After a brief hiatus from my 3DS and gaming at large, I decided to pick up my portable console once more.

To be honest, the eShop has been a little hit and miss more me of late. The great rush of 3D exclusive and original games that hit the system a year or so back seemed to be replaced with simultaneous releases of retail dominated titles that could be bought in the store or downloaded, and the Virtual Console seemed to be more NES driven than any other platform. Where was the Pinball FX DLC, or even clever titles like VVVVVV or Mighty Switch Force? For all I know, they were there, but just buried under the lack of any discernible search engine the eShop still lacks.

Grousing aside, I got turned on to Gunman Clive via Swapnote conversations. Being out of the loop, I hadn’t paid attention. And being only two dollars, I was skeptical. Most good eShop titles usually run $6-10, and I didn’t want some cheap cash-in. So I watched the video.

And was hooked from then on.

Gunman Clive, as some have noted, feels very much like a Mega Man title, minus some of the vicious deaths. It starts as a standard Western (a rarity in gaming genres), and then proceeds to get more and more surreal as players progress through the 20 levels. From an old west town to the Moon, Clive and his companions travel through a lot of varied and diverse environments.

The game is short, simple, and to the point. But it is a very polished experience, coupled with great music, clever hand-drawn/rough animation style graphics, responsive control, and excellent use of 3D. Everything works very well, and the character selection (complete with hidden, unlockable character) has that Super Mario Bros. 2 feel to it.

In this case, a $2 game does not equal “cheap”. While short, the solid game mechanics, the whimsical art direction, and the sheer amount of fun makes this a great title that is an incredible value for what you get.

If you own the 3DS, then you really need to get this title. While the 3DS isn’t really known for shovelware, this is one of the best when it comes to the downloadable fare.

Recommended.

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