Gunman Clive Review

A common complaint from grizzled old-school gamers is that modern games are too easy. Gunman Clive is here to solve that problem. This game will test the mettle of even the most war-hardened vets. It’s also jaw-droppingly gorgeous and loads of fun to play– provided you don’t mind dying a few hundred times in the process.

The first thing you’ll notice about Gunman Clive is the amazing art. With pencil-sketched graphics and incredibly smooth animation, this game makes you feel like you’re controlling a flip book made for John Wayne. Watch the trailer below to see what we mean.

Fill your hands, you son of a…

The gameplay was clearly inspired by NES classics like Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden. You play as a gunman in the Old West, and your goal is to reach the end of each level, pumping bullets into anything that stands in your way. You can move back and forth, jump, duck, and shoot. The controls are extremely tight, so you’ll have no one but yourself to blame most of your deaths.

And dear readers, you will die. You will fall down pits, you will be shot, and you will be blown to pieces. This is one of the most unforgiving games we’ve played in a long time. There are no checkpoints, so each death sees you whisked back to the beginning of the level, even if you were killed right next to the exit (and you will be). The one concession they make is giving you unlimited lives.

I thought giants only lived north of the wall.

But even with such high difficulty, you have to appreciate the variety they’ve packed into the levels. You’ll encounter all kinds of Wild West villains, from gunslingers and horseback riders to rabbits and storks. To take these baddies on, you have a basic pistol that can only shoot straight left or right. However, your gun can be improved with power-ups that let you shoot multidirectional bullets, lasers, and more.

The game works great as an action game, but it’s also a accomplished platformer, with pits, ladders, trampolines, and moving platforms spread generously throughout the 16 levels. Each stage adds new obstacles and gameplay elements, and although we’ve seen it all before in other games, rarely does an iOS title pack so much variety.

The best games of the NES era had a certain elegant simplicity about them, and Gunman Clive taps right into it. Clive can only do a small number of actions, but they’re enough to let you navigate the well-crafted environments and myriad obstacles. The game is exceedingly tough, but when you complete a level, you know you earned it. As any old-school gamer can tell you, hard-won success is the most gratifying.

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