You are in charge of an orphanage. Unfortunately that orphanage is being attacked constantly by weird and wonderful enemies who are trying to destroy your building and steal the orphans. You must load up your guns and protect the kids from these threats.
The story is very minimal, in that there really isn’t much of one at all. You get a small paragraph between levels about what the orphans and doing, among other stories. All of it is just flavour text though, with none of it building an actual narrative. This is an endless game after all.
Gunhouse has a rather strong soundtrack. The music you encounter is varied, from jazzy chiptunes to uses of weird instruments like didgeridoos. Jazz to funk, simple synth numbers to complex rhythms, the music really does change up and keeps things interesting.
As for the sound, it is passable. No sound effects stand out, nor are any offensively bad. Each different weapon type and special has its own unique sound, along with the enemies, but it largely goes unnoticed. Thankfully it never gets in the way of the music, which truly is this games shining light.
Visuals & Performance
The art style in Gunhouse is beautiful. It has a pastel colour palette, with a look that resembles over the top graffiti art. The designs of the enemies and bullets are interestingly bizarre and wacky. Everything has a coherent look to it, and fits together perfectly.
And as for the performance, the game ran like a dream. I never encountered slow down despite having multiple enemies and shots firing on screen, nor did I come across bugs of any kind.
Gunhouse is a mixture of two genres, that is split into phases. The first phase is a sliding block puzzle game, where you must match same coloured squares into larger squares to join them together in under 18 seconds. After doing so, you must try to swipe the bigger block you created to either the left or right of the tower. Sending it left loads the guns on your tower with bullets associated with the colour block you loaded the guns with. Sending it right fills you special tanks, which are added attacks that tend to hit multiple enemies in the next phase.
Phase two is an active tower defense game. Enemies approach your tower with the intent to either destroy it, or to steal the orphans. In this phase you can tap each of your three guns once to fire (if you loaded all three that is), and also activate your specials. Specials rain down fire over the whole battlefield, allowing you to wipe out enemies when you are in trouble.
Unfortunately for me, I could not gel with this game. I generally enjoy puzzle games, but ones that have such strict time constraints I find frustrating and just not fun to play. Also the tower defense portion of the game is extremely shallow. It is also worth mentioning that playing in handheld using the touch screen is the only way to really have a chance at this game, as using the buttons is just way too slow. This 18 seconds disappear fast, and fumbling with the buttons is a recipe for failure most of the time.
That said, my lack of enjoyment isn’t me saying this is necessarily a bad game. People who thrive on timed puzzles will likely have a lot of fun here. A word of warning though, if you like tower defense games and don’t enjoy puzzles too much, then this game won’t be for you. As much as this is a game with a tower defense element, that side of it is more of a reward for successfully completing the puzzle side, more than a fully fleshed out gameplay style that will draw you in.
Is Gunhouse worth your hard earned cash? That is difficult for me to answer as this turned out to be a game I found little enjoyment in, so take that into consideration here. The replayability for this game is fairly large, as it is endless in the amount of puzzles it dishes up. There is little depth there though, so it feels like repetition very quickly. Some people like that about puzzles, but for the price they are asking I’m just not convinced this is a value purchase.
Beautiful art style
Tower defence lacks depth
Short timer takes away from the puzzles
Expensive for what it is