Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Review — A Fun but Imperfect Genesis Throwback

by David Sanchez January 19, 2023 @ 12:30 pm

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Gameplay

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

The Sega Genesis was host to some incredible arcade-like action games. Titles like Streets of Rage and Gunstar Heroes were just two of the console’s shining examples of games that made you feel like you were at the arcade. Obviously, there were countless others, even some that unfortunately fell victim to obscurity. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider from developer JoyMasher is a fun and competent arcade action game that feels like it would’ve been right at home on the Genesis. It’s far from perfect, but there’s plenty of entertainment to be had here.

Cyberpunk Ninja Future

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is set in a dystopian totalitarian future where the government and police force are running roughshod over the citizens. Cyborg supersoldiers are utilized to keep the people in check, but one day, one cyborg rises up to take down the militaristic regime and restore peace back to the people. The story is fine and works to create a cool little cyberpunk hero that you can’t help but cheer on. It all feels like something straight out of a ‘90s game!

Like a lot of the games of that era that Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider emulates, there’s a lot of fast-paced, pixel-heavy action here. The game is a 2D action-platformer, so you’ll spend your time hacking, slashing, dashing, and blasting your way past robotic enemies. Special abilities utilize an energy meter, so you won’t be able to spam your best moves. This creates a nice balance in the combat, which is fair and sometimes pretty challenging.

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Boss Battle

There’s quite a bit of platforming here, too. You won’t just be battling robots. You’ll also be climbing tech facilities and jumping across futuristic cities. It all works well, even though the platforming isn’t necessarily super exciting all the time.

There are even some driving levels in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider. These stages take cues from Mode 7 visuals seen in SNES racing games like F-Zero. Visually, these levels look really cool, and they’re pretty fun overall, even though battling enemies in auto-scrolling faux-3D stages can get annoying at times.

As enjoyable as Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is, it can get a little mindless at times. It’s not a dumb game, but dying and retrying on the tougher areas over and over did get a bit repetitive — and frustrating.


Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Driving Level

The pixel art style used by the game is great. Everything in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, from the level designs to the enemies, is rich with detail. Bosses are large and imposing. Backgrounds are colorful. It all looks great, with a sci-fi vibe showcased throughout. The game’s music is okay, too. It’s not necessarily all that catchy, but it does the trick.

You’ll make your way through Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider in about three hours. It’s not an incredibly lengthy game, but it also doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you’re into it, you can even go back to each level and attempt to get a higher level rank, so there’s that.

It’s fast and fun. It’s not perfect, and the last two stages are especially mindless, but the majority of Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider works really well to provide an experience that would’ve been solid on the Sega Genesis back in the ‘90s.

Score: 7 out of 10

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