The original Gunbird, among a lot of other Japanese shoot ’em ups by Psikyo, have been brought to the Nintendo Switch by none other than Zerodiv. It was only a matter of time before they brought the sequel, Gunbird 2, to the console as well. Of course, it could only be a good thing; I quite enjoyed these games whenever I got the opportunity to review them and Gunbird 2 is no exception.
Not unlike the first, Gunbird 2 has little premises for each of its playable characters. They seek out a goal for themselves but there is an overarching theme behind them: desire for a magic potion. These warriors are challenged to head on a quest to find the three powerful elements of Sun, Moon and Stars. Whoever brings the elements to the Potion God will be rewarded the legendary Almighty Potion and all its magical powers.
While not aesthetically different from its predecessor, Gunbird 2 still packs a visual wallop when it comes to the kinds of things seen onscreen. It’s slightly nullified by the fact that 1/3 of the arcade monitor’s resolution takes up the Switch’s screen in horizontal view, but it’s nevertheless enticing to see projectiles and explosions fly. The giant bosses also never cease to amaze.
Frankly, a lot of the game’s OST is repetitive. It uses a lot of the same beats in the stages taking place around the world. The melody itself doesn’t feel like it provides enough impact to fit the intense shooting action going on. It comes off more like something that could be part of Mega Man 8‘s soundtrack, but only barely making the cut. The sound effects are more gratifying, with punchy gunfire and enthusiastic character voice samples occupying this portion of the sound department.
As can be expected by this point, Gunbird 2 is late ’90s shoot ’em up bliss. In an elaborate series of levels, you can expect to dodge gunfire, shoot at all sorts of enemies, and power up your character in satisfyingly ridiculous fashions. There are also secondary attacks you could use to wipe the screen of enemies or deal significant damage to bosses. It’s the works really, but Gunbird 2 is a good case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s simply good fun while it lasts, and it is no less helped by the very well-polished assets that accompany the action-packed style of play.
If you’ve had fond memories playing this one on the Dreamcast back in the day or are just looking for a fun arcade game to play on the Switch, Gunbird 2 is well worth picking up from the eShop. While the music could have been better, everything else is as sound as you could hope for a game of its genre.
Review copy provided by Zerodiv