Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider pulls of its Sega-era 16-bit nostalgia well

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider pulls of its Sega-era 16-bit nostalgia well

Joymasher’s new retro motion match Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider feels ripped from the Significant Sprite era of video clip games, back when Sega boasted that its 16-bit Genesis did what Nintendon’t. It is crafted on the early-’90s assure that even larger was improved, wherever the bad fellas you fought have been a lot more exciting because their loaded, pixelated vastness couldn’t be contained on an previous tube television screen.

Far more exclusively, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is an homage to aspect-scrolling character-motion video games of the era think Sega’s Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Learn or Capcom’s Strider — game titles full of platforms, rails to dangle from, and the occasional stage gimmick. There’s homage layered upon homage below, for just as the 16-bit arcade game titles (and their home port equivalents) blatantly ripped off ’80s Hollywood action cinema like RoboCop and The Working Male, so much too does Joymasher’s new throwback.

Like numerous typical 16-bit Genesis games, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider’s story is paper-skinny. The game’s robotic protagonist, Moonrider, rebels versus its programming as a forcible peacekeeper amid a rebel uprising. Moonrider is a robotic run amok, woke up to the oppression he has been complicit in, and on the hunt for his fellow robot guardians who have been tasked with silencing him.

Moonrider sprints through a wooded level on a platform sandwiched by spikes, facing an enemy ninja and being targeted by a flying humanoid robot in the background

Stages vary from wrecked metropolis streets, to industrial complexes, to remote forests
Graphic: Joymasher/The Arcade Crew

Moonrider’s mission — and the structure of Vengeful Guardian— is related to that of Mega Gentleman game titles. Players can hunt down the other guardians in just about any purchase, buying locations and a robot grasp guardian to acquire down from a simple, but stylishly retro map. Like Mega Person, dispatching a rival guardian will grant Moonrider their particular means. These contain weapons like Hydroshurikens, a whirling quartet of throwing stars, or the Darkportal, which can summon lethal tentacles from, well, dim portals. Moonrider can also explore upgrade chips that grant added armor, a double leap, or a “bloodlust” that restores HP for each individual eliminate. Chips array from the hardcore — the Glass Cannon chip would make Moonrider stronger but he dies from 1 hit — to the beauty — the Chameleon chip allows you edit Moonrider’s color scheme.

Like the 16-bit online games it references, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider moves fluidly but simplistically. Moonrider’s attacks are limited to sword slashes and dive kicks, and he can soar — and wall jump — platform to platform. These moves are bolstered by a dash button that would make Moonrider go from rigid robotic to speedy ninja device, slicing as a result of most enemy grunts with a single slash. There are spike pits and bottomless pits to stay clear of, electrified partitions as well, but none of these environmental hazards are the quick kills they would be in older online games. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is astonishingly modern day and forgiving, thinking of its influences.

Cyborg ninja Moonrider rides on a motorcycle in third-person, behind the back view, while a flying robotic enemy shoots flames at him on a futuristic city highway

Some stages have gimmicks that evoke other Sega classics, like Tremendous Cling-On and Space Harrier
Impression: Joymasher/The Arcade Crew

It is a disgrace, then, that Joymasher has not modernized Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider in various disheartening strategies. For a person, the game’s interface is clunky choosing the enhance chips for a unique mission is confusingly built, and revisiting degrees to grab any remaining electric power-ups is a irritating guessing activity. Alternatively than displaying leftover ability-ups in missions you’ve beaten, Vengeful Guardian simply denotes your mission ranking.

Scoring also feels antiquated and simplistic. Your position on a phase appears to be based primarily on score — seemingly the selection of enemies you have killed — and how long it took to comprehensive a phase. There are no clear combos or score streaks to maintain items intriguing for subsequent playthroughs, making the prospect of making an attempt to S-rank each level all that a lot less attractive.

That is exactly where Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider evokes its inspiration once much more. Just after beating the match, there is minimal left to do but challenge your self to do it again, a lot quicker and far better. Like some of the Sega Genesis classics it aims to recreate, it’s an pleasurable escape for a weekend, but not significantly for a longer time.

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider will be launched on Jan. 13 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows Computer. The match was reviewed on PS5 employing a pre-launch download code provided by The Arcade Crew. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial material, while Vox Media may make commissions for products acquired through affiliate hyperlinks. You can discover extra information and facts about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.