Gunlord X (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 08.09.2019

Review for Gunlord X on Nintendo Switch

Anyone remember the Turrican games? The beautiful people at NG:DEV.TEAM certainly never forgot, and are intent on keeping their memory alive with Gunlord X on Switch. Enjoy 2D-frantic action amidst a sweat 'n upbeat '80s style soundtrack, with an eye-blisteringly detailed, cyberpunk pixel art? Then this just might be one of the definitive must-have digital downloads that deserves to be permanently installed on your Nintendo Switch.

Just what is Gunlord X? It can be best described as Metroid meets Contra - and even then the description would still not be entirely accurate. Make no mistake, this is not a "metroidvania," but rather a linear, level-based 2D action title with lots of shooting. The Metroid comparisons can be attributed to the fact that Gunlord is able to explore these long and massive levels in a semi-nonlinear fashion, since they are festooned with secrets and alternate paths. Another obvious comparison is that the protagonist is also capable of his own version of Samus' morphball and is able to drop bombs. All similarities end there.

How is Gunlord X like Contra? The sheer insane pace of the war-like action and mobility of the hero, compounded with the enormous monstrously nightmarish boss battles. This is the kind of action that is so bonkers that the spread-gun is the starting default weapon. Not only do players get to go crazy with this fluid chaos, but they'll have to platform and make their way through a surreal cyber-nightmare world that sometimes throws a scrolling spaceship shoot'em-up stage at them to spice things up.

Everything about the gameplay feels very responsive and fluid. Gunlord controls very simply with his directional movement, and being able to fire the continuous beam from the right analogue stick is a stroke of genius that really would have benefited the Turrican games back in the day. Basically, this guy is a walking death machine, with every single one of his actions being dedicated to murdering all the poor devils he meets. Even jumping on enemies is an option to kill them - something that is rarely seen in platformers that don't feature a cartoony mascot. Gunlord is just that kinda guy who is extremely dedicated to his craft.

Screenshot for Gunlord X on Nintendo Switch

When not Gunlording around on foot, sometimes there are space-ship levels that resemble Gradius or R-Type. These areas are much shorter in length from the standard ones, and really serve to break things up from all that exploring and bopping on hidden boxes. What really makes these sections interesting are the bosses, since without them these could be mistaken for any generic space-ship game. The outrageous spectacle on display with the unprecedented amount of enemy fire on screen that never causes even the most minor drop in frames is impressive.

NG:DEV.TEAM are true artists, and really poured a ton of effort into most aspects of the package. Almost everything is accounted for that titles that inspired Gunlord X, for one reason or another, just could not meet. Things like unlocking previously completed levels, or the fact there is a tracker for collected hidden gems are such simple yet effective quality of life improvements.

It is difficult to find much to fault Gunlord X at anything since it is apparent the developers behind it knew exactly what they were doing, and how to go about doing it. This is one of those kinds of retro throw-back inspired games where the talent behind it truly understands the extremely fine nuances that made titles like this so appealing. At worst, there are some minor design flaws like how the music transitions jarringly when reaching specific areas, or how some of the highly-detailed pixel art can sometimes get pretty busy, making it difficult to discern what is an enemy or threat. One thing that might bug some the hardcore gamers is how each world has very clearly marked exit signs that guide the path through these huge stages. It could be argued that these developer clues are a crutch to compensate such sprawling levels that could be confusing to navigate, while also trying to survive in a game that grants limited lives with each only giving three hits. It is not entirely clear how this could have been gracefully solved, but in spite of these minor quirks; Gunlord X is pure joy to play.

Screenshot for Gunlord X on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Gamers may not remember Turrican. Thankfully, Gunlord X is here to fill that gap inside everyone's soul, which only fast-paced 2D action can fill. Not since Sonic Mania has a throw-back retro style game been pulled off with this much panache and style. While it may not be lengthy, it is hard to let go of the controller because playing as Gunlord just feels so good and the wake of destruction he can leave feels so satisfying.

Developer

NGDEV

Publisher

NGDEV

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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