Mighty Gunvolt

A game by Inti Creates for 3DS and PC, originally released in 2014.
Mighty Gunvolt is an 8-bit style action game that was released alongside Azure Striker Gunvolt. The game stars three playable characters: Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt, Ekoro from Gal*Gun, and Beck from Mighty No. 9, all of which were developed in whole or in part by Inti Creates. At the time of the game’s release, Mighty No. 9 was still under development, so it also acted as an introduction to that upcoming title as well.

The connection to Mighty No. 9 is also notable due to the fact that it was under development in conjunction with Comcept, headed by Keiji Inafune, who was one of the creators of the Mega Man series. Mighty No. 9 shares a number of design similarities with the Mega Man series, and Beck’s appearance and abilities in Mighty Gunvolt are very reminiscent of those of the Blue Bomber.

The story centers on a television show called Sumeragi Idol that has enthralled its viewing audience with its quest to find the next “Muse”. But, as it turns out, the people running the show are actually evil scientists who are performing experiments and destroying humanity. A number of female students have disappeared, which draws the attention of Gunvolt, Ekoro, and Beck, who fight to put a stop to this plan and free the nation’s cities from evil’s hold.

Per 8-bit conventions, the story is a bit nonsensical and has virtually no influence on what happens during the game itself. Furthermore, since this is a game inspired by classic Japan-developed 8-bit games, it also contains a number of misspellings and Engrishisms. Even the end credits show the classically-abbreviated names of the developers, including Keiji Inafune’s now-famous "INAFKING".

Each of the three characters has different movement abilities and special attacks. The player is free to select any of the characters from the menu at the start of the game, but cannot switch between them during the adventure. All of the characters have a 2x variable jump and a weapon that allows for three projectiles onscreen at a time.

In addition to his 2x jump, Gunvolt has a double jump that brings him up to 3x, allowing him to reach higher areas than the other characters. He is also able to hold and charge his weapon to unleash a continuous medium-range electrical attack, which can then be swept up and down to destroy nearby enemies, and it is able to pass through walls. Gunvolt cannot move or change directions while using his electrical attack.

Ekoro, an angel, can fire arrows, and charging her attack allows her fire off a large heart. Killing an enemy after hitting it with a heart will cause it to change alignments and fight alongside Ekoro. The converted foe floats behind her, slowly firing off projectiles directly at other enemies, and these projectiles can pass through walls. Support characters can’t sustain much damage before they are destroyed, and charging another attack dismisses the character. By jumping and holding the JUMP button, Ekoro can hover for a short time and move left or right while hovering.

Beck, appearing in a blue outfit with an arm cannon, can slide along the ground to pass through narrow spaces (although he slides head first instead of feet first). By holding down the ATTACK button, Beck sucks in energy and unleashes a powerful dash attack that sends him charging forward. Beck is slightly shorter than Gunvolt and Ekoro, which makes it difficult for him to defeat pop-up enemies, as his shots move just below them.

Score pickups are numerous and make appearances as candy, pieces of fruit, and gems. Also available are small hearts that offer partial health restoration, large hearts that refill the health meter to full, and the occasional 1UP, which is represented by a “G” icon. Each of these may be found spread around the environment, hidden behind breakable blocks, and dropped by killed enemies

Each level consists of a series of platforming and shooting challenges, followed by a boss. There are only four stages in all, with the fifth stage consisting of only a boss fight. While characters may encounter these levels in a different order, and there are a few short paths only accessible by certain characters, the game is largely the same regardless of the chosen character.

Those familiar with the 8-bit games that inspired Mighty Gunvolt will have little trouble breezing through the game in well under an hour. If you happen to finish a stage with fewer than three lives, you will start with three at the next level. Otherwise, you can stockpile lives and carry them over from one stage to the next.

Many of the traditional 8-bit trappings are in place, with a small number of colorful enemies, tiled environments, Mega Man-style screen transitions, disappearing platforms, and pits filled with spikes… although these only knock off a bit of your health rather than killing you instantly. Also, enemies reappear when scrolled off the screen and back on. Many of the enemies and bosses are taken directly from Azure Striker Gunvolt.

A combo meter allows players to increase their scores by stringing together attacks and picking up items. The player has 10 seconds in which to destroy another foe or grab a pickup, which increments a combo counter upward by 0.01 units at a time. If the (invisible) 10 second timer runs down, the multiplier reverts back to 1.00. Players may take advantage of respawning enemies and destructible projectiles to rack up a high combo as well.

Mighty Gunvolt was developed by Japanese studio Inti Creates. The company is the developer behind a number of latter day entries in the Mega Man series, including the Mega Man Zero series, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man ZX Advent. The company is also known for Blaster Master Zero and Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon.

The studio has also collaborated with other developers, including working with Alchemist on Gal*Gun, working with Keiji Inafune’s company Comcept on Mighty No. 9, and working with WayForward on Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and Shantae and the Pirate's Curse.