- Developer: Gunpowder Team
- Publisher: Forever Entertainment
- Release Date: Jul 25, 2019
- Price: $4.99 / £4.49
- Review code provided by Forever Entertainment
Gunpowder On The Teeth is both a fun game and an infuriating one. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes, well, not so much. The general premise behind your actions as one of several playable soldiers, is to locate and destroy different targets across fifteen missions spread across five locations around the world. At the end of the level, you’ll hop into a helicopter and ride off to the next mission location. Each soldier has different weapon to suit their military expertise and it’s up to you to utilize them accurately to compete your task and the mission. You won’t find a compelling story here, or much of a plot for that matter, but this game doesn’t need it. Gunpowder is all about mindless fun, difficult platforming, and rage. A lot of rage. Rage like I considered getting insurance on my Switch.
Kyle… What is Gunpowder On The Teeth?
Well, it’s a 2D platforming shooter that has you taking on the role of a soldier and going across levels doing certain tasks to complete them. Levels should be, as they are timed, completed in under four minutes but that’ll never happen. Difficult platforming, hard to see hazards, and enemies that blend into the environment will easily quadruple that time. Two of those negatives draw from the game’s graphical color scheme. So, let’s address those graphics. They aren’t bad, not at all. I actually like how different it is compared to other titles available on the eShop. It’s very reminiscent, to me, of older Game Boy games from the 90s. The issues come from that main military green color that makes everything hard to make out. Enemy soldiers can easily blend in and when your dealing with one, or more, you can lose track of them all and it’ll lead to a frustrating death. Barbwire easily can be missed on the environment due to this, and it’s design. I sometimes felt as if they were put in the game to encourage me into throwing my Switch against a concrete wall. Then running it over with my truck. Then setting it on fire. Then repeating the entire process. I can accept when failure comes from player skill, or lack thereof, but when it’s something blatantly poor devised, well, I’m not so forgiving.
With that said, I did appreciate the simple designs of the characters, world, and items. It’s the little touches, like the grass moving because of the wind. The game just feels too reliant on the color scheme and it would have been nice to have something to easily identify stage hazards and enemies. The Steam version does have such a setting implemented. Unfortunately it’s absent on the Nintendo Switch. At the least the music that plays in the background, as safe and generic as it is, is upbeat and reminiscent of older titles from console’s generations ago. Since we’re on the subject of audio, the little amount of voice acting presented in the game is serviceable and really gives that Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe. I really enjoyed it.
Private, What About the Gameplay?
Well, I thought you’d never ask. As stated above, it’s a 2D platformer. The player has access to a shooting button, reload, jump, and bombs. All of these are used to take our enemies and equipment. Controls are precise, especially the game’s jumping mechanics. Speed, timing, and range will either be your enemy, or your best friend. Couple this with barbwire and enemies waiting for you as you land, and you have a difficult game in deed. However, in this scenario it’s actually a good game. Difficulty doesn’t always equal a quality game, or a poor one, but a well implemented setting that challenges players is always welcomed. You’ll run across a section, jump from one platform to another, shoot enemies, jump over barbwire, maybe walk through the barbwire, and repeat the process. It all runs incredibly smooth but one miscalculation can lead to instant death. Death, in this game, comes quickly. A few shots from an enemy, a collision with an explosion. It doesn’t take much to meet your maker.
Health and ammo pick ups are given at certain sections of the level, which I assumed were checkpoints. The first few times I reached them, I restarted there when I died. In later levels, this is not the case. This can also be frustrating when you believe you’ve reached a checkpoint, continue a few more feet, die, and then be sent farther back than you expected. Depending on the level, it’s disheartening to the point you don’t want to even continue. Randomized checkpoints are not a good thing, an actual consistent system would have been vastly preferred. You know, like normal games. Dying also means you’ll have to gather dog tags and deal with enemies again. As well as mission requirements.
Most missions have you finding a military component and placing a bomb to blow it up. It’s nice that there is more than one way to get to your objectives, with platforming having different routes you can take to reach the end. This is helpful when you miss a jump, which you will, or have to deal with platforms that fall apart as you jump on them, which are plentiful. I usually tried to avoid dealing with the barbwire because of how it either ruined the pace, by slowing you down and forcing you to walk, or by causing you to die due to a need to jump. Yeah, you can walk through barbwire but can’t jump out of it. I know, weird. Despite that, it’s intentional because as your trying to rush through a level, it can be a reminder that slowly and steady is always the best pace. That’s one of the main themes of this game. Yes, you want to finish as fast as possible, but you need to look ahead and plan accordingly.
Some levels break up the formula by allowing you to take control of military vehicles. You can play as a tank, for example, and drive through a level blasting enemies into pieces as you fire at them. That’s another thing, I wish there was some variety in enemy designs. They fit the aesthetic of the game, I just wish they did more with it, and them. Playing as a helicopter and slaughtering enemies, makes up for all the cheap deaths the game will cause you. Speaking of cheap deaths, let me tell you a story of sadness. 30 minutes. That’s the time I spent on one level. Trial, error, trial, and some more error. I finally reached a checkpoint that wasn’t a checkpoint, died some more, but managed to reach the end. I felt phenomenal, as if I was the greatest player to ever platform in existence. I jumped into the helicopter, as one does to complete the level, but I apparently jumped too high and was killed by the propellers. I was sent all the way back. I turned off the game as I stared at the television.
Ten minutes later and I was playing again. That’s the thing about this frustrating game, it’s addictive. No matter how many times I died or failed, I still wanted to play. That’s mostly because when the mechanics work, it creates a fantastic gaming experience. Some things need to be improved upon, like bringing the Steam features over, and some should be revamped like wall jumping. Some more collectibles and unlockables would be nice, aside from the dog tags that unlock more playable characters, and a better checkpoint system.
Would I recommend Gunpowder On The Teeth? Yes, especially at the low price of $5. If you love addictive and difficult gameplay, you’ll be at home here.
- Addictive Gameplay
- Unique Art Style/Graphics
- Playable Character’s Talking While Playing
- Enemies and Hazards Blend Into Environment
- Checkpoint System
- Barbwire Mechanics
Gunpowder On The Teeth is a difficult game that can be fun and addicting but is largely held back by frustrating elements such as hidden enemies and environmental hazards due to the art style and graphics.