Every game you pick up tells its own story and with Azure Striker Gunvolt, it’s fast paced and challenging approach is one worth jumping into. Paying homage to the classic and beloved Mega Man franchise, Azure Striker Gunvolt takes all of the great things about the series while adding in other elements from other notable titles, and putting it all together to create this awesome package. Anyone who grew up playing 2D action platformers will find themselves right at home with this one, as it provides the same experience but on a more sophisticated console. You don’t need to be a fan of Mega Man to enjoy Azure Striker Gunvolt which is great because the story itself is fresh while the characters really create a unique and charming feel to the gameplay.
What to Expect
If you haven’t had the opportunity to try out the first Azure Striker Gunvolt then this striker pack has got you covered. The game comes with both the first and second installments which will allow you to go back to play the original to get a feel for the gameplay, but to also understand the relationship between characters. Paying one price for two games straight out of the gate is a deal anyone should pounce on because it’s not often that companies tend to do that nowadays. A lot of the time, it’s DLC this and add-on that but with Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack; it’s an all-in-one collection of fast paced action and fun. While the original is quite dated when compared its sequel, the game still provides a fresh new approach to side-scrolling action platforming by introducing characters with unique abilities. We’ll go into more detail about each one but for now, if you’re looking to sink hours into a game that’s rewarding then look no further than Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack.
Much like Mega Man, Azure Striker Gunvolt requires a lot of technique, repetition and a solid understanding of movement to ensure you can successfully clear levels. Patience, of course, is certainly required since boss battles will take some time to adjust to, and rushing will only lead to a swift death. For the sake of the review, we’ll turn our attention more to Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 since it’s the more current of the two, and the content has been updated in terms of its visual appeal. You can choose between two characters, Gunvolt, who is the main protagonist of the story who wields electromagnetic powers with his gun, and the new addition Copen who has the ability to fly and attack enemies. He’s also able to use the abilities of defeated bosses, much like you could in Mega Man titles. If you want to know more about Copen and his backstory then we highly suggest playing through the first Gunvolt to know more, which will make things a little easier to understand moving ahead.
Being able to utilize both characters in the game is where the fun truly happens since each has their own unique playstyle, but also a different path in which they much fight through. It’s almost like having two stories in one where the paths sort of split but then eventually towards the end, things start to come together. We won’t spoil anything for you so it’s encouraged to play through everything to truly get the best experience. Playing on the Switch is quite fun we must say and is perhaps the best side scrolling platforming title we’ve experienced thus far on the console. Of course, it’s saying a lot but the game runs beautifully on the small screen while it performs just as fluidly when you place the Switch into TV mode. There were some noticeable visual differences between the handheld mode and TV mode, but that could just be due to the resolution expansion. If we had to choose between which mode to play on, it would definitely have to be the handheld mode because it just looks splendid and the colors seem to pop out more.Playing with the pro controller certainly works as well if you can’t seem to wrap your fingers around the connected joy-cons, but it really doesn’t take away from the overall experience you get while playing. There’s really no good or bad between the two, it really just comes down to personal preference. Out of the box the game comes with Japanese voice overs along with English text so that players can enjoy the cool dialogue while also picking up on Japanese, that is of course, if you’re studying the language. Azure Striker Gunvolt really seems to be a game that speedrunners would fall in love with since it requires a lot of practice and execution to really get the best out of everything. That isn’t to say that casual players will not enjoy it because we certainly did, but we often found ourselves retrying boss battles, picking up on their patterns and seeing just how fast we can beat them without suffering any significant damage. That’s where the enormous replay value comes into play and is perhaps the game’s biggest selling point.
While both games are relatively short, they require you to go back to retry scenarios in a different fashion, in order to collect bonus points. This just adds so much more play time because you’re constantly trying to find new ways to clear stages, avoiding unnecessary confrontations with enemies, and of course choosing the right power ups to secure a quick victory. All of this and more is what you’re gifted with and we couldn’t be more happier. This is for sure leaps and bounds better than Mighty No. 9 which surely many of you know by now, really didn’t sit well with fans who were expecting something more along the lines of the classic Mega Man experience. Fortunately, Azure Striker Gunvolt dodges that bullet and lives up to Inafune’s dreams of creating a game that plays similarly to that of the beloved blue bomber.
Playing with Copen is such a thrill because this guy is crazy fast, he can scale walls like no other, and can deal a ton of damage once you’ve mastered his unique abilities. You can tell a lot of efforts were made to ensure this game didn’t end up like Mighty No. 9 and we’re glad the team went the extra mile to ensure players receive a package worth opening.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
In the end, we had a blast playing both the first and the follow up, and we’re hooked on trying to beat our previous scores. We hope that you all find the game to be just as exciting as we found it to be, but of course, not everyone will find it to be enticing. As we stated earlier in the article, the level of difficulty starts to increase as you make your way towards the mid-portion of the game and for that, it may turn off some who are looking for a more casual thrill. Once things start to heat up, it all comes down to just how well you can focus and withstand the pressure from these bosses, who really are just relentless in their approach. One minute you think you’ve locked down their patterns and then they hit you with a random attack that throws off your strategy entirely. That surprise factor is what keeps you hungry for more because every misstep in your play is just motivation to perform better the next time around.
Visually superb on the Switch.
A plethora of content to play with.
A challenging and rewarding experience for fans of Mega Man and 2D side scrollers.
The difficulty level could prove challenging for some.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found this review to be insightful and to make your purchasing decision a lot easier. Once again, you’re getting two games for the price of one so in a way this is a steal. Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack is not something you should ignore since there’s a lot of content to dive into, with a pretty cool story to back it all up. It’s not just all shooting and running but there’s an actual cool narrative behind it all that once understood, only makes the experience more satisfying. Be sure to hit us up on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news. Also check us out live on Twitch to see us play our favorite titles and of course, even doing live reviews of games too!As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!