Gunpowder (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 21.08.2015

Review for Gunpowder on PC

It seems when puzzle games come out, which they do almost monthly, they fall into two categories: the "by the books" titles that present players with matching three items together, among other trite conventions (with the exception of games like You Must Build A Boat of course), and the wildly imaginative. Sometimes, the highly imaginative ones are overlooked and sorely rejected on their download venue of choice. Other times, they're heralded as works of pure genius. With any luck, Gunpowder will fall into the latter.

The premise is simple enough: a wiley and wascally varmint has a whole bunch of safes, and the player must blow them up to reclaim the gold inside. The execution is both simple and complex. Gamers must draw lines of gunpowder to explosive barrels, cannons, and other incendiary devices to blow up the safe. Executing this requires drawing the line of gunpowder to the device that it needs to explode. If someone can follow this rather simple logic, instant fun can be had.

The game sports various methods of explosion, but these all seem very humdrum when the execution is considered. Getting the safe to explode quickly goes from a simple "Draw the line here" to complex and well thought-out puzzles hold interest long after the basic mechanics are understood. To paraphrase Edmund McMillen (of Super Meat Boy fame), the best games take one mechanic and find creative ways to use it. Gunpowder does just that.

Screenshot for Gunpowder on PC

Whether it be leaping fire over a river or propelling a mine cart at just the right moment to carry the blaze, everything Gunpowder does right, it does with great prowess. Level complexity can, from time to time, be unbalanced, with a new level being far easier than the previous one. This is all dependent on the player, however, as the extremities of difficulty are never unimaginable. In any case fans should never feel dumb, as the puzzler is loaded with "AHA!" moments.

Replayability comes down to piggy banks, trophies, and in general attempting to level an entire stage with explosives' destructive force. The title seems perfect for mobile platforms, and the collectibles are a decent way to extend its lifespan. They become rather cumbersome over time however, and seem to be outweighed by the constant urge to just finish the level. There's an in-game time to beat, but it's not going to hold attention long enough to see many players reach 100%.

Screenshot for Gunpowder on PC

Graphically, there are some "realistic" textures to the environment, while the characters are drawn as cartoon caricatures of good and evil. While it's completely justifiable to call the environment textures boring and simplistic, they never really draw away from the fun. The fire looks really nice, but it seems to be balancing realism with cartoony. This comes across kind of odd, like half the explosion was created with one art style in mind, and the other half the other art style. Otherwise, the art seems to fit nicely.

The soundtrack is upbeat and well-timed. Hearing the wonky and zany sounds that come when a stage is successfully completed are always a nice reward. There isn't too much in the way of variety, and in general the game sticks to a handful of tracks, usually changing them between world hubs.

As awe-inspiring as the gameplay's genuine ease and enjoyability are, it does have its faults. Drawing a line of gunpowder that lightly nicks a rock will cut the line off from fire, requiring a level restart. As Gunpowder progresses, sometimes the player must determine their entire strategy before setting fires, or risk having to restart the entire level due to clipping a cactus or a boulder.

Screenshot for Gunpowder on PC

Many times, an objective is sorely hidden in the level, leading to less "AHA" and more "oh..." It's the kind of solution where the player shrugs it off not for being too hard, but for being just obtuse. Even when it appears the level's been failed, there can be a little extra something to help gamers along, which feels less like a security blanket and more like a thump on the head. This begs the question, why were some items there at all if getting them served no purpose?

Failure is met with no indication of such, other than the visible stagnancy of the level, which is only a minor annoyance. At the end of the day, it's more of an overlooked feature gamers have become used to than a huge hindrance.

On the tram or bus, sitting at home waiting to pick up the kids or for the pizza to arrive, Gunpowder is an excellent mobile addition to the world of puzzle gaming. It can be enjoyed for 5 minutes or 4 hours. Minor issues bog it down, and leave it on the edge of acute genius. While the puzzles can be picked up and played with ease, it would be ill advised to rush through them. Having to restart a level because of clipping a rock or not fully understanding the layout due to poorly placed or superfluous items is frustrating, and not something that can be overlooked all the time. The game still holds together remarkably, and all indignations aside, is a solid puzzler through and through.

Screenshot for Gunpowder on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Gunpowder stumbles, but finds its way back with grace. Many of these hiccups are largely forgivable, and amount to minor annoyances. When the ball is served and it's time to begin, it's a title that everyone should try. Innovation is not indicative of a good product, but when pulled off, as Gunpowder clearly has done, it's beyond being a good product. Many gamers forget the personal struggles someone goes through to make a game, putting everything they have into it. Fortunately, for developer Rogue Rocket Games, that paid off splendidly.

Developer

Rogue Rocket Games

Publisher

Rogue Rocket Games

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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