Gunpey DS (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 15.04.2007 6

Gunpei Yokoi is most known for being the man behind the Game Boy, but before he died in a tragic accident he also created another portable system called the WonderSwan for Bandai many moons ago. Paying homage to the legend himself, the company developed a music-based puzzle game that ultimately never quite struck home with the audience that owned the system. But now, along with help from Q Entertainment (the team behind Lumines and Meteos), Bandai Namco has dragged Gunpey back from the dead for release on both the PSP and DS. The question is, does this DS version deserve to receive more attention this time round?

Presentation definitely seems the be one of the main draws of this particular game, with mention of the music element adorning the front cover and large, brightly coloured characters almost literally jumping out at your face. However, sadly the over exuberant visuals detract from the main game considerably, something that definitely should not be the case with a highly intense action puzzle game. Things can became confusing enough as they are without the need for swirling colours and frankly annoying characters distracting you from the main on-screen action. As for the music element, whilst it all sounds very nice it is hardly the spectacular aural experience you might be led to believe. Instead it proves to be purely functional in the main game, although very pleasing when it comes to the (limited) music-editing mode that is included.

Screenshot for Gunpey DS on Nintendo DS

The basic idea behind the game is to line up five lines in a row to make them disappear. You start up a new game and are faced with five columns, with lines appearing from the bottom in each separate column, moving slowly up the grid layout one grid space at a time. Every line is slightly different in shape and your task is to match one end of one line to another line in the next column, then the next again, until you form a full chain across all five columns. You match these all up by dragging lines up and down vertically until chains are completed...and that is about it. The game sounds simple and, sadly, it most definitely is. Addictive in some ways, yes, but it all proves to be too overly simplistic and ultimately limited.

When playing against a computer opponent in the bare bones story mode (in other words there is no real story, you are just pitted against various easily forgettable computer-controlled adversaries), there is hardly any time to look at the top screen to check on their progress as you are busily attempting to set up chains as quickly as possible, thus preventing the lines from reaching the top of your screen and thus leaving you with only defeat to your name. It must be pointed out that there are only four types of lines on offer during play, two that point diagonally upwards in a left or right direction and two that form a v-shape, one pointing up, the other down. When lines appear in each of the five columns it is a complete breeze to make chains and thus the game's challenge becomes redundant, as it is a matter of just biding your time and clearing the grid until the computer inevitably loses. This leads to you most likely getting through the first difficulty level in less than an hour...maybe even just half an hour if you get combination chains.

Screenshot for Gunpey DS on Nintendo DS

Yes, combination chains...a blessing and yet a curse at the same time. When a chain is created, the completed line flashes for a few seconds, allowing you to quickly add appropriate shaped lines to this flashing chain and keep the chain enclosed (meaning all edges must either be touching the flashing chain or outside wall). Sadly, though, it all becomes very hit and miss as you rapidly scramble to randomly flick lines at the flashing chain before times runs out. In doing this, you will probably mess up a nice chain you had lined up lower down the screen...Another annoyance is how the only real problem that arises and may cause you to lose the game is when nothing appears in one particular column for a long time. So it is not exactly a challenge anymore, as you are just waiting for anything to turn up in the empty column before anything can continue. It feels like the computer is cheating just to make the game last longer.

Screenshot for Gunpey DS on Nintendo DS

Also, when moving a line up or down it does not skip over another line. Instead it pushes that line out of the way, meaning once you have positioned that line, you must go back and reposition the previous one. It is such a small thing, yet causes much frustration during play. All of this is sounding quite negative, right? Well, the game does have the old puzzle edge that keeps you addicted to some degree, but sadly it does not hold a candle to other great efforts that have been released on the DS, with examples being Mitchell's duo of Polarium and actionloop, and even Q Entertainment's own Meteos! Luckily the game improves during (single-card!) multiplayer and the separate music-editing mode redeems matters a little bit, but not enough to recommend this for a full

Screenshot for Gunpey DS on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


This is definitely a game where presentation cannot save what is certainly a fun, yet ultimately highly limited puzzle game. Gunpey never struck the right cord with gamers when originally released and now it fails to deserve to win new crowds. Moderate fun, but there are already so many great DS puzzle games this will no doubt fade without as much as a blip on the radar...




Namco Bandai





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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   


Shame, I had my eye on this, but I don't think I'll be paying full price for it. Nice one Adam. :Smilie

I think waiting for Meteos: Disney Edition is probably a better bet...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I think I'll pass on that too, I already have the original!

Nothing beats the homebrew Spouts.nds
:p <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Never heard of it...I'll have to check it out. The puzzle game to watch is Picross DS, which is out next month. Damn good game!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I had some hopes for this game, o well.

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