Early in 2013, the world was graced with Gunman Clive, a short and sweet action platformer that was praised for its simplistic art style and solid mechanics. Almost exactly two years later we received Gunman Clive 2, a sequel that built upon and expanded the original in nearly every way possible. Now, both games have been made available on the Wii U as a package deal, which leaves us with one big question: is it worth a double dip? The answer is yes, absolutely.
For those of you out of the loop, the Gunman Clive games could most closely be compared to the Mega Man games of yore. Along the way countless references are made to other popular and classic game franchises like Castlevania, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Fox; heck, even Tetris makes a cameo. The pseudo western theme of the games is quite charming, though it isn't afraid to strike out into other level themes, such as a coal mine, bamboo jungle, or the moon. While these level themes could perhaps have been expanded on a bit more, it's nonetheless very refreshing to see a platformer that doesn't follow the cookie cutter world designs (such as fire and ice worlds, etc.) of other platformers.
Naturally, you may be wondering if the HD resolution adds a noticeable layer of visual fidelity to the experience. Honestly, it really doesn't add much, but this is due more in part to the excellence of the art style than to any shortcomings on the developer's part. Simply put, the textures and animations of the originals looked so good that there's really nothing more that could be added or polished without changing the overall look of the game. Sure, maybe some colours here or there are a bit deeper or more vibrant as a result of the transition, but it's nothing that'll have you shouting from the rooftops.
There are a few minor complaints that apply to the design of both games. The first is that both of them are just too darned short. Having both entries in one package helps to alleviate this somewhat, but it's no exaggeration to say that you can clear each game in roughly an hour. Fortunately, both of them are extremely replayable, featuring three playable characters that have unique skill-sets, a delightfully strange unlockable character, and three difficulty modes. Existing fans will be pleased to learn that Chieftain Bob is now playable in the first game - he was previously exclusive to the sequel.
Another problem lies with level design, in that it can lean a bit too heavily on trial and error. This is mostly negated with each successive playthrough, but on the first run through either game there will be a few situations where you'll find yourself blindly leaping into spike pits or taking fire from enemies that the camera doesn't immediately show you.
All in all, Gunman Clive HD Collection is an absolute no-brainer. For the low price of entry, you are getting HD versions of not one, but two of the most impeccably-crafted action platformers of the last decade. They may be over a bit too soon and they may not always have the most fair level designs, but there's more than enough replayability here to cancel out both of these problems. Do yourself a favor and go download this game immediately.