Gunbrick: Reloaded
    Release 09/04/2020
    Switch version tested
    Review code provided

    Nitrome, the folks that brought Bomb Chicken to players, have now released Gunbrick: Reloaded. This box rolling puzzle platformer is a visual stunner that will surely catch your eye on the eShop. Massive thanks to the fine folks at Nitrome for providing Two Beard Gaming with a code for review, we appreciate it.

    I’m immediately pumped for this game since the main screen shows ‘billy badass’ break-through the bricks while some awesome tunes are cranked. Our protagonist has some black glasses on so I’ve decided I am said badass going forward. I am a massive fan of this art style and can only hope more Nitrome games are brought to the eShop. Ice blocks, alligators, meat, and big boss enemies showcase this visual stunner of an art style perfectly. If I were ever to create art this style would be my goal. The colour palettes only accentuate the greatness and I can’t get enough of it.

    It seems bicycles are rendered obsolete in this square world and metal boxes are IN! The very expensive box has been ordered and our character wastes no time in hopping in. I spent the first level laughing out loud (annoying the Wife no doubt) as I wasted all the surrounding breakable objects. All the lights, fixtures, and even those doves. Away with you! Rock’n rolling around to these nostalgic tunes and laughing at the destruction around me is not only fun but I feel a surge in my mood as well.

    Although I have to say the looks of this game were the first draw for me, I was a bit weary of travelling about each level. It looked a bit intimidating but after rolling through the first two levels it seems much less daunting. Moving around to destroy each brick or obtain that hidden level download symbol must be done in a specific way but not really ‘calculated’. It took me but a moment to realise the manner in which I needed to spin around to destroy the bricks above me. Once you’re past this little learning curve I’m sure we will be met with bigger and more difficult tasks but for now, the game is intuitive and welcoming.

    Hidden levels are so awesome! Not only do they place you in a three-dimensional environment but the graphics are altered as well. I love this game! As if the art style wasn’t great enough, it looks equally as awesome in this ‘universe’. It seems there are a number of hidden levels and shows a small map of them during the loading screens to each. Another loading screen reveals our main character is also in a sort of VR arcade cabinet inside the box. I love that. The effort made by the developer to help folks learn and not get frustrated by the rolling box mechanic is lovely. When in doubt look to the ground for a map to follow in order to progress to the next area.

    Checkpoints being introduced speaks of difficulty rising. Opposite of the gun is the shield that can protect against spouts of fire. These are placed so well! Use your jet to propel to a higher area that has fire shooting at you, but no worries because the shield will protect you. Some imaginative minds making this game. It’s only going to get crazier. Gunbrick is my type of puzzle game. It’s not an enormous list of 200+ levels with annoying or ultra calming music. Awesome characters with on-screen learning to introduce new mechanics, along with head-nodding music and lovely graphics. My Wife is dancing to the music as I type this.

    At times you may feel stuck but keep in mind there are a limited number of moves you can make. These little steps in difficulty are actually teaching the player how to progress. For example, in a bucket or U-shaped area that has four available moves, that coincides with the number of moves it takes to turn over completely. Now you just need to realign yourself to be set up properly and you’ve done it! It’s motivating that in between these learning puzzles there are smaller, easier, setup-for-you learning areas. Easier areas may simply call for the player to roll on through, others call for a specific flip learned levels prior, reinforcing previously learned mechanics. Well done Nitrome, well done. Using callbacks such as these help players like myself strengthen these actions to use them without thinking.

    I appreciate the quick restarts to the checkpoint when ousted by the enemy. Each time I’ve laughed audibly though, and didn’t mind. During those times of deep thought, calculating moving spaces and making a plan, I love the character popping out of the metal box to take a look around while reading the paper. Softly hinting to get on with it. Every level I move forward with I keep asking “how did they do this?!” in regards to perfect placement of blocks to move on and around. Plenty of scenarios arise in which I don’t think there are any other moves I can do in an area so I just go with it and it plays out perfectly despite what I foreshadow.

    B O S S B A T T L E S

    Oh, you thought this would be a move-by-move game without any large nemeses?! Just as one might expect, large enemies must be taken down with a planned movement strategy. By the time you reach the first boss the rolling imprint to get from one position to the planned position is almost second nature. It’s amazing how well the developers have done in that sense. With most pixel-perfect games like Gunbrick, the bigger the design of anything let alone bosses, the better their style is expressed and such is the case here. The first big guy to be taken down called for controls to be well known and keeping in mind your shield. It was a great first boss and I thought the difficulty was perfectly set. I died a few times learning the ropes as one may and it was glorious. 

    Final Words:

    It seems I can go on and on about this one, since it basically wrote itself. I often say that’s how good game reviews go and Gunbrick is no exception. I love to write as I play and I’ve had a great play thus far. After writing past 800 words I stopped caring how long I blabbered on about the awesomeness of Gunbrick and I would happily recommend this to everyone. I’m not the biggest puzzle fan but the folks at Nitrome found a way to reach me. This is easy to pick up for beginners and I’m sure even the master puzzle fans will enjoy the pleasant game for the looks and music alone, which were fantastic. 

    TBG Score: 9/10

    Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch
    Release Date: 09/04/2020
    File Size: 330 MB
    No. of Players: 1
    Category: Platformer, Action, Arcade
    Developer: Nitrome
    Publisher: Nitrome
    Twitter: @nitrome

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