Parents' Guide to

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

By Dwayne Jenkins, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Violent, bloody action side-scroller is flawed, but fun.

Vengeful Guardian Cover

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Though it has some notable issues, this game's fun enough to almost get away with its shortcomings. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is a clear homage to Mega Man and other 16-bit games of the SNES generation. There are eight different levels, each with various gimmicks and environments that make each one stand out from the rest. For those familiar with Mega Man and its mechanics, you'll recognize that feeling of reaching the end of a challenging level and facing a boss – one that serves as the ultimate test to see if you understood the nuances of what came before or not. After beating them, you gain one of their abilities, which can help players out in case they were bested by the other levels and need something of an equalizer for their troubles. It's also rewarding to accidentally come across a power module, which are perks you can equip to make Moonrider stronger – or increase your mobility. But the game still has obstacles that bring it down quite a bit.

For one, the difficulty. While it should have a steep difficulty curve like the games that inspired it, there are many instances where Moonrider is "unfair." Enemies will shoot you from many different directions, and while Moonrider has some moves hidden up his mechanical sleeve, a dedicated dodge button would've made the constant barrage of enemy fire more satisfying to deal with. There are also times when the game feels unpolished, such as misspellings in the text-based dialogue and the pacing of the story. The game introduces characters and tries to wrap up their stories the next time you see them, pushing the illusion of interesting character development without doing any legwork to get players interested. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider falls short of greatness by a few notches, but for those yearning for a game that can be beaten in about two hours – and mastered with an investment of many more – with a trip down memory lane containing loads of visual style to spare, this will certainly be right up your alley.

Game Details

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