“Gun Godz” Review
Calling Gun Godz a “DOOM clone” would only turn the heads of the oldest and most dedicated of our audience, for only they would know what the term means, and how it evolved into the new term “first – person shooter.” But we are quick to forget history, for back when DOOM was the biggest name in gaming, the term was the most accurate it ever was. There was a time where there was no 3D, just an engine that likes to pretend, and your keyboard aimed your weapons. What’s a mouse? A tiny little rodent with a USB cord.
Gun Godz is a DOOM clone. A lot of games are, but they aren’t fun. They aren’t fast. To imply the inverse, this game is both. Is there a story? Bad question; of course there isn’t. What does the box blurb have to say? “Players try to escape the jail of a hotel, which is the only building on Venus and is owned by a record – label owner who happens to be the God of Guns.” I’m not sure whether to admire the game for its goofiness or to slap it for the same reason. I’m stuck between two mindsets that say that gaming needs to grow up and gaming needs to let itself loose. The former gave us Call of Duty (and all its clones), while the latter gave us Undertale (and all its clones). I don’t know which is worse; at least Undertale has porn.
But that really is cynical. When gaming matures, we get Bioshock and Spec Ops: The Line. Going back, we got Deus Ex. When gaming lets loose, we get “Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa,” which is also goofy (as you could guess) and is one big parody of gaming, anime, and taking the Internet so seriously. So I’m guessing my yardstick for this review is how Gun Godz compares to Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa. Nothing does, but a man can have his desires.
Godz of Gun’z
This game is goofy. But it isn’t funny. It doesn’t suffer any pretense of being a comedy game; it’s a shooter, through and through, no cruft about it. Let’s look at the box: “Most emotional ending in a videogame to date.” Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa had a more emotional ending. Given that this game didn’t have any intentions of being either dramatic or ironic, I can safely say the box blurb is a dirty little liar. That’s how these games work, right? These Kwirky games?
I don’t like to use the K – word until I come across a game that deserves it, but I would have liked for the game to be in on the joke. The music sure is. I played this game for a mystery tournament once and heard it described as a 10/10 soundtrack. I’m generous in saying that it’s remarkable; I have no idea what the rapper is saying, because it’s in Venusian, those wacky developers and their silly antics. It’s functional and fits the pacing of the game, which is like a brick to the head. The assessment of calling it a DOOM clone extends only to a fundamental level; the rest of the game distances itself from it, which I appreciate. Rap soundtrack included.
The level design is competent if not exceptional and the aesthetics are the same, with a minor improvement in the later levels, including a clever bonus level involving a cold shower, a shotgun, and quick reflexes — but I won’t spoil the surprise. The first two enemies are alright; they’re rats and I like rats. The rest are forgettable. Quick: which was your favourite monster? The red quadruped meat monster, or the purple floating blob that shoots fire? The day you set a boss fight in a sewer with a tentacle monster is the day your artistic Licence is revoked. Granted, some of DOOM’s enemies were pretty bad, being sponged up through osmosis and not merit. In fact, so was the protagonist. Here we don’t even get a face.
Gun’z and You
The game’s aesthetics do show a level of competency and imagination that, though while not remarkable, are at least what you would associate with a fun time. It’s a good thing that the gameplay is pretty fun. Calling something bog – standard would imply that it’s a bad game. I don’t consider that to be the case; all art has rules, and it’s a matter of what rules to play with and how. If something is standard, it simply follows a formula, and the success of that something depends on the formula that works. For the hippies, which I was guilty of being once upon a time, who believe that all art comes from spontaneous originality, I would like to point out that we do not make airplanes out of bubble wrap, no matter how spontaneously original that idea is. To ignore the innovations that have come before you is to reinvent the wheel every time you set out to create a work of art. Good artists copy. Great artists steal.
So the gameplay is standard — it is by no means bad. It is actually pretty good, just as DOOM’s was actually pretty good, and though it isn’t better than DOOM’s by virtue of not having as much variety, depth, or simply stuff going on in it, it at least matches the same formula that DOOM did so well. You run around a lot, shoot everything until they die, and do it really fast. There’s no flash, bang, or any extra smoke, but it’s perfectly competent and engaging. The levels are short enough to speedrun and the game encourages you to do so by giving you three stars, or what appear to be elevator “up” symbols. Right, because this is a hotel, so wacky. I’m not going to harp on it for the reason this isn’t a comedy game, but I can’t decide if the lack of comedy is a missed opportunity or a deliberate cruft – cutting choice. I support the latter theory; there are very few developers who can make a funny game that doesn’t stop all pacing, and I’m not sure if the concept artists have the capacity to make anything new enough to laugh. Really now: just make more rats!
You get your pistol and your shotgun and your chaingun and your rocket launcher… Yawn… No, I’m not bored, I just wouldn’t consider this a once – in – a – lifetime you – have – to – see – it – to – believe – it type of game. It’s energetic, with the screen shaking and all and with juicy sound effects and you moving faster than a baby running away from a diaper change (that one’s for all the moms reading our mag; it’s a huge demographic). I may not have liked Borderlands, but at least I respect it for making weapon designs that are a little different. They sure look like NERF guns, but different. Actually, I think Deus Ex: Human Revolution did it better. That magnum design? That was some tasty stuff. Oh right, Gun Godz. It’s alright. It’s a game. A good game. The rest is average though, and I’m wondering what part of this deserves to be copyrighted. I sure as heck don’t want to copy this. Except for the rats. Blimey, what happened to the rats?
There’s a little bit to like about this game and a lot to let wash over you. It’s reasonably challenging, in that just – right spot between frustration and thrill, though nothing that requires any grand strategy besides the great tradition of wall – hugging and circle – strafing. It respects the player enough to not weigh you down with unecessary story, and indeed this is a game that doesn’t have any ambitions of one, despite the somewhat intriguing hotel aesthetic near the end. I said somewhat — it’s not something you have to see.
It’s not very long, which works out fine, as the game doesn’t have many ideas. It’s a decent template for a game to build off of, as it was also building off of its predecessors, and it works out fine. But though it has some imagination, it does not have an extreme amount, despite the art style being decent. By Itch standards, it’s definitely one of the better games. But I have higher standards than Itch, and I expect more from games. At least one does not have to pay for it. Indeed, with a clever audience, nothing need be paid for; this is why price never factors into my feelings. Try it, think about it for all of five minutes, then never again.
Considering that the developers cared enough to make this a perfectly functional experience with good looks, I was wondering if I was in the wrong for saying they lacked imagination, when they could have easily added in no intrigue at all. I will say that art with imagination is the standard; art without is awful. It depends on what an artist does with it, turning it coherent and cohesive, which determines its quality. As dreams are but dreams until they are made real, so too is the imagination, worthless unless refined.