A game by Shocknights Studio (Currently in beta)
Hi there, browsing the web for some new and upcoming indie games in development I came across something that looked extremely promising. Gunplay was described as a similar game to MegaMan, so I just had to get it downloaded and jump in for a play around.
Now there are things about Gunplay that have a lot of potential. The first thing that you are struck by is the soundtrack. The music in this game starts off by giving a very futuristic and ambient atmosphere, and really makes it feel like true sci fi should; eerily other-worldly. When you enter the tutorial you are presented by a first look at the graphic style and the way the game works. Gunplay is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, reminiscent of old NES games. The artwork is very standard sci fi and the un-named protagonist is designed similarly to a less colourful Megaman. When running through the tutorial, Gunplay doesn’t really give us anything to go off in regards to story, and no scene is set apart from how to actually play the game. Unfortunately, this is something that seems to be relative to the entire game. The main issue with the game is that there doesn’t seem to be any actual reason to be there apart from running around the small amount of levels like a headless robot and shooting anything you see. This factor of Gunplay is the main thing that makes the game very unplayable after about 20 minutes of play time.
Don’t get me wrong, the game IS still in beta, and hopefully the devs will try and integrate some kind of purpose for us to actually play this game. As it stands, a game that originally starts off as an interesting looking bit of classic, sci-fi boss killing, platform jumping fun, ends up becoming a player sitting there questioning the reason they are in there in the first place.
The actual setting of the game, in regards to music, background art and design seems like it has the capacity to be a lot of fun. There are a lot of different weapons to choose from and there are several different AI enemies that all work in different ways. Certain weapons will kill certain enemies better than others, so it is the players choice of what weapons to fight with (although this isn’t actually made very clear). The game in general could be a lot of fun for those of us that grew up on classic games like Metroid, if only it had some kind of back story and purpose. The environment seems to be some kind of underwater facility, filled with soldiers of some sort as well as several kinds of automatons and droids, which personally I think is a brilliant idea. The downside is that for one thing, we don’t know what our character is called, nevermind where we are or why we are fighting. Imagination is a great thing to have as a gamer, but I feel that Shocknights need to give us as the player a little bit more to go off.
How easy was it for me to get WITHIN the game? Not very. I started off liking what I saw from Gunplay and when I entered the ‘Gauntlet’ level, the music kicked up to a fast paced drum ‘n’ bass track and the difficulty increased tenfold, which I actually really enjoyed. But after around 30 minutes of play time my attention seriously began to die when I realised that I didn’t particularly understand what the point in me playing really was. There didn’t seem to be any kind of ‘end-game’, and if there was, it really wasn’t laid out very well. Playing a video game is a time investment given by the player, and I really struggled to invest any more time than was necessary to write a fair review. What began as an enjoyable experience swiftly became a chore.
As I’ve noted, the game is in beta, and really does have potential to be a good bit of fun for the bored employee that wants a nice little fast paced platformer with plenty of action, but at the moment Gunplay is seriously lacking depth.
Soundtrack: 8/10 – The soundtrack used in the game is not extremely varied but it’s perfect for the environment and the style the game is trying to achieve, so I’d love to see this unchanged.
Gameplay: 2/10 – The game is very easy to play through and at times I didn’t even need to kill any enemies, I could just walk past them. Without a sense of direction and purpose this game isn’t very enjoyable after the first 10 minutes.
Style: 6/10 – The art style is quite linear but it is well developed for the kind of game that Gunplay is attempting to be. With a bit of differentiation in level design, the game can visually be really pleasing.
Final WTG evaluation:
Don’t just take my word for it though, if you guys want to give the game a go, here are the links;
https://sites.google.com/site/gunplay334/download – Select the most up to date version, and reply to this review and let me know YOUR thoughts on the game.
Bare in mind, as the game is still in beta there a few bugs that need ironing out still, so let the devs know of any that you notice! You can leave feedback via their website.