Sometimes I’m an easy man to please. I see a dog with a gun, going after cats, pigs and bears and I am immediately intrigued. It is just a shame that Thunder Paw doesn’t have any specific character or gameplay traits to make it stand out beyond its initial premise.
Thunder Paw is an extremely generic 2D action adventure. Each level sees you clearing the level of every enemy to then make the exit open. The levels aren’t huge and they take place over five different worlds. The main thing that you’ll need to get used to is that each gun has a recoil that pushes your character backwards slightly. This doesn’t make a difference early on but as platforms get smaller, you’ll need to watch your step or you’ll blast yourself off the ledges. Strangely, this extra quirk means that the game also feels a bit stop/start.
Whilst the jumping and paltforming is adequate, it never tests much of the player. The worlds do add in some variables as the ice lets you slip and the factor has some conveyor belts but again, it is very basic and simplistic. The gunning is also a bit of a non-event. You can pick up other guns from your standard shooter and they do have different trajectories but I found myself switching between the starter gun and the wobbly bubble which would help you in tight vertical spots. You collect gems from enemies to power up your gun and its implied your guns strength increases by doing this. I could not see any difference at all and it didn’t seem to affect the ammo amounts either so I beg the question – why am I even collecting these crystals to begin with?
By being entirely inoffensive and unengaging, I was then surprised that the boss levels seemed to initially be a bit tricky to conquer. Then I realised that each boss can be ‘cheesed’ by standing on the edge of screens and avoiding most of their fire. This principle applies to most of the game sadly and so it all becomes a bit of a slog. The game does handle just as well on the Vita and as it does on the PS4 though so that’s something. The platinum can be reached in under and hour with ease and only asks you to complete the first two worlds. I progressed on but found enemies slightly reskinned and a bit more aggressive but that was it.
Thunder Paw is the definition of serviceable. Nothing more. Nothing less.