Here at Stuff.tv, we quite often mull over the future of personal travel, from Audi's robotic racecars to the very latest in high-tech and surprisingly green sports vehicles.
However, it turns out all our predictions have been wrong, because in the future, we won’t be driving cars. Instead we will be piloting metal cubes that have a shield on one side and a bloody great big gun on the other — vehicles lovingly known as Gunbricks.
Actually, saying ‘we’ isn’t entirely accurate, because in Gunbrick’s post-apocalyptic dystopia, it appears cuboid birds reign supreme. Your task, apparently as some kind of avian courier delivering a weapon of mass destruction, is to blaze your way through over 30 shortish levels, with scant regard for health and safety, the general public, and whether you should really be blowing away and/or squashing quite everything in your path.
On a roll
The controls are simple — swipe to roll and tap to emit a blast from your Gunbrick’s weapon — but the environments are anything but. At first, you can blunder your way to the end of each stage, but level layouts rapidly increase in complexity, wrenching Gunbrick away from arcade fare and dumping it firmly in brain-bending puzzle territory.
What looks like a platform game still requires a little arcade smarts, but really Gunbrick is more akin to an obstacle course combined with ongoing and rapidly evolving logic tests. As you come up against walls you can obliterate, your gun must be facing the right way. Then there are lasers that only your shield can protect you from, switches that flip your Gunbrick, sticky walls, and more besides. At the end of each of the three sets of levels, you must defeat brutal bosses — easier said than done when you’ve limited room to manoeuvre and a hail of laser fire is trying very hard to kill you.
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For the most part, it pays to think several moves ahead, often using your weapon to shunt the Gunbrick along a single space, so it’ll rotate correctly and be in position for subsequent moves. This isn’t always easy when electric bolts are threatening to barbecue the Gunbrick’s occupant, or crazed drones are lobbing mines in your general direction.
Given the potential for major frustration, Gunbrick only occasionally outstays its welcome, with the odd problem that takes a few too many attempts to solve, or a combination arcade/puzzle section that’s a bit too testing for the controls. But for the most part, this is a generous game, wisely offering plentiful restart points and infinite lives, and dispensing with timers that would have ruined everything for all but the most die-hard mobile gamers.
As it is, then, you get a vision of the future that’s original, zany and bold, a game that’s full of confidence, and a mash-up of genres that really works. Also, we really really want a Gunbrick at Stuff HQ. At the very least, we reckon it’d sort out any problems we have parking in the morning.