The year is 18XX. Welcome to the Wild West. Bandits, horses, ducks, robotic trains, and bionic thugs stand in the way of you and the Mayor’s kidnapped daughter. Are you a Gunman enough to save the day? Put yourself to the ultimate test to find out in the new PC port of Gunman Clive.
I’m going to be straight up blunt about Gunman Clive—it’s two bucks, it’s worth buying, and it’s worth playing, but why is it worth your time? Simply because it’s not that often that action-platformers this purely designed come along. The game was fantastic on the 3DS eShop and it’s equally as good on the relatively larger screen.
Players take control of Clive as he journeys to save the kidnapped Ms. Johnson (or the inverse if players choose to play as the liberated damsel) across about a dozen different stages. The gameplay is very in line with classic platformers of the NES era, with simple layouts and smooth gameplay. Clive controls similarly to a very familiar and certain Blue Bomber, with an array of actions limited to simply running, jumping, climbing, and shooting. Enemies will rarely put up too big a fight, but the stages are more about traversing the tricky platforming more than anything.
Each set of stages is punctuated with a brief boss battle, with beating the gigantic brutes coming down to pattern recognition. Any retro gamer worth their mettle will pick up Gunman Clive and immediately feel at home.
Very little has changed between the new PC version and the original 3DS one. In lieu of stereoscopic graphics, the visuals are now blown up to a higher resolution, bringing to attention how beautifully simplistic the stages and other designs are. The modeling isn’t exactly going to impress anyone, but the crosshatch rendering effect looks especially nice on a larger screen. The only new addition comes in the form of some achievements, but these are nothing more than standard completion bonuses.
Gunman Clive is simple and direct, but that’s okay. It’s very clearly a game that knows what it wants to be and pays subtle homage to some of the greatest classics of the 80’s without becoming degenerate of the titles it evokes memories of. This is a game that celebrates nostalgia rather than taking advantage of it.
There’s plenty of reasons to play the short game more than once—a single playthrough will take less than an hour—with alternate characters, including the floaty Ms. Johnson and a truly inspired bonus character unlocked after beating the game once. Seriously, this one unlockable still serves as one of the most memorable parts of the game for me, even after the first time I played it when I first got my 3DS.
For the price, it’s really hard to come out of Gunman Clive disappointed. It is short and the visuals are simple, but it’s done with such finesse that even with so little on display here, the entire product feels like a steal at just two dollars. As long as players are down with some classic retro action, it’s very hard for me to say not to buy this game. If you missed it on the 3DS, then absolutely pick up this new version (and for God’s sake, if you say you’re gonna wait on a sale for this one, then nothing is ever going to please you), but if this is your second go round, I’d only suggest purchasing it if the game left enough of an impression on you the first time around to warrant a return.
It’s short, sweet, cheap, and there’s a whole lotta ducks in it. And it’s hard to complain about that.
[+Solid retro style gameplay][+Pays homage in all the right ways][+Three different characters add more ways to play][+It’s two friggen bucks] [-Might be too short for some players][-Easy bosses][-A lot of one-hit deaths]