Retro in the new school: Heveanly Guardian (Wii)
Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2
single and Co-Op modes
E for everyone
UFO Interactive Games
December 20, 2007
Shoot em up
3.5 out of 5 stars, Fun game play with a few obvious needs of improvement.
In Heavenly Guardian, you play as winter spirit Sayuki. Unlike the rest of these magical beings, Sayuki seeks the companionship of humans and is known to come down from her mountain keep and watch over the village at the base of the mountain, Sayuki has grown particularly fond of a certain boy. On her latest trip to the humble village she over hears the conversation of two school girls. Her love has fallen under a curse, she knows how to cure him, but the ingredients for her potion are obtained by defeating ghost, mummies and possessed snow men. Sayuki sets off on an adventure to save her forbidden love. This game started off as a sequel to the SNES game ”Pocky and Rocky” and it is very obvious, with the top down shooter aspects and the very Japanese influence, it’s almost like they switched out the main character sprites last-minute and slapped a McGuffin collecting story on the game box.
Heavenly Guardian is a side scrolling shoot em up, with a very Japanese flavor to it. It uses a lot ancient Japan lore and items (you gain strength by collecting rice balls!). You have a handful of different types of projectile which balance very well with the game play. Spread shot, that covers a lot of ground but is not to fast at firing, rapid fire projectile that goes farther than the rest , but covers very little ground and my least favorite ,the homing shot, which hits every time but makes half as much damage as the rest of them. So pick a favorite and stick with it, because you collect gems of the same power up and it levels up your weapon of choice. So don’t go picking up gems willy-nilly because you might go back to the weakest version of your least favorite projectile. Along with your magical arsenal you have the help of your trusted snow bunny that shoot s a freezing shot in which ever way you are shooting. You also have a dash attack that turns you into a ball of snow that does damage to enemies it tramples.
You have free range on-screen and can choose whatever direction you want to go. The game has several different ways to get to the end of the level and some secret paths that are full of power ups, multipliers, health and sometimes a few 1-ups. It’s also nice to explore a very colorful environment , that seems ripped straight out of the glory days of the Super Nintendo. The enemies are very well paced, they come at you in increasing waves but you are well prepared for whats coming next, with the exception of the rush mode. When you get to the check points of the level, you are rushed by vast hordes of enemies in the style of Smash T.V ,this allows for power up collecting and combo multipliers that allow you to rack up points. The boss fight are just as exciting, with huge and creative characters you must defeat and retrieve the items you need to save your beloved. Heavenly Guardian allows you to shoot in every direction using the joystick an d buttons but you also have the option of using the Wiimote to shoot directly on the screen regardless of which way Sayuki is facing. Honestly, I prefer the button scheme better but the Wiimote control was not broken, I just prefer the former.
Heavenly Guardian over all is a very fun game to pick up and play, specially in the Co-Op mode, but the lack of a save function and at times repetitive game play and music does not allow me to give it a better score. The lack of a save is a very small gripe with me, being the retro vet that I am, this is nothing new to me. A very short game, but the arcade mode, Boss rush and co-op modes will have you coming back again and again. recommended to all retro gamers, I got my copy at a major retail game store *wink-wink* for under two dollars. So skip out on that bag of chips and soda and pick up Heavenly Guardian, it would be good for your health.