We’re not far off the February 12 release of Inti Creates’ Gal*Gun Returns now — have you preordered your Birthday Suit Edition yet? If not, click here to do that right now. Or if you need some more convincing, there’s a PC demo of Gal*Gun Returns going live on Steam at 6pm GMT tonight — get in quick, though, ’cause it’s only available until February 9 as part of the Steam Game Festival!
Perhaps you are a person of culture and have already preordered Gal*Gun, however, and you’re waiting impatiently for February 12 to arrive. If that’s the case, you might want to take some time to check out these seven great Inti Creates games to keep yourself occupied in the meantime! Many of them will be available with some nice discounts during the Steam Game Festival, so check in this evening and see what bargains you can grab.
Gal*Gun Double Peace
While this is technically the second game in the Gal*Gun series and a direct sequel to the original Gal*Gun, it was the first to come west thanks to the sterling efforts of Inti Creates’ Matt Papa and our friends at PQube.
In Gal*Gun Double Peace, originally released in 2016, you take on the role of Houdai, a young man who gets hit by an angel’s arrow that is accidentally significantly more powerful than it was supposed to be, making him irresistible to the opposite sex.
Great, you might say, but there’s a catch — if Houdai doesn’t find his true love by the time the sun goes down, he’ll be alone forever! Thus begins a highly entertaining adventure to find true love, uncover some mysteries about Houdai’s classmates, and figure out what to do about one HELL of a naughty little devil.
Gal*Gun Double Peace features a delightful blend of first-person rail shooter action with visual novel-style storytelling and stat-building dating sim gameplay. With multiple narrative routes, tons of unlockables and a huge cast of characters you can date, this is a game that will keep you busy for a good while — and just the ticket to get you in the mood for Gal*Gun Returns!
Following the seemingly never-ending trend of video game franchises being unable to count, Gal*Gun 2, originally released in 2018, is the third game in Inti Creates’ Gal*Gun series. And it offers a markedly different experience from both Gal*Gun Double Peace and Gal*Gun Returns.
This time around, you enter the world of Gal*Gun as “yourself” in an attempt to help the angel Risu meet the demon-busting quotas she’s been set by the Angel Ring Company in Heaven. To that end, Risu supplies you with a pair of Pheromone Goggles and a Demon Sweeper appliance; unfortunately, wearing the former has the side-effect of — you guessed it — making you irresistible to the opposite sex, so you’ll have to fend off the unwanted attentions of your thirsty classmates while helping Risu with her investigations.
Rather than unfolding as a light gun-style shooter, Gal*Gun 2 instead adopts a first person shooter-style approach where you move your entire viewpoint around to take out your “enemies”. In fact, there’s even a full VR mode available for the PC version for maximum immersion!
Like its predecessor, Gal*Gun 2 offers plenty of longevity through collecting the entire cast’s phone numbers and profiles; by interacting with them one-on-one, you’ll even be able to enjoy some rather intimate doki-doki time with them!
Mighty Gunvolt Burst
Can’t get enough Gal*Gun? Well, how about playing as some of its most iconic characters — along with a number of other Inti Creates stars — in an 8-bit style side-scrolling platformer? This game is even known as Gal*Gunvolt Burst on PlayStation 4; despite the name difference, it’s the exact same game.
In Mighty Gunvolt Burst, your chosen character is sucked into a video game and must fight their way out through several challenging stages, defeating several of the Mighty Numbers (from Mighty No. 9) and Adepts (from the Gunvolt series) along the way.
As you progress in Mighty Gunvolt Burst, you’ll unlock a huge variety of customisation options that allow you to tweak and customise the way the game plays to your heart’s content. Fancy huge shots that bend upwards and explode into pieces when they hit a wall? Go right ahead. After a challenge? Give yourself tiny shots that disappear after 0.2 seconds and increase the damage you take with every hit from an enemy. The options you choose will affect your score; make the game easier for yourself and you’ll get a lower score; ramp up the challenge and those top ranks will be within reach.
The flexibility of the Mighty Gunvolt Burst experience is what makes it so appealing, and it’s backed up by solid gameplay and gorgeous presentation. This is one of Inti Creates’ best games — and for Gal*Gun fans, you can play as Ekoro in the base game or, with DLC, Kurona and Gal*Gun Returns’ protagonist Tenzou (with the angel Patako in tow to help out).
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is available on PC via Steam, on Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch, and on PS4 (as Gal*Gunvolt Burst). Limited Run Games did a boxed copy with all DLC included a while back, but this is unfortunately sold out now; you might find one on eBay if you’re lucky (and/or willing to pay exorbitant prices).
Blaster Master Zero
There are two Blaster Master Zero games; the first is Inti Creates’ loving recreation of Sunsoft’s classic NES game with some additional narrative content and extra levels, while Blaster Master Zero 2 is a direct follow-up to the first game. If you’ve never played these, they’re super-fun combinations of side-scrolling platformer and top-down dungeon-crawling shoot ’em up, with tons of weapons and powerups to collect as you progress.
Both games are great examples of Inti Creates’ talent for “enhanced retro” games — they adopt the audio-visual aesthetic of classic 8-bit console titles, but with solid technical performance and modern enhancements that we never had access to back in the day. In other words, the Blaster Master Zero games look like how we would like to remember NES games looking, rather than how they actually looked.
The PC version of Blaster Master Zero features guest appearances from WayForward’s Shantae and Yacht Games’ Shovel Knight via DLC in its “EX character” mode, while the Switch and PS4 versions also allow you to play as Inti Creates’ own Ekoro from Gal*Gun and Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt. Blaster Master Zero 2, meanwhile, offers Copen from the Gunvolt series and the Empress from Dragon Marked for Death as DLC characters on all platforms, along with a peculiar “Kanna Raising Simulator” minigame.
Blaster Master Zero and its sequel are available on Steam, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. The first Blaster Master Zero is also available on 3DS. As with Mighty Gunvolt Burst, Limited Run Games did a packaged version with all DLC included a while back, but this is, sadly, sold out now.
Azure Striker Gunvolt
While Mighty Gunvolt Burst and Blaster Master Zero represented Inti Creates paying loving homage to the 8-bit console era, the three Gunvolt games are heavily inspired by the 16-bit age, offering some beautifully rich pixel art graphics with stunning, smooth animation and gloriously ludicrous special effects.
While most people initially think they bear an uncanny resemblance to the Mega Man X games, the Gunvolt titles soon distinguish themselves with unique mechanics that you’ll need to take the time to master, some fantastically choreographed boss fights, plus a highly customisable equipment system that encourages you to play in different ways. And the whole experience of each game is wrapped in an extraordinarily well-realised narrative universe that each new game will leave you dying to find out a bit more about.
And while these are tough games, the latest releases of them provide a suite of options to make the experience a bit more accessible, even to side-scrolling newbies. The Gunvolt pros can still take on the games with their harshest penalties for making mistakes, but the newcomers can still have an enjoyable time, perhaps building up their confidence for future installments (or second playthroughs!) in the process.
The Gunvolt series consists of Azure Striker Gunvolt, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 and Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. They’re available on PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch and PS4. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is also available on Xbox One. The first two Gunvolt games were originally released for 3DS.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
When Koji Igarashi announced he would be bringing back the “Igavania” formula with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, people were excited. But something just as exciting came alongside the “main” game — Inti Creates taking on the classic, linear 8-bit Castlevania format in their own inimitable “enhanced retro” style.
The two Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon games, like Blaster Master Zero and Mighty Gunvolt Burst before them, represent Inti Creates paying loving homage to the NES era while incorporating modern gameplay conventions and technical features. The result is two absolutely fabulous side-scrolling platformers that offer a stiff challenge — both in terms of simply navigating the levels, and then taking on the powerful bosses that await you at various milestones on your journey.
Offering multiple playable characters and several different ways to play, the two Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon games will provide just what fans of old-school Castlevania have been hungering for — deliberately paced platforming, combat with real weight to it, and a game experience that is perfectly willing to chew you up and spit you out if you don’t put in the practice!
Dragon Marked for Death
Dragon Marked for Death combines Inti Creates’ talent for smooth, slick, retro-style presentation with a substantial RPG-inspired game structure. Offering players the opportunity to take on the role of a variety of different characters — each of whom plays very differently to all the others — Dragon Marked For Death challenges you to complete a series of side-scrolling action RPG quests to find loot, beat up fearsome enemies and gradually work your way through an epic storyline.
Unlike most of Inti Creates’ other work, Dragon Marked For Death has a strong emphasis on online cooperative play, and as such has received a significant number of post-launch updates to improve game balance, expand the available content for players to enjoy and generally keep the game interesting and relevant for as long as possible. Don’t worry, though; the game is still perfectly playable solo — though certain classes, such as the Witch, are much easier to play if you have a meat shield or two backing you up!
As a substantial action RPG clearly intended to be played over the long term, Dragon Marked For Death arguably doesn’t have quite the same immediacy as some of Inti Creates’ other titles, but it’s well worth taking the time to get to know this one. It’s a game filled with satisfying and unusual mechanics, beautiful pixel art and some wonderfully designed encounters to take on.
Dragon Marked for Death is available for PC via Steam, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Rather peculiarly, the Switch digital version is available in two separate packs which contain two character classes each; there’s also a physical Switch release that contains the whole game (minus post-launch patches) on one cart.
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