Rival Megagun takes the arcade retro vertical shoot em’ up style and adds a new twist with a rival player alongside you in split-screen madness. However, is this new approach what the genre was missing or is it a step too far?
The story is Earth is now under the control of an alien race that is using it for its resources. Our defences fell and there is nothing left to save the human race. That is until a game show comes about to find the greatest fighter to take on the harvesters and save the world! This sets up the rival element of the game and starts you on the story.
You have the choice of 7 pilots to pick from, each with their own style, strength and weaknesses. Once you have selected your pilot you embark on your quest to become the greatest pilot and Earths hero. Each stage has you competing against one of the pilots you didn’t select in a rival battle for this game show. To win the round you need to KO your opponent by chaining together enemy kills to send more alien enemies across to their side or by activating your special which puts you into a boss style ship with a lot of health and powerful weapons that you can directly attack your opponent with.
Now I got through a single playthrough of a pilot in about 25 minutes which I felt was short and perhaps the game could have included a few more rival battles before hitting that final boss. There is a stage for each of the other pilots and a little twist at the end that adds a few extra stages but that is about it. Obviously, you want to go back and complete it with each of the pilots to get a different little story for each so overall you have a couple of hours of gameplay which isn’t too bad. However, it just felt that as I was getting the hang of my pilot it was time to try a different one.
Away from the story, you have access to couch or online competitive play which gives you a chance to put your skills to the test against real people. This was a much bigger challenge as during the story I never had to face an enemy that used their full special bar to take on their boss like-ship. Once you have completed the story this is where the re-playability will be and for those looking for that added challenge then online matches are where you want to be.
I was impressed with the visuals of this game as from the moment it starts up the polished vibrant 2D visuals hit you and you just get that ‘I am playing an arcade machine game’ warmth. This game has put a modern day feel to the arcade style and it looks fantastic. The backdrops, characters and ships are all colourful while an array of neon colours explode on each level. Regardless of how busy your screen gets the game new drops in framerate. Alongside the visuals, you have a high tempo techno soundtrack to really add to that fast-paced shooter feeling Rival Megagun has.
I played this game on my console and a large screen which I think helped me get through it so quickly. At times there is a lot going happening on screen when you need to kill your enemies, avoid their fire, keep an eye on your opponent next to you and then deal with whatever they send your way. For example, putting this on your Vita is going to make it harder to keep track of everything that is going on.
Rival Megagun does something different with the vertical shooter genre that I enjoyed. It certainly adds to the difficulty and offers for some interesting online opportunities. I wish there was a bit more single player to enjoy but the experience you do get is well put together and looks & sounds fantastic. If you are a fan of the vertical shooters where there is sometimes just too much to handle then I would recommend giving Rival Megagun a run!
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*