[PS5] Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Review

by EdEN, Owner

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider from The Arcade Crew, JoyMasher, Asterisc Game Studio, and Ratalaika Games is an old-school style 2D sidescroller on PS5. Learn more in our Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider review!

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider from The Arcade Crew, JoyMasher, Asterisc Game Studio, and Ratalaika Games is an old-school style 2D sidescroller on PS5. JoyMasher and The Arcade Crew previously gave us the challenging but fun retro-style run ‘n’ gun Blazing Chrome on PlayStation 4. JoyMasher and Digerati also worked on the 2D old-school infused Nintendo Switch action game Odallus: The Dark Call, which pays homage to the classics from the Nintendo Entertainment System era.

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As for Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, after building an army of super soldiers as weapons of war, one of them turns to the side of the oppressed. The ninja warrior known as Moonrider had been created for evil, but it has now rejected its purpose and has set out on a quest of vengeance against its creators and the other supersoldiers that are still part of the regime. The game pays homage to the classics of the 16-bit era, in particular to what the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive could do back in the day. The developers have used pixel art with a limited color palette, using traditional audio recording techniques of the 1990s to bring us a game that faithfully pays homage to the games of ages past. Add tight gameplay mechanics and a pounding soundtrack, and you have a game that is easy to understand but hard to master.

To get a better idea of how to play the game, you should definitely go through its tutorial. Your character will move with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the X button and attacking with the Square button. He can also perform a wall jump by jumping toward a wall and then kicking away from it with the X button. If you jump and press down or down and in a diagonal direction on the left analog stick or the D-Pad while also pressing the Square button, your character will perform a dive kick.

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The Circle button will be for activating one of your special weapons, which you can change by pressing the L2 button. Every time you use a special attack, it will consume some of your MP gauge. If you press and hold down the R2 button, your character will be able to run. This will allow it to perform a dash attack as well as jump over larger gaps. Simple, right? You can also go into the options menu to remap all buttons in case something feels a bit off during your time with Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider.

Once you escape from the Bioweapon Lab facility, which is set as the starting location for the game, you’ll be able to select which stage to take on next. The available options are Fallen City, Lost Ruins, Desalination Facility, Iwondonilo City, Laser Research Base, and Asura’s Fleet. Each level will have its own unique boss to defeat at the end of the road, so you better be ready to put up a fight! Taking on some stages before others can prove to be useful since you might locate a special item in one level that will help you survive in another one.

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You start with the Moonspear special weapon. As you defeat each of the bosses in the game – not counting the one in the Bioweapon Lab – you’ll gain their special weapon, in a nod to the beloved Mega Man series. You’ll get the fast fiery Flamerang, the fast-paced wind-based Stormshoot, or the powerful Geocrash, which will launch energy all around Moonrider as it hits the ground with all of its might.

This is why you should pay attention to all walls as you explore each level in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, because you never know where you can find one that you can destroy with your special weapon to gain access to a secret room. By doing this, you’ll locate one of the many hidden chips that will help to improve your character. You could find an MP Recharge chip that will restore a small amount of MP energy every few seconds, the Bloodlust Chip, which restores some of your HP for every enemy that you defeat, or the Acrobat Chip, which allows Moonrider to perform a second jump. Your character has two slots on which to equip chips, so be sure to mix and match to find the right combination to get the job done.

Trophy-wise, this one has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy for you to work towards. The list includes 2 Bronze trophies, one Silver trophy, and 10 Gold trophies. The objectives to complete are to defeat all of the bosses in the game, complete a stage without taking any damage, complete every level with a B rank or better, complete every level with an A rank or better, complete every level with an S rank, and finding all of the chips in the game.

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Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is a 2D sidescrolling game that pays homage to the 16-bit era of action games. It’s certainly nailed the retro challenge of games from the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive and Super Nintendo Entertainment System era, as well as their look and feel. You can complete the game in around 2-3 hours at most, depending on your experience with 2D action games like this one, but if you want to 100% the game, you’ll need to get good to obtain an S rank on every stage. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is out tomorrow on PlayStation 5 with a $16.99 asking price.

This Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by The Arcade Crew.

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