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For the majority of people, lunchtimes are often a time of the day where you can sit back and interact with your work colleagues about the latest news, gossip and how the local football team are under-performing. For the lucky few, time which has been designated to indulge in meat-filled wheat goodness consists of games that help relieve the stress of the working day. Many will testify to games which they regard as being ‘perfect’ for the lunchtime gamer, but the latest game to be used in this way is Tower of Guns, which comes from Joe Mirabello (veteran game artist) and Terrible Posture Games.

Some may have begun reading this review and thinking: “Why is he obsessed so much with lunch?”

The reason for the meal-themed introduction is because Tower of Guns is being promoted as a “lunch break FPS” which creates a fresh challenge each time a new campaign is started, due to it being a rogue-like game. To complete the game you need to make your way through seven different levels whilst trying to stave off the threat of guns and bosses which come in all shapes and sizes. Before you begin each level, you are presented with a target time to beat the level and gain as many secrets as you can.

The player begins not by choosing a character, but by choosing a gun and a perk. Of the two perks available at the beginning, the triple jump is the most favourable as you learn how the enemies attack you and are able to dodge them a lot easier by jumping over some of them. Part of the gameplay is collecting health from defeated enemies as well as blue orbs and cards. These blue orbs and cards improve your weapon, which makes the gunplay even more fun.

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If there is one thing you have to learn about Tower of Guns, it’s the overwhelming number of bullets you have to deal with. The random situations the game places you in makes each game feel unique and fun as there is a comical side to the game with some of the brief dialogue provided by the side characters and the names of the weapons. I can’t imagine blasting my way through Battlefield 4 using the Portable Pizza Thrower and the light-hearted approach to the game makes things easier to relate to and understand.

In first-person shooters, it normally depends on the gameplay mechanics rather than anything else and Tower of Guns’ shooting mechanics feel solid and on-point. Team this with the easy to use movement controls and it makes dodging enemy fire ludicrously fun. In one of the huge boss battles, I began holding down the right button and altered my direction in the circular motion which the room dictated by pressing forward. I unloaded shot-after-shot on the empowering enemy and I was hardly hit by any of the bullets. To some this may sound like a pointless fight, but the way you feel after seeing hundreds of bullets and cannonballs flying towards you makes any fight feel very rewarding.

The enemies come in all shapes and sizes. In the opening level, the guns are pretty small but are often crowded together which creates mayhem right from the off. As you delve further into Tower of Guns you soon come across huge cannons which look larger than life and guns which pollute the air surround you wherever you choose to go. The enemies do not have any resemblance to humans at all. Many of the enemies are spinning razor blades, colourful lights and some even resemble flying mint humbugs. It may not seem like much when there are only one or two enemies, but once they group together they can become overpowering.

The bosses are huge and mostly take some manic button pressing to avoid their wicked artillery. The bosses are all well designed and include one that looks like a bulls head, there is also one which has a huge array of spinning razor blades which explode to add to the already bullet-laden battlefield. Some are easier than others, but those which I have come across have proven quite the test at times. There are only 7 levels in the game and they can throw up any one of 15 bosses.

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Tower of Guns is not the prettiest game ever created, but it doesn’t look bad. With graphics being so crucial to many gamers these days, the game may seem lacklustre compared to a triple-A shooter, but it still holds up relatively well. My initial reactions to the introduction of the game was that it reminded me of Borderlands’ cel shaded aesthetics. I still believe this is the case, but the graphics aren’t one of the game’s strong points. The sound effects don’t add much atmosphere to the occasion either. Even when faced with a boss or a tricky situation, the music and sounds don’t make the battles feel as important as they should do.

In addition to weirdly named weapons, the game offers players the chance to customise their weapons and use them how they wish, as they have a combination feature. For instance, if you have a rocket launcher and mix it with the spread mod, you can have rockets flying everywhere and attacking everything in sight with one blast from your rocket launcher.  Starting with just two guns, there are 18 guns to find, as well as 12 gun mods. There are some weird and wonderful weapons which you can create to help make Tower of Guns fresh and personalised each time you switch it on.

For a different rogue-like experience, Tower of Guns offers something different and challenging enough to keep you playing a long time after the lunch break has finished. With easy-to-learn and simplistic gameplay, the new release from Terrible Posture Games is a blast to play. Even if it doesn’t look as attractive as other titles, it’s a lot of fun and offers even the most experienced FPS gamers with a huge task in getting past all seven levels. At only £11.99, Tower of Guns will have you putting your sandwich down and playing through gun-filled worlds more often.

Tower of Guns is available now via numerous online outlets including Steam, Humble Store and Indie Game Stand.



Author

Simon Marshall