Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX Review – Non-Stop Copen Action

    Title: Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX
    Developer: Inti Creates
    Release Date: September 26, 2019
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Inti Creates
    Genre: 2D Action

It’s tough for me to hide my excitement for the Azure Striker Gunvolt series. This 2D action side-scroller has carried the genre into the current console generation and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. However, this time around, instead of Gunvolt heading the charge, Copen will pick up the torch in his adventure called Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. Being that this is an entry on current generation hardware, fans will most likely expect a lot from it. Thankfully, this adventure does not disappoint in the slightest.

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX tells the story of the anti-hero Copen, who some might remember as the playable character in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2. However, this time around he is the only playable character, but he still has help from his Autonomous Combat Pod partner Lola. The two are on a personal mission to take care of some unfinished business involving the group known as Sumeragi. During this time, Adepts have begun hunting Minos to bring them to extinction. Copen has always been aware of this possibility and plans to stop the Adepts by any means.

While on the mission, Copen meets an unknown fighter known as Blade, who is a part of a larger group within Sumeragi known as Falcons. Upon taking damage, a group of Mino children led by a girl named Kohaku saves him. It’s here that we learn more about the fight against Sumeragi as well as get the assistance that Copen needs to take them down.

Aside from the primary mission, players have access to additional story dialogue after completing each level. Even though these are optional, it gives more clarity on the situation and the next missions to come. Furthermore, it shows Copen in a way not shown before. Throughout the game, you learn more about him and see a glimpse of character growth in his cold heart. All of this leads up to an epic conclusion that I can’t wait to talk about with others.

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Story aside, the gameplay is the core of what makes Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX so unique. Copen can bounce off walls and tag enemies to unleash homing bullets on them. The game rewards players who continue combos with points and the assurance from Lola that you are “wonderful.” The gameplay here is meant to be fast and fluid, and the level layouts allow Copen to navigate quickly through the map. Enemy designs are unique. Each can put up a good challenge, but Copen is almost too badass for his own good and quickly makes waste of most grunts. Now, it’s possible to coast your way through each level, but fighting allows Copen to level-up.

Each level leads up to a boss battle against one of the Falcons, and they do not intend to go down without a fight. Each of Falcons is awesome. It almost got to the point where I didn’t want to fight them and would have liked to get to know them through scenarios. However, that’s not the case here, so it’s up to Copen to destroy them. Aside from having their attack patterns and abilities, Falcons also have a special that can do massive damage. While players can dodge these attacks, it’s not easy. The specials are a brilliant display of just how far this series has come and reflects highly on the quality of the game. These attacks are flashy, intense, and display some of the best pixel artwork that I have seen to date.

However, Copen isn’t without special moves. With the help of Lola, Copen can execute a hard-hitting attack. In battle, Lola can also change into an additional form that I’d hate to spoil for you as well as revive Copen. This revival is random and has Copen take a new form where he is pretty much going to wipe out anything in his way. After each boss, Copen will learn a new attack that is often the weakness of an upcoming boss.

Gunvolt Chronicles Luminous Avenger iX

After completing the primary campaign, additional challenge missions unlock that will put your skills to the test. Players can also go back to any of the previous levels to find all of the hidden coins for rewards. During gameplay, Copen can be upgraded using coins earned in missions to get things like extra bullets and even additional options. I should also mention that the soundtrack is as amazing as ever and will keep your head rocking throughout every stage.

Where I felt the Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX could have been improved is minimal. Coins need to be picked up by touching them from fallen enemies, but this means you’ll need to stop your combo or slow down to pick them up before they disappear. I would have preferred if Copen automatically absorbed the coins. Also, some levels rely heavily on Copen’s wall jump ability, but there are times when waiting for the bullets to refill that could bring the mission to a standstill. In a game this fast, these moments feel a lot longer than they should.

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Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX should be played by all fans of the series and anyone looking for a solid 2D action platformer. This game honestly has no right costing only $14.99 because it feels like it’s worth so much more while playing. Through its story, character development, and non-stop action, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is on a whole other level of quality when it comes to games in this genre.

It’s good to see the Gunvolt series spreading its wings and expanding its narrative. I’m glad developer Inti Creates is putting time into the 2D action genre to create gems like this for long-time fans. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX shows us a different side of Copen that I have been waiting see. It’s through this entire adventure that he makes his marks as a true main protagonist and proves he is just as awesome as Gunvolt.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.