Gunlord X (Review) Playstation 4 – Game of the Month

Gunlord X (Review) Playstation 4 – Game of the Month
Review Score:

NGDEVTEAM isn’t like most game developers. As part of the retro revival that occurred well over 10+ years ago, NGDEVTEAM took to developing highly polished, arcade-style games on the Neo-Geo MVS and Neo-Geo AES respectively, while also finding new ways to push the Neo-Geo’s 2D capabilities to their limits. Since the release of their first game, Last Hope, which launched on November 19th, 2007, NGDEVTEAM has released a whopping 7 games on SNK’s aging hardware (Kraut Busters – a game that pays homage to Metal Slug – being the latest). 

Somewhere in the middle is Gunlord, a fast-paced, Turrican-style shooter with massive levels; imaginative enemy types; and some of the largest boss creatures ever seen in a Neo-Geo game. The game itself had a release date of June 21st, 2012 on the Neo-Geo, followed up by a Sega Dreamcast version shortly thereafter. Gunlord X for Playstation 4 is essentially the same game, but with improvements made to the game’s levels and overall performance. For example: the game includes expanded levels that contain new challenges and secrets. Some of these new challenges include stages with more enemies and well-hidden ‘extra’ lives just waiting to be discovered, to name just a few. The player can now also earn additional ‘continues’ by collecting a specific number of ‘big’ diamonds per level (a much-needed feature considering Gunlord X’s difficulty).

The game also includes an Autosaving level progression feature; Accomplishment and statistic screens; and a plethora of graphical enhancements too numerous to mention here. It’s pretty obvious that developer NGDEVTEAM worked real hard to release the best version of Gunlord possible. This is evident by the gameplay, which is a combination of two genres – 2D platforming and twin stick shooting. The moment the game starts, the player is sent headfirst into a action-packed world infested by alien horrors, cybernetic monstrosities, and massive, towering levels packed with power-ups and secrets. Surviving these levels won’t be easy. Along the way, the player will encounter falling platforms, spike-filled pits, and bottomless pools of water among the many hazards that comprise each level. And this doesn’t include the actual enemies, which are both airborne and ground-based. 

Some creatures stick to the ceilings of platforms, waiting patiently to grab the player as they run by. Others will remain stationary until the player is close enough, and then attack in swarms. The larger creatures will try to overpower the player with brute force and sheer firepower. The player can rely on basic firepower by rapidly pressing the Square button, or moving the right-analog stick in a circular motion to whip the Beam Snake around the playfield. While the ‘Beam Snake’ cannot be upgraded, the player’s basic weapon (i.e. a machine gun) can be upgraded by acquiring power-ups that will change the weapon into a shotgun, a rocket launcher and a 3-way spread rifle, to name just a few. Power-ups are usually found inside floating, metal platforms that can either be shot or ‘bumped’ from beneath Mario-style to gain access to the power-ups contained therein. These floating platforms also serve another purpose, but this ‘secret’ should be left for the player to discover.

As the player will quickly learn, the ‘Beam Snake’ weapon is needed to survive most enemy encounters (especially when enemies attack in swarms). This weapon also comes in handy during boss encounters. However, the player must keep track of the Beam Strike’s energy bar, which depletes slowly when the weapon is in use. The energy bar in question will replenish itself overtime, even if ‘energy’ replenishing power-ups can’t be found. Knowing when to use the Beam Snake weapon or the more standard rifle is essential to surviving the many obstacles in Gunlord X. 

Graphically, Gunlord X is a visual feast for the eyes. Everything from the backgrounds to the sprites pop with spectacular color. The enemies and bosses both animate with a fluid grace rarely seen in modern 2D games. It all comes together at a rock-solid 60fps, hardly ever skipping a beat when the action intensifies (and this happens often).

Gunlord X for Playstation 4 is more than just a game; it’s an experience. Developer NGDEVTEAM has cracked the secret to making 2D platformers, and this is evident the moment the game starts. It also proves that despite its age, the Neo-Geo hardware is still capable of producing high-quality games that still meet the current standards of gaming, even when the game in question is ported to modern day consoles. Gunlord X is simply astonishing.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4 (Also Available for Nintendo Switch)
Developer: NGDEVTEAM
Publisher: eastasiasoft
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: $9.99

Gunlord X Official Website:

Review Score
An absolute visual feast for the eyes,
The most memorable, soulful soundtrack of any 2D platformer to date.
Hardcore, classic 2D platforming at its finest.
Buy it.
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