Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is One of Inti Creates’ Best Platformers Yet
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch is the latest fast-paced successor to Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 that Inti Creates fans were hoping for.
It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a game in the Gunvolt series, which is why I am quite excited that the series is finally returning in full force on Nintendo Switch this September with Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. Players are only given the reigns to Copen this time, but his moveset is just as fast paced and destructive as players remember it being in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2. I have been eager to get my hands on the game since Inti Creates announced it last year; fortunately, I was able to try a level of the game for myself at E3 2019.
While one awkward button placement meant that the game did not always flow as smoothly as intended for me, once I got the hang of things Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX left an impression as one of the most enjoyable fast-paced 2D platformers in recent memory. Being developed purely for current generation consoles helps as well, ensuring that Gunvolt Chronicles will be one of the best looking Inti Creates platformers to date.
My demo did not include any of the story or between mission screens that will be in the final game, but I did get to try out an action packed level. If you played as Copen in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, you’ll know what to do at a base level. He can jump, dash, and shoot, which feels good like most Inti Creates platforms. That being said, slowly walking forward and shooting enemies is not how Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is meant to be played. The game’s speed rises and things become a lot more involved once players bring dashing into enemies into the mix.
Remember how in Might No. 9 you could stun enemies with shots and dash into them to knock them out and receive points? Well, in Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX Copen does something similar; fortunately, it feels a lot better than that mediocre game Inti Creates contributed to as the dashing into enemies comes first, resulting in a better game speed. After dashing into an enemy, Copen locks onto it. No matter when the player is, any shot from the player will go directly towards the tagged enemies. This system encourages players to keep moving and some enemies go down very fast if the player hits them when they aren’t looking, so Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is able to maintain a speed not often seen in platformers that are based on Mega Man in some way, shape, or form.
Even though this system is exhilarating, it isn’t unlimited. Copen has a limited “Bullit” gauge to deal with in order to keep dashing, and he must reload before it runs out in one of three different ways. Player can reload by double tapping down on the d-pad, dashing into an enemy or wall, or by waiting for it to refill. I kept forgetting to do this at first, which led to some awkward situations where I took a lot of damage and ended up dying once. Then, once I got the hang of things, I tried dashing into walls as often as possible to keep my gauge filled. While I partially did this because dashing controls well, I also opted to refill my ammo this way as it was much easier to do.
For such a crucial action to the game, mapping ammo reloading to tapping the d-pad twice is a poor decision. While it is something you can get the hang of, it is definitely a hard button for newcomers to press consistently and did not demo well with me. In a title with otherwise stellar gameplay, I hope Inti Creates changes the button used for this or allows players to remap controls in the final game. If nothing else, players can rely on using EX weapons via Lola, which I certainly did in the boss battle at the end of the demo. While I timed out before the end of the fight, it seemed designed just as well as the boss fights in Azure Striker Gunvolt and its sequel.
Outside of that one misplaced action, this demo showed my Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is everything I wanted out of a new Gunvolt title from a gameplay standpoint. It’s high-speed gameplay is a lot of fun to mess around with, and it manages to look great in the process. The upgraded visuals that are only possible on more powerful consoles are one thing Inti Creates hopes players will appreciate the most about Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX and they seem to be on the right track as it is something I definitely liked.
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is slated to release for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch on September 26, 2019.