Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 19.12.2019 3

Review for  Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX on Nintendo Switch

Inti Creates is a company that focuses on platformers, which has had success with the Azure Striker Gunvolt series that was widely well regarded. Luminous Avenger iX is a type of spin-off from this series featuring the character Copen; one of the last humans left and hunted down by the next evolution of his kind. The previous series had a decent focus on story in between the heavy platforming action; this one goes lighter with the narrative, while possessing more action.

Luminous Avenger iX (which from the Japanese sounds like his is merely called 'X'), is the next entry in the Gunvolt series, focusing on a spin-off with the main character, Copen. For those who have not played any of those, this is a fast-paced platformer focused on stylish moves of trying to achieve high scores mostly through moving fast and not hitting the ground. While there is a story here, it is much less involved and doesn't really rely on the previous instalments, therefore newcomers will be missing very little, if any.

In the future there is an evolved form of human that has psychic powers that existed in a tight balance with regular humans. In here that balance has shifted hard, with the humans literally being referred to as 'the minorities' and being hunted down by those in power. Copen, using only the power of technology must fight against these leaders in his own personal rebellion. Needless to say, a pretty cool plot, but not touched on that much, regrettably.

Screenshot for  Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX on Nintendo Switch

A majority of the experience is spent inside the action. Much more refined compared to its processor, the gameplay feels smoother. Compared to other platformers, the mobility here is great. Copen can dash in the air, use a limited type of flight, and overall just move very quickly. Copen has a mechanic called 'Bullits,' in that every major move like his huge dashes he makes uses one, with the twist being that, as long as he has at least some left, he is largely invincible. The player can reload these at any time and a very good balance exists in fights of rapidly trying to restore these before a big attack hits.

Levels are designed to be rushed through, with Copen dashing around using up his Bullits in the process. The gameplay is designed to be fast. Dashing into enemies 'locks on' in which then allows Copen's pistol to home in on them, resulting in quick death. Any dash into a wall restores a Bullit as well, which has the effect of Copen zig-zagging through the hallways. It's kind of silly, but it is still pretty cool and fun.

Boss fights especially possess some serious 'wow' factor. Walking into the boss room there is some small dialogue exchanged the boss changes to their monster form, and its throw-down time. Each boss typically boasts around 10 different attacks, and many take some effort to beat. The coolest part is where they get low and launch their own 'desperation attack' where the screen flashes to a glowing anime portrait of the boss in an intense pose. When it includes some poetry about threads of fate and seas of red, you know it's about to go down.

Screenshot for  Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX on Nintendo Switch

As cool as all this is, there are some negatives. First, level design is forgettable. Stages are largely just open hallways that the player rushes through, and offer very little exploration. Some of the SNES Megaman X levels feel absolutely huge compared to these levels. Without any exploration factor, each area feels exactly like the last. Music, despite a heavy 'idol' theme to its elements of the story, is also pretty forgettable, as no tunes really stood out.

Perhaps one of the largest factors bringing the game down some is a decrease in the story and a decrease in interactivity. First the story. Gunvolt and especially the second game had pretty good, intense stories, despite their short length. Telling of a battle between humans and something beyond human, there was a lot of sacrifice and grey morality which was extremely interesting to see, with an especially memorable end to the second game. Each level had a large degree of banter and discussion about the level, and during boss fights they'd talk to each other.

Screenshot for  Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX on Nintendo Switch

Despite all the previous lore, there isn't really too much to this, unfortunately. Yes, your partner Lola talks a lot, but it's not really anything too interesting, Copen himself has very few lines and most are of little consequence. This was a disappointment, coming off his previous build-up as a character, who was driven by the cold hate, yet he still had witty puns and banter as he was slaying the creatures he came across. It was especially notable in boss fights that in the previous instalment half the boss battle was spent listening to them out-insult each other, whereas now it is silent.

One other negative is a loss of the equipment, crafting, items and challenge sections. This was a major point that added replayability. In this game, the player merely gathers money that they can buy a few upgrades in a menu at any time. Gone is the hunt for rare items, trying to make special equipment, or even the challenges like 'beat this level in five minutes.' Instead there is only a score, which unless driven by some intrinsic desire to beat one's own score has little bearing on anything.

Indeed, a single run through each level can be enough to rush straight to the end, and mostly doesn't leave any reason to go back. The ending was extremely cool, but there was little story largely on the whole. Unfortunate, as what made the previous games so cool was an engrossing story and a slight RPG feel to building up the character. This is nowhere close to being bad, it actually is a fun romp to the end, but it lacks what made the previous one so great.

Screenshot for  Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A curious example of a title being both more refined, but also less good than its predecessor. The action is smoother, better, and overall much more engaging. Purely as a platformer it is great fun, can be picked up cheap, and is only marred by simplistic, one-way levels and its short length. As an entry it is inferior to its predecessor with the removal of various gear, crafting, and challenges, making it a one-trick pony. It's awesome, but it doesn't have the magic the previous one did. Copen, one of the cooler characters in recent history, lacks much of his style that was memorable in previous games. This series is one of the coolest in recent times, and while this does not disappoint, it doesn't live up to how absolutely great it could be.

Developer

Inti Creates

Publisher

Inti Creates

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

Comments

This was a hard game to review as the style and gameplay are solid, but lacked a large part of what made the previous 'gunvolt' games so cool. Dont go in expecting a gunvolt 3, but go in expecting just a short side story and you wont be too disappointed.

ill wait for gunvolt 3

Insanoflex said:
ill wait for gunvolt 3

If you care at all about the lore, check out a video summing up the story, as the ending was actually super legit despite the rest of the game not having much story.

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