Gunscape is a nostalgic first person shooter from Blowfish Studios and reminded me of classic games like Quake, Duke Nukem and Doom. The game has a retro visual aesthetic design that attempts to capture the original essence and passion that these fast paced games used to offer.
Gunscape not only takes inspiration from classic shooters but also has some clear similarities to games like Minecraft, due to the fact that you can build your own experiences. The visual appearance of the game goes for a purposeful retro feel that harkens back to games of the 90’s. Gunscape not only offers a campaign but also gives you the chance to experiment and craft your own chaotic levels if you wish to do so.
I started out by playing through the campaign, which is short but is fun enough and designed to give you ideas and inspiration for your own creations. I have to say that the enemies you face are extremely varied from flying beasts, Nazi-esque enemies, dinosaurs and other weird creatures. The enemies look blocky and low-res, but this is an intentional design choice. The game sees you making your way through a series of increasingly complex environments like laboratories, prisons and ancient ruins. The game doesn’t have much of a story and only lasts a couple of hours, but that’s all that is needed to introduce the gameplay mechanics and options for creativity.
The controls are simple and easy to grasp straight from the get go. Many shooters these days are becoming more and more complex with multiple modes, button configurations and added abilities, like in games such as Call of Duty. Gunscape feels much more refined and straight to the point like classic FPS games. If you have never played a shooter, then this is an easy game to pick up and a great point of entry, as it does a good job of showing how the genre first began. The maps are well designed and had just enough variety to make me want to explore. The game encourages exploration as it rewards you by finding better weapons like machine guns and rocket launchers.
Gunscape has a good amount of weapons to find and use to take out the enemies. You can find guns, bows, knives and grenades to blast your way through the various enemy types. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a narrative as this is severely lacking during during the campaign. There are terminals placed throughout the environments that offer small snippets of dialogue, but not enough to feel like a fully fledged story.
The main draw of Gunscape is the creation aspect and it actually has a decent amount of depth and plenty of objects to use as you wish. You start out in a completely empty area, with four blocks, four spawn points to get you going. At first it seems a bit overwhelming and I was unsure where it start, so I recommend you think about how levels in the campaign were laid out or even think about what makes you love the stages in games you like. It may feel daunting at first but its easy to quickly switch items and change things around. You can also mix up visual styles, as well as enemies, switches and weapons. The creation tools give you a great deal of freedom to explore what you can craft and it encourages you to do so.
Creating decent stages takes patience and practice, and it shows just how tricky it can actually be to not only craft a level that works but also feels enjoyable to play. If you don’t have the patience or time to make your own stages you can simply try out maps that other players have made, much like games such as Little Big Planet or Mario Maker.
The customisation options are vast and easy to play around with, and you can easily spend a lot of time building and tweaking aspects of your design. For me I spent a bit of time creating some stages but overall I preferred simply trying out what other people had made. Gunscape has so much replayability and is a great game that can be played with friends. I can see the appeal of making levels and then seeing your friends playing through them
The presentation of the game isn’t visually outstanding but its design is purposely nostalgic and does a great job of capturing the essence of classic FPS titles. I wouldn’t go into this game expecting an experience that modern day shooters have to offer nor does the game offer a campaign with huge depth. I would recommend this game if you used to play classic shooters, want that nostalgic hit or you’re new to the genre and would like an easy point of entry then its certainly worth giving a go. It’s a decent game but if you really want to experience classic shooters it would be better to go back and experience the true masters of the genre with games like Doom and Quake.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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