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Rival Megagun for Xbox One review: Great concept, flawed execution

Arcade gauntlet-style shooters like are a fairly rare sight in this day and age, and as someone who loved to play games like Galaga as a kid, I was excited to see that Rival Megagun, a new game out tomorrow on Xbox One, was offering an experience very similar to this. After playing, though, it was clear that the game's issues were holding it back from greatness. While it is a fair amount of fun overall, the breakneck pace of the game and the overwhelming amount of things on screen hurt the experience.

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Battle head-to-head

The core concept of Rival Megagun is that two players (or a player and a computer) go against one another to see who can survive the longest in a Galaga-like bullet hell. Using your spaceship, you have to dodge enemy AI attacks and then blast them to bits. Doing this charges your special attack meter, which can then be used whenever you want in order to send attacks at the other player. Charging your attack meter to full allows you to transform into a massive ship and then travel to the other player's side of the screen, letting you attack them directly.

There are a handful of different characters to choose from, and each one of them has a different ship with positive and negative traits. For example, one character uses a smaller ship that makes dodging easier, but has less weapons. Another uses a larger vessel with stronger attack capabilities, but with that comes a bigger chance of being hit. Getting hit twice causes a player ship to explode; the survivor is the winner.

Overall, the game is fun, but there are some big issues with how it plays. The biggest problem is that the pace of the game feels way too fast; both the speed and the amount of ships and projectiles that flash across the screen are frustratingly difficult to keep track of on any difficulty above easy, and this isn't even counting the attacks that your opponent sends over, too. The other issue is the way projectile hitboxes work. Some enemy attacks can be clearly touching your ship and not hit you at all, while others will hit you even though you never physically collided with them. It's inconsistent, and it can make deaths feel unfair.

Looks and sounds great

Rival Megagun is designed to look like a modern take on classic arcade shooters, and this is accomplished quite well. The pixelated style and the vibrant colors make you feel like you're playing something right out of an arcade, and this makes it feel like a blast from the past despite it being brand new. The high speed techno music is great too, and this fits perfectly with Rival Megagun's action-packed gameplay.

One minor issue is that the bright colors in the background can make it hard to see certain projectiles, and due to the fast pace of the gameplay, even a moment of hesitation can cause you to get hit and possibly die. There could have been more work done to visually distinguish enemy attacks from the rest of what's on screen.

Should you buy Rival Megagun?

Ultimately, Rival Megagun is a fairly fun game that you and a friend can enjoy for several hours. It has some big issues, but I can't deny that the experience was still nevertheless pretty enjoyable, especially at the price of $15. For that reason, I think it's worth your time.

Pros:

  • Fun gameplay concept.
  • Good variety in ships to use.
  • Excellent art and music.

Cons:

  • Too fast paced.
  • Too much going on screen at once.
  • Projectiles can be hard to see.

Rival Megagun is out tomorrow on Xbox One for $14.99.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.