Gunvolt Chronicles Luminous Avenger iX by Inti Creates is a fast-paced albeit short side scrolling shooter that manages to tell a decent story with memorable characters despite its relatively short play time.
In the near future that world is under control by “adepts”, a new breed of human with superhuman abilities. The humans left without abilities are called “Minos”, short for minority, and are being hunted down by the Institute for the Promotion of Human Evolution, better known as the “Sumeragi.”
You take the reins of Copen, known as the Luminous Avenger iX, as he battles alongside his AI Lola to save the Minos from the Sumeragi and to end the war between the humans and the adepts. You begin the story as Copen is searching for The Butterfly Effect, an instrument which is said to bring eternal peace.
The core gameplay present in Luminous Avenger iX is standard run and gun fare. As Copen you are able to modify your character a bit with additional weapons gained from boss battles, ala Mega Man, and upgrade various aspects and abilities using points collected during your run through.
You begin with the Pervasion class, which – in all likelihood – you will remain using the entire playthrough. Pervasion class allows you to use your bullits, a replenishable energy source, to prevent damage from attacks. By reloading your bullits you can remain almost invincible, but as you fight against more difficult enemies finding a balance between attacking and reloading can become nearly overwhelming.
Aside from the bullit system, the game is essentially a straight forward 2D platformer and shooter. You’ll encounter enemies which you can fight head on, use special attacks on, or ram into to break defenses. You’re able to lock on to enemies, which becomes handy as you progress as many levels require some sort of lock on and enemy hopping to make your way across their treacherous terrain.
In-between levels you hide out in an underground vault ran by a Minos named Kohaku. Kohaku and her friends serve as the backdrop for the underlying story and help you find a few minutes of peace in-between levels. You can speak with the characters while in their hideout, increasing your chance for Lola to use her lifesaving skill during a level, and you can customize your character.
There is also a mission select screen which allows you to play any mission currently available in any order or to replay missions. Normally there are 3 or 4 missions to choose from.
The graphics are basic and fine for what they are. This is a retro inspired 2D game and as such, boasts many colors and fast paced action. Cut scenes are told through static images and dialogue, rather than fully animated CGI.
The character design is fine and helps you indentify with the characters, despite your short time with them. The level design leaves a bit to be desired, although there are a few levels that stand out and take you outside the confines of underground warehouses. Still, a bit more variety would have been welcome.
That said, the bosses are creative and vary enough that you never know what to expect. Each comes with their own set of moves and will force you to learn their patterns to win. The boss fights are some of the best parts of the game and will have many players replaying levels just to find out what tactics work best.
Length and Replayability:
Luminous Avenger iX is short. There are only 12 levels, which each consists of a few sections followed by a boss battle, and an entire run through will take most players only 3 and a half to 4 hours. That said, there are abilities you can purchase to add an extra layer of difficulty to missions and each level can be replayed to find all its secrets and to level your character up.
I enjoyed Luminous Avenger iX despite its short length. Each level remained fun and was broken up by creative boss battles and enough dialogue to keep me intrigued. I have not played any of the previous Gunvolt series, so I was not aware of these characters or their histories, so I can’t vouch for how well this game stands against previous entries but as a standalone adventure it is worth a playthrough.
Luminous Avenger iX is available now on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam with an MSRP of $14.99. A review code for the Nintendo Switch was provided by Inti Creates for the purpose of this review.