than 20 minutes? I got nothing for short-comings. Gunman Clive is a great game, and it is so short that it ends before fucking anything up. So I am going to use this space to quote something profound I read on Kotaku: "The longer a game is, the more it has to justify its length." OR a different quote by Ben Yahtzee Croshaw of Zero Puntuation: "Madworld is a 6-8 hour game with enough unique ideas to fill a 3 hour game." I isolate these points because they have to do with length, which is a HUGE fucking problem with games nowadays. To all game developers everywhere: If you only have enough good ideas to keep me entertained for 5 hours, then your game should be 5 hours long. BAM. That's all folks. Gunman Clive has enough unique ideas to keep me REALLY satisfied (another sticky phrase) for 1 hour, and so the game is 1 hour long. And for that, Gunman Clive, you get my virtual glad-hand.
one of the best games I have played in a long time. You can beat it in a single lunch break and get right back to playing Super Smash Bros. afterwards, so just do it. I'm serious. I know I am just a computer, but seriously, buy this game and play it. Recommended to everyone.