A lot of times when playing a game, I wonder where the developer’s idea for the project originally came from. In the case of Gunhouse from Necrosoft Games, that story has been public knowledge for awhile. It is at least partially inspired by a tweet from legendary designer Peter Molydeux1. I use ‘legendary’ only half-jokingly here, as the guy has some rather novel ideas about game design (I’ve favorited a few myself, just as a backup for inspiration).
Gunhouse is quite literally a house made of guns, and you are its caretaker.
And as is prophesied in Molydeux’s tweet, so too does the game follow its instructions to the letter. Gunhouse is quite literally a house made of guns, and you are its caretaker. Not just for the well-armed abode, mind you, but to its inhabitants. Yes, your ‘gunhouse’ just so happens to shelter an orphanage, one that is under siege from all manner of well-drawn invaders that seek to kidnap the children within. Needless to say, this does not sit well with you, and you’re obliged to get all Tower Defense-y on their ass.
Given its platform of choice is the Vita (part of the self-publishing Playstation Mobile lineup), the game is controlled entirely via the touch screen. To build guns, you’re given the Tetris-like assignment of corralling and matching blocks of similar color in order to craft that particular gun. You can equip up to three guns at the front of your house, with a further three special attacks (think ‘area of effect’ blasts) equipped to the rear. If you’re lucky and dexterous, you can build multiple weapons in one go, and generally, the bigger the matching set, the stronger the resulting gun is.
Weapons are more than just a dragon’s fiery breath or vegetable shooter used to take down a pissed-off ice cream cone (seriously)2; they’re part of the strategy in knowing where— and when— to build them. Enemy waves attack at different heights, and levels are split into multi-part ‘days’, with an extended boss battle at the end of each. Choosing your guns for the situation and staying on top of your upgrades (both your weapons and your health can be modified with the cash you earn in battle) is vital stuff, as the game doesn’t play nice once you’ve moved into the latter half of things.
In fact, you can run into some trouble with that challenge, and suffer for it in the randomness of the blocks that drop. Depending on how they settle between waves, it’s entirely possible to go without any nearby pieces to match, with you forced to either rely on weapons already held in reserve, or just wait it out to the next chance. There was also an odd difficulty wall I ran into late on Day 4, where enemies were routinely depleting my health until I was eventually able to save up enough cash to upgrade (pro tip: you can watch the credits an unlimited number of times and earn $100 each viewing).
Though this boils down to minor issues in an otherwise bizarrely-fun game. Crafting and lining up ridiculous armaments to take down similarly-ridiculous enemy types never gets old, especially when you pull off an impressive chain of guns to win the day. Playstation Mobile games, like XBLIGs on Microsoft’s companion indie service, aren’t typically-known for quality offerings, but Gunhouse is a delightful exception that’s worth your time.