Rival Megagun Review
Overall 80

Shoot-em-ups typically pit players against an armada of nefarious threats, but what would happen if you added a human element to that danger? Degica Games and Spacewave Software’s Rival Megagun answers that question by adding PVP to the world of shmups. It certainly provides a fresh take on the genre, but does it offer up a battle worth fighting for?

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Rival Megagun Review

Shoot-em-ups typically pit players against an armada of nefarious threats, but what would happen if you added a human element to that danger? Degica Games and Spacewave Software’s Rival Megagun answers that question by adding PVP to the world of shmups. It certainly provides a fresh take on the genre, but does it offer up a battle worth fighting for?

Rival Megagun Review

To create this unique formula, the development team nailed the basic elements that make a shmup so timeless. Players will still be choosing a ship and pilot of their choice and shooting everything that moves in a vertical setup. Death comes in just two hits, and the ultimate goal is to stay alive amidst the waves of bullets, missiles, fire, and other threats.

However, there is a twist – you are facing a rival opponent who occupies the other half of the screen. Each person has their own threats to overcome, but players can find ways to make their opposition’s life a living hell. Successfully chain together hits in a limited time, and drones can be sent via a portal to the other screen. A meter can also build up over time, which can be used to send laser beams, mines, missiles, and other threats.

Those looking to bring out the big guns can charge up their meter to 100% and unleash the Mega Gunship to wreak havoc. Think of this as a boss ship, albeit one the player controls. Those dishing out the damage can use one of four different attacks that can be aimed and curved, while those on the defensive end must take it down. It might seem like a trump card, but those adept at the game and are good at reading their opponent will be able to survive. It never comes across as unfair, and though it is something else to learn, it still adds an element of risk and reward to an already solid formula.

Rival Megagun - Gamers Heroes

If anything, the strategy and nuance present here is fairly robust. Do you save up a screen-clearing bomb to clear enemy fire, or use it to halve a Mega Gunship’s lifebar? Should you focus on your combos for portals, or send out missiles and other threats at the expense of meter? Each stage offers different hazards and threats as well, and though there isn’t a large variety to choose from, what is here hits all of the right notes.

Each of the different characters follows the standard anime tropes, but the benefits and drawbacks of each pilot add variety. Much like a fighting game, players can pick out a main based on their preferred style of play. Each character has their own rate of fire, their own special attack, and their own Mega Gunship. Some attacks, like Gen’s fiery border and Dr. Magic’s bullet-heavy barrages, seemed to offer an edge during our time with the game. However, time will tell if a metagame develops.

Those going solo can play through the game’s Story mode. Made up of a series of battles, everything is wrapped up with a tale regarding the Harvester threat, MEKA TV, and a witty Host. It’s not overly robust, but the solid sprite work and witty banter makes it stand out. Just be warned that the computer is often too cunning for its own good – we were unable to 1CC it, despite coming close.

Rival Megagun - Gamers Heroes

Those who would rather play with a human opponent will have a number of options to choose from. Players can tweak the number of rounds, the stage (though some need to be unlocked), the difficulty, the amount of HP, loadouts, items, and more. It offers enough to give it some legs, yet is easy to set up for those looking to get started right away. An Online Mode is available, and there is no lag to speak of.

Throughout their time with the game, players will be able to unlock the aforementioned stages for versus, gear, and cards. There is also a leaderboard for each difficulty setting as well, which we enjoyed utilizing during our review period.

Rival Megagun deftly changes up the shmup formula while effortlessly nailing the basics. PVP is a game changer, and while more characters and stages would be welcome, what is here provides a compelling competitive challenge that places an emphasis on both defense and offense.

This review of Rival Megagun was done on the PlayStation 4. A digital code was provided by the publisher.
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