JoyMasher is a developer who proves they’ve a panache for making retro-inspired motion video games. They started with humble NES-style motion platformers Oniken and Oddallus. It wasn’t till Blazing Chrome, a Contra-inspired run-and-gun shooter, that pushed the envelope on pixel artwork and animation to a stage of expertise that’s not often seen.
Blazing Chrome didn’t simply look amazing- it was additionally an distinctive motion recreation that was on par with the likes of Konami’s greatest efforts. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider would take a extra unique strategy with its gameplay by being broader with its influences, making it really feel much less like an imitation.
Taking cues from many retro classics like Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Grasp, Turrican, Strider, Hagane, and Mega Man X; JoyMasher’s newest feels extra prefer it was a recreation that existed within the period that impressed it. Rev your engines, sharpen your blade, and dive-kick a cyborg within the face prepare for this Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider overview!
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider
Writer: The Arcade Crew
Platforms: Home windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Swap (reviewed)
Launch Date: January 12, 2023
Worth: $16.99 USD
Too usually indie builders unfold themselves too skinny by making an attempt formidable and large 2D metroidvania-style platformers. There’s an comprehensible need for them; who wouldn’t need a prolonged and epic 2D motion recreation the place you’re feeling a profound sense of development?
The one drawback is that nearly each developer performs it protected by making metroidvanias that comply with a generalized template. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider rejects fashionable tendencies and aspires to remind players of the purity of linear motion the place not often something will get rehashed.
Similar to rejecting the played-out rogue or metroidvania gameplay, Moonrider himself refuses his programming. He’s a natural-born insurgent and as a substitute of imposing the totalitarian legal guidelines of the state, he seeks to punish the depraved who holds the powerless beneath the heel of their boot.
There are six different guardians within the metropolis and Moonrider must discover them by selecting their stage and endure an superior gauntlet of daring platforms, mini-bosses, and dastardly positioned enemies. Every stage comes with its gimmicks and sly homages to basic video games.
The burning jungle space has cheekily positioned wall turrets which are ripped from Contra and the water stage has a mini-boss that’s suspiciously just like Mom Mind from Metroid. When Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider does one thing unique, it makes an impression. The big mech that pursues Moonrider by the forest was particularly a spotlight.
The metalhead was so persistent, it made what would have been a regular stage far more intense. Having to fend off foes whereas taking cowl, leaping over hazards, and evading missiles proved to be one of many extra thrilling moments in what was already an action-packed recreation.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider‘s phases are various of their theming. One space is a nightmarish flesh zone with demonic backgrounds and enemies mutating like in John Carpenter’s The Factor and a puzzle-like sequence with switches and locked doorways.
Some phases may also have Moonrider utilizing his trusty bike and can play out like a mix of Street Rash and a few sort of shoot-em-up. These ranges are a spotlight, not only for their spectacle and spectacular use of scaling graphics, but in addition for including worth by mixing up the motion.
The numerous platforming and wall-jumping give Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider an ebb and circulate to its playability. The protagonist is a strong cyborg ninja and gamers can really feel it as they negotiate every stage.
His assured strut and easy attacking poses make it arduous to not really feel essentially the most succesful and lethal steel motherfucker since Alex Murphy despatched Clarence Boddicker to hell.
Other than his fundamental combo, Moonrider has a devastating dive kick that may make him pogo on foes, Scrooge McDuck-style. It seems to be superior and has a crunchy connection when Moonrider bounces off his goal. As if this wasn’t sufficient, he additionally positive factors particular assaults from defeating every of the six guardians.
One would suppose the Mega Man franchise would have run these concepts dry, however Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider managed to maintain issues recent. Skills just like the teleport sprint or the black gap tentacle are helpful and intensely devastating when utilized in the fitting context.
As if this wasn’t sufficient, players can additional modify Moonrider’s playability by equipping two chips which have passive results. These can provide distinctive skills like with the ability to double leap, achieve HP or weapon vitality again from killing foes, or lengthen the vary of the hero’s sword.
There are a variety of totally different combos which may result in fascinating playstyles for daring players to experiment with. This mechanic provides replay worth and in addition doubles as a comfortable issue modifier for gamers who wish to make the sport simpler or a lot tougher. It’s potential to make a construct that emphasizes enemy weapon utilization over fundamental assaults if the person is so inclined.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider has unbelievable pixel artwork and animation. It is extremely trustworthy to the period it’s paying lip service in the direction of and is steeped in ninja fetishism that rocked the 90s. The setting is a basic depiction of a cyberpunk dystopia and depends on dank and soiled colours to make the setting really feel vile.
Every thing feels prefer it has grit and a few rust to it- even the cyborg enemies and the biomechanical abominations spew chunky, pixelated blood. There’s little touches like when stage bosses get minimize in half after the final hit, the virtuoso stage of element that makes memorizing their patterns really feel value it.
The intensive use of parallax layered graphics provides the scenes some depth. Misty areas are depicted and background parts are impressively animated, making the environments come alive and really feel lived in.
The patterns and assaults are usually not particularly tough, although a few of the bosses, afterward, could give some gamers a run for his or her cash. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider may be very tightly balanced with its issue and is beneficiant sufficient with lives and checkpoints that anyone can beat it with some persistence.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider‘s problem is spicy sufficient to demand the participant to concentrate to what they’re doing, however forgiving sufficient that they don’t really feel pressured to not fiddle. The chip system provides sufficient leeway so even scrubs can look superior and pose in opposition to an intimidating blood-red moon in a crimson sky.
It’s a quick run- lasting roughly the identical size because the sorts of video games it’s impressed by: round two to 3 hours. For some, this can be a turn-off, however Moonrider is priced appropriately. It could be quick, however it is extremely replayable and maximizes its size with recent content material at each second.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider has shredding music that goals for a powerful Asian really feel. It feels like what you’d get if Shinobi met Contra‘s meaty and heavy bass chiptune. Some voice clips are current they usually have low-bitrate and compressed grunge to their sound high quality for optimum authenticity.
The one factor Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is lacking is an effective CRT filter to provide it a haggard texture for authenticity. The choice included doesn’t suffice and fades out all the picture. Regardless of this petty shortcoming, players and retro fanatics particularly received’t discover a finer 2D linear motion platformer made this technology.
It will need to have taken a variety of guts from JoyMasher to launch a linear 2D motion platformer that depends on a “lives” system in 2023. The spectacle and lavish pixel artwork are a few of the greatest round and it’s obvious that the artists poured all their sweat, blood, and tears into each dot for Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider. They went for it and crafted what’s presumably one of many biggest examples of its style.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider was reviewed on Nintendo Swap utilizing a replica offered by The Arcade Crew. You could find extra details about Area of interest Gamer’s overview/ethics coverage right here. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is now out there for Home windows PC (by way of Steam), Nintendo Swap, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.