Lots of Guns
January 13, 2012 1 Comment
I’m so over these climber games that are saturating the market. Maybe they fit in better on phones where they serve to kill five minutes while you’re waiting for a bank teller or the test results on if that really was blood in your stool or red dye from Christmas cookies. But on a console? They feel out-of-place. Granted, most of the ones I’ve played for Indie Gamer Chick have each been successful in its own way. There was Who Is God, which successfully married the genre to techno-style graphics and addictive online leaderboards. There was Meep 2, which successfully made a child-friendly version of the genre for console players. Finally, there was Niji, which was so bad that it successfully helps control the pet population by causing any puppies in the nearby vicinity to fall down dead.
I think the major problem with them is they have a very short shelf life. Even when they have online leaderboards, I’m not really compelled to go back and replay these titles. But they’re fun for a day if nothing else, and Lots of Guns is no exception to that. The gimmick here is that every 30 seconds, give or take, you reach a barrier that switches the type of gun you have. As the title implies, there is a wide variety weapons, all with varying degrees of usefulness. The guns are used to attack a large assortment of baddies who rain down from the top of the screen. The actual tower you’re climbing is pretty straight forward: ledge in the middle, then two ledges on the side, then repeat. There’s no variation on this, which is a bit of a downer because it quickens the game’s progression towards staleness even faster than what is normal for a climber. It’s like the game has that disease from the movie Jack, only it’s funnier because Robin Williams isn’t in it.
There’s three modes here. The first is climb as high as you can get. The second is climb as high as you can get. The third is climb as high as you can get. Okay, so the second mode is the same as the first, only it’s called Auto-Scroll and the screen scrolls up automatically. Which it actually does in the first mode too. Yes, the game is faster in the second mode, but so what? Why couldn’t mode one be called “easy” or “normal” and mode two be called “hard?” This is an annoying trait I’ve noticed with indie developers of all walks. They have to get cute when it comes to naming their game modes. Don’t do this. For every person who gets a very mild laugh out of it, there will be two players who never bother playing past the demo. I get that your average indie developer prides himself on being a non-conforming, pretentious ass, but just think of how much non-conforming you can do in your day-to-day life if your game actually makes money. Money does buy a lot of non-conformity. I hear the FortressCraft guys don’t even need to shower anymore.
Oh, and the third mode is zombie mode. Because, by fucking God almighty, every Xbox Live Indie Game has got to have zombies in it. Zombie mode has nothing at all to do with zombies. Here, you get no guns and only one life. It’s the same assortment of enemies as before and the same sterile tower to climb. I actually did have fun with this mode as well, but I had already tried the “no shooting” thing in the previous game. Sometimes you’ll go stretches where the guns it gives you at random are not so useful. After this happened to me a few times, I declared to Brian that I wouldn’t shoot the guns anymore because all they did was distract me. This was followed about two seconds later by me saying “oooh, minigun” and abandoning that strategy.
Overall, Lots of Guns is fun while it lasts. It’s got charming retro graphics and smooth play control. However, it is lacking things that would extend it’s shelf life. There’s no online leaderboards, no multiplayer options, and no incentive to keep playing after more than an hour. I could see a reason to go on if the game guaranteed that you would only get the “fun” guns after having climbed so many feet, but that’s not the case. When you reach the point where you switch guns, there’s always two options of which gun you will trade. Sometimes it’s tough to choose, like picking between the awesome firecrackers or an automatic rocket launcher. Other times, the game pulls a dick move by having one side be the wimpy handgun and the other side be the utterly useless landmines. There is a third option: kill yourself and then respawn above the gun stations with whatever weapon you were carrying still in your possession.
Maybe Stegersaurus thought the game would too easy if you got nothing but useful weapons late in the game. My response would be this: who cares? With no leaderboards or competitive multiplayer experience, it’s of no consequence to anyone if your character gets overpowered. The game will stop being fun in about an hour anyway. Loading a player up with power weapons might have extended that by an hour or two. In the end, Lots of Guns is like a video game porno: you use it for ten minutes, have a lot of fun, and then regret spending your money on it immediately afterwards.
80 Microsoft Points worked that porno reference in there just to annoy Steg in the making of this review.