19th Dec2018

‘Rival Megagun’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts


A classic genre that’s been around since pretty much the start of gaming, the shoot-em-up (or, Shmup) genre has a rich and storied history as wealth as a wealth of amazing titles under its belt. What sets apart Rival Megagun from its…well, rivals, is the focus here on pure multiplayer action, it’s a neat and well-designed twist on the granddaddy of gaming genres.

A top-down vertical shooter, Rival Megagun pits two players (or a player and CPU-controlled character) against each other in a bullet-laden battle to the death. I advise playing the tutorial before diving in as the games’ unique gameplay does need to be explained beforehand to get the most out of it. Essentially, you choose from a selection of ships and pilots, each of which have their own firing patterns and special attacks, and get combo points from shooting enemies which build up your power-meter. As this is raising, you can use small portions of it to send extra enemies onto your rival’s half of the screen or even call in missiles to attack them, this needs to be handled carefully, however because the REAL payoff comes when you have a full meter and gain the ability to temporarily transform into a screen-filling boss which teleoprts over to your opponents’ half of the screen and, well…really goes to town on them with a vast array of armaments, it’s awesome.

There really is a lot to love about the wonderful simplicity and risk / reward gameplay of Rival Megagun, the pixel artwork is top-notch and the scrolling silky smooth, combined with a suitably energetic soundtrack to keep the adrenalin up. The characters all feel different and each round is packed with tension. Enemies have a nice variation and each level has a unique vibe and enemy design which adds to the replayability. The single-player arcade’ game mode is fun with each character having their own brief story and whilst it functions purely to move between opponents, it does give a backstory and breathe life into the game world to make it seem slightly more in-depth without detracting from the pacey arcade atmosphere.

I played Rival Megagun in both single player and local multiplayer modes but I will say that I had an issue with getting other players to join me in online matches, it would also benefit the game to include some sort of online leader board to get a focus on long-term success, although perhaps this will be included in a later patch.

With its mash-up of Super Puzzle Fighter split-screen intense arcade action and tight, wonderfully 16-bit Shmup heart, I really enjoyed my time with Rival Megagun and it is definitely a game that I’ll pop on for quick blasts in the future with friends, transforming into the boss NEVER gets old! That said, the lack of a leader board and long waits for online matches does remove from the otherwise swift pace of the game and I can imagine if this continues to be the case, it will chip away at the longevity for a lot of people. Me? I’m local multiplayer through and through so it’s back into the futuristic rapid-fire action for me!

Rival Megagun is available on the Nintendo Switch now.


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