In Rival Megagun, many years ago, a mysterious alien race, the Harvesters, emerged from the black gulfs of outer space. Approaching the Earth with hostile intent, Earth’s defense forces engaged the enemy but were soon decimated in rapid succession, due to the unique talent of the Harvesters. The Harvesters have blockaded the Earth. With resources dwindling and over-population, Earth’s hope lies not within a special weapons program or secret military unit, but a reality-TV game show, where the world’s best pilots will compete, but the winner will be the one who will save the Earth.
This is Rival Megagun, from Degica Games and Spacewave Software. With a unique take on spaceship shooting and competitive gameplay, Rival Megagun is a triumphant realization of a new idea. Spaceship shooters are wildly popular, due to their ability to provide instant action, tight gameplay, and a solid challenge. Each game involves the typical formula: Fight waves upon waves of enemies across various zones while slaying incredibly challenging bosses. Rival Megagun changes this formula considerably with the introduction of PvP focused combat infused with classic spaceship shooting.
Players choose one of several pilots, each with their own ship and unique combat attributes. Some of the characters include a female cyborg hacker, a pro video game streamer, and a former evil genius hellbent on world domination. Upon choosing their ship, you take off to engage the other players in an attempt to become Earth’s mightiest hero.
Rival Megagun has the players along with a split-screen, like a fighting game. The objective is to shoot enemies and build chains. To do this, you engage a large variety of harvester targets, building this change. As they build this chain, they will be able to automatically teleport combat drones to the other side, further hindering the player. Additionally, the chains build the special attack meter. Players can use this special attack to launch deadly weapons, from laser walls to a cluster of missiles. If the meter is set to maximum, that can initiate a spaceship transformation.
This is the ultimate attack, as your ship will transform, then teleport to the other side to attack. In a sense, you become a big boss, attacking the rival player, using an array of devastating attacks. Despite the overwhelming firepower, it is possible to survive this attack and destroy a transformed opponent. In a way, Rival Megagun is about causing as much stress and pressure to your opponent, because there is only so much oncoming fire that a pilot can take before they slip up.
Rival Megagun is a blast to play and it blazes a trail with its innovation. I have never played another spaceship shooter like this before. Fighting your opponent through chains and gunship transformations is quite exciting and rewarding. This is accompanied by a stellar presentation that is reminiscent of the wildly detailed and animated designs of the 16-bit era. As I player Rival Megagun, I couldn’t help but be reminded of similar spaceship shooter on the SNES and Sega Genesis. In addition to great gameplay, the soundtrack by Dominic Ninmark is also incredible.
My only gripe with Rival Megagun is the roster of characters and stages. I feel like there could have been more characters and stages added in the future. Perhaps even several campaigns dealing with each character and how they became the pilots that they are. Additionally, a boss rush or endless wave mode would’ve been a nice addition. However, Rival Megagun has some replayability, including online matchmaking and a versus mode, as well as several difficulties for the arcade mode.
Rival Megagun falls just a bit short of a total triumph, but it is nonetheless a great game with innovative mechanics that works. Its gameplay is refreshing, its concept is intriguing, and its presentation is sharp. I’ve always said that video games could use more spaceship shooters out there, and I hope Rival Megagun sparks a new return for the genre for more gamers to experience in this generation.
Rival Megagun is currently available on Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Rival Megagun falls just a bit short of a total triumph, but it is nonetheless a great game with an innovative mechanics that works. Its gameplay is refreshing, its concept is intriguing, and its presentation is sharp.