Mega Man co-creator, Keiji Inafune, and the brilliant minds at Inti Creates revealed their latest game at BitSummit Indie Games Convention in Kyoto over the past weekend.
Azure Striker: Gunvolt will be released on the Nintendo 3DS this summer in both America and Japan. I sat down with it and had a hard time pulling myself away. This game is going to be amazing.
The game’s hero, Gunvolt, is a 14-year old member of a resistance group fighting back against the Sumeragi Group, a powerful organization of psychics who now control the world. Using his power to control lightning, Gunvolt acts as an assassin who strikes deep into the Sumeragi’s heart.
However, when he is ordered to kill a pop star named Lumen, he hesitates to do so when finding out her true identity is that of a psychic girl named Joule, and his decision sets his questionable career choice off in a new direction.
Azure Striker: Gunvolt takes it up a notch by playing much faster than the traditional Mega Man series, and it adds a bit of depth with a balance surrounding Gunvolt’s power. His lightning ability, the Thunder Ring, serves a wide range of purposes from whittling away enemy health as an AoE attack, targeting enemies for hurling lightning rods, defending against attacks, and extending jumps to glide onto distant platforms.
The power of this Thunder Ring drains over time with usage, meaning that Gunvolt will have to know when to charge and when to strike.
Gunvolt also sports his own firearm called the Dart Leader, his primary weapon, which transforms into three different modes. Each of these modes can target an enemy for a single attack, or all three modes can target a single enemy for a triple attack, again, meaning that balance will be the key for taking out large groups of enemies and tough bosses.
And trust me, there will be quite a few of those. The demo available only had three stages completed, but each challenging level was capped off with an ingenious boss battle that shows how seriously Inafune and Inti Creates have mastered their craft.
Developing studio Inti Creates is most famous for collaborating with Inafune on Mega Man 9, 10, and the upcoming Kickstarter sensation, Mighty No. 9; but, its best work so far can be found on the Gameboy Advance when it developed the four Mega Man Zero games, brilliant action platformers with crisp design and gorgeous artwork. Their artists have once again turned out pixelated 2D gold, making them one of the most talented studios for the genre in the world.
Mighty No. 9 might be the main show in Inti Create’s line-up, but Azure Striker: Gunvolt could steal the limelight while we are waiting for it to finally be released. As it stands now, it almost seems like Keiji Inafune and Inti Creates are just showing off with what they are capable of with the advanced technology of today. Everything is a Azure Striker: Gunvolt is a refinement of what made the classics so good. It’s an action packed marvel, tight and confident in what kind of game it is, and it doesn’t bog itself down with needless size or expansive levels.
Azure Striker: Gunvolt is definitely a game to keep an eye on over the coming months, and with its announcement, Keiji Inafune has once again planted himself as a champion of the Japanese indie market. Once a pillar and founder of the NES’ humble roots and console video game domination in general, he takes great pride in finding a way to help bring Japan into success once again. Best of luck.
Azure Striker: Gunvolt will be released for the Nintendo 3DS this summer.