Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, Tried – Nerd4.life

A healthy dose of old-fashioned, arcade-style action is what we felt in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, coming to our screens this fall.

The revival of the glory of 8- and 16-bit is no longer news: the revival of video game forms of the past has now become such an established trend that certain genres have been re-established, which have translated into new contemporary propositions. Having put aside the mere nostalgic operation, the positive is that now it matters to propose games that are valid above all, and not just intriguing exercises in style. JoyMasher seems to have understood the situation, being one of the few teams able to go beyond the aesthetic elaboration to recover the true soul of the classic 2D action by proposing titles faithful to the tradition but are also valid for the game regardless of stylistic subtleties.

We’ve already had great results with Blazing Chrome, their previous game, and the sensations that derive from this new game tried Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider They also make us hope for the positive for this work, of which we have tested the demo version available thanks to Steam Next Fest and which we can’t wait to play in definitive form.

The cover art of Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

The cover art of Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

The catchy name already sparks the 80s-90s from all the pixels, but beyond the graphics it’s the action on the controller that puts us right back to the SNES/Mega Drive era, complete with jumps, repetitive shots and impressive bosses. The game doesn’t have an exact release date yet, but it should arrive this fall, so it should now be a matter of weeks, but in the meantime we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a preliminary version that definitely won us over.

Something classic

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, the first boss fight

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, the first boss fight

In an indefinite future, the world falls victim to a totalitarian state that suppresses all voices with the might of a massive military apparatus. Conceived as the ultimate weapon of this oppressive force, Moonrider is awakened in the laboratory but surprisingly chooses to follow his own conscience, turning against his creators and left to fight alone against a vast super-technological army. Aside from the useless introductory words, just know this: you are in the shoes of a cybernetic ninja warrior with samurai armor, capable of using various highly destructive technological weapons. In short, the premises exude an ’80s Japanese production arcade spirit, but in this case the inspiration moves from the militaristic atmosphere of Contra, which we had seen in Blazing Chrome, to the hybrid ones between science fiction and tokusatsu Japanese.

The result is a Zibaldone reminiscent of Strider, Shinobi, but most importantly Hagane: The Final Conflict, or a 2D action game Sliding in which the protagonist mainly uses short-range weapons such as blades and melee attacks, without disdaining some special attacks provided by the remarkable technological arsenal in the armor. Between enemies, obstacles and platforms, the game requires attention and understanding of the enemy’s attack patterns, with the challenge culminating in the spectacular boss fights that also recall the classic style of Japanese science fiction between cyberpunk and samurai.

action and platform

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider also features very platform-like levels

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider also features very platform-like levels

That playing style Reminiscent of the classics of the genre, it mixes platform elements with pure action, leans towards physical confrontation rather than shooter and follows the dictates of the aforementioned Strider or Hagane. The demo allowed you to try only a few levels, but these already gave an idea of ​​the variety of situations you can find yourself in, from a classic super-technological base with cybernetic final boss to a fleet of flying ships on which the protagonist jumps and climbing has to find its way.

Vengeful Warden: Moonrider is everything focused on execution speed and accuracy, because mistakes are paid dearly, even if the protagonist can count on an energy bar that allows a certain leeway. In the initial stages, Moonrider can use a very fast, short-range main attack with his sword, or a laser beam-style secondary weapon, which is particularly powerful but is limited by the consumption of a bar placed next to the main energy, however they may be glimpsed numerous additional weapons and advancements that can be used on the protagonist.

The moves are very similar to Strider, with the ability to walk and jump at two different speeds (there’s a run button that also extends the range of jumps), holding on to some specific parts of the levels, and sticking to the to hold walls to perform further jumps from elevated position. Add to that flying kicks and punches in the air, as well as dodging downwards, in practice a complete set of classic moves that allow both a certain variety in combat and a good interaction with the scenarios, which in fact often develop in different directions , with obstacles and dynamics platform pure.

That rhythm It’s obviously tight and exciting, with continuous and rapid clashes that require some memorization of enemies’ attack patterns, as befits this type of game, forcing you to alternate different types of punches and defensive moves.

A sophisticated but consistently vintage style

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider features sections on motorcycles

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider features sections on motorcycles

there graphic from Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, appropriately in bitmap, is a far cry from the more pretentious drifts of pixel art: it’s simply a complete and fairly honest revival of the classic 16-bit stylistic elements, but evidently with a certain desire for nostalgic re-enactment without being too self-conscious to surrender to the aesthetic trappings, but to stage an essential action that deals with the great role models of the past. The large sprites are well animated and detailed within the limits of low resolution, while the scenarios present the classic clichés of the futuristic action genre, with some notable homages to the classics, such as some parallax panoramas reminiscent of various 2D shooters. The levels are short and focused enough to never leave you bored, while the bosses build to the inevitable pinnacles of excitement and design, at least as far as we’ve seen so far.

The demo was extremely small, but even in that, as well as in the distributed video materials, you can see a certain search for variety level design and in game situations, between moments aboard motorcycles and various vehicles that we have already enjoyed in Blazing Chrome. The technological style then adopted represents a particular mix of proposals that combine samurai armor, warriors and ninja weapons, and a cyberpunk that relies heavily on the fusion of mechanics and biological organisms, bringing the tokusatsu almost to horror influences.

There are short narrative moments in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

There are short narrative moments in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

On the other hand, this is also a declaration of intent from the artistic director Danilo Dias by JoyMasher, who took works like Genocyber, Cyguard, Kamen Rider Black and Hakaider as a reference and fused them with Western classics of the most disturbing science fiction. It should be noted that he also cited Keita Amemiya as the main inspiration for the art style, making the comparison to Hagane: The Final Conflict particularly apt. On the audio front, too, the fidelity to the 16-bit stylistic traits is remarkable, with classic ‘synthetic’ and stomping rock, along with distorted and ‘lo-fi’ effects and samples to match.

The Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider demo was short-lived and left us eager to jump into the full game. Following Oniken, Odallus, and Blazing Chrome, JoyMasher looks set to further break into the indie landscape with another heartfelt, honest, and well-constructed tribute to classic 16-bit-era action. Also in this case, in addition to the nostalgic re-enactment, you will immediately feel the presence of an excellent gameplay to support the project, with the recovery of the classic form of the 2D action platform, considered as a vehicle to offer an essential and more fun gameplay more than a monkey that has now become trendy. It remains to assess the actual variety of action and overall quality given the brevity of the attempted fragment, but Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider seems like a game to keep an eye on if you love action from the past.

COLLATERAL

  • Fun, exciting and challenging like the old action platformers
  • Great style reminiscent of science fiction and Japanese elements
  • There seems to be quite a variety of situations and a good pace

DOUBT

  • Longevity and overall level design must be evaluated
  • The final version will have to have more varied and challenging opponents


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