I have a tall stack of puzzle games for the Nintendo DS. I just added another to the stack today when picked up a copy of Gunpey DS, on impulse, during my visit to Fry’s Electronics today. I’ve only heard of this game because of an interview with Tetsuya Mizuguchi on Gamasutra. It’s another music-themed puzzle game from Q Entertainment (Lumines and Meteos). It was only $10 so I decided to give it a go.

(here’s a Flash demo of the Gunpey DS)

Gunpey Screen

I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do in my first game. Little pipe pieces scroll up from the bottom of the screen and you can only move the pieces up and down within their column. “What? I don’t have to connect 3 in a row??” After reading the instructions I discovered that I had to connect the pieces in all 5 columns, from one side of the playfield to the other, to clear them. This is made trickier when the tempo picks up and you’re left with a bucketload of pieces. What makes the game difficult is that you end up with many pieces in one column while you have few or none in another. To overcome this you have to chain the pieces together so that they’re interconnected as they go across the screen, like a spider-web. It took me a while to figure out which ways you can connect the pieces, it’s all about trial and error.

That’s the biggest weakness of this game. It’s sorta fun when you get into it but it’s pretty difficult to pick up and play. I know that if I want to play with someone I’m going to have to spend 15 minutes to explain how it works.

The presentation’s cool, as you’d expect from Q Entertainment. Super saturated colors and exaggerated designs is what this game is about. In the style of their previous games, music plays a role in the design. The action moves to the beat of the music, as do the sound effects. It’s unfortunate that the soundtrack is a bit weak, not very catchy and limited by the DS hardware it seems. A cool extra is the Sound Box mode that lets you create you loops and sequence them together. The interface is very intuitive with a touch screen, I wish that they built an entire game around this type of application.

This is definitely a quirky title. I’m not saying to run out and buy it, but you might want to give it a chance if you want to try something a bit different. I picked this up at the brick and mortar store, but you can get this at Fry’s website for $9.90.

About the author:
Bryson Whiteman (http://www.sonofbryce.com)
Bryson is the guy behind all of the Sokay creations. Heading artwork and development, he's determined to make sure each game has a "distinctively Sokay" quality to them. He's always looking forward for a chance to experiment with new technologies to explore exciting ways to achieve fun.