Gun Rounds ($2.99) from solo developer Blabberf launched this past Sunday, and in the days since, a number of other very good new games have launched in the App Store. However, I still can’t get enough Gun Rounds! I talked about this in our post announcing the game’s release on Monday, but just to reiterate, Gun Rounds is heavily inspired by Moppin’s legendary Downwell in pretty much all ways except the core gameplay. The visual style, the structure of the levels, the power-up system and roguelike features… all these feel incredibly Downwell-y. But when it comes to what you actually DO when playing, these two games couldn’t be more different.
Gun Rounds is a semi-turn-based shooter. You play in portrait with your character near the bottom of the screen and a group of enemies milling about at the top of the screen. For each turn, you choose from your available weapons at the bottom of the screen and then touch and drag to create an aiming arrow to determine which enemy that weapon will fire at. Letting go of the screen fires that weapon, and then it’s the enemy’s turn to attack. Here is where the “semi" in semi-turn-based comes in, because you’re actually able to tap the screen while an attack is incoming, and if you time it appropriately you’ll block that enemy’s shot. Enemies do take turns to attack but it’s in fairly quick succession, so you need to really stay alert and have lightning fast reflexes if you want to block all the incoming attacks.
There’s a huge benefit to blocking shots, too. Not only will you not take damage but you’ll also regain some of your ammo. Each weapon takes a certain amount of ammo and in general the more powerful attacks use up more ammo than the lighter attacks. Running out of ammo is… not good, and you do have a manual Reload button but using it comes at the cost of being able to attack during your turn as well as a significantly smaller area for you to block incoming attacks with. So you lose your ability to attack that round, AND the incoming attacks are harder to block. It’s a stiff trade-off, which is why you should really practice on blocking incoming attacks the best that you can.
That’s easier said than done though! One of the strengths of Gun Rounds is in its variety. There are tons of different types of enemies, and they all have a number of different ways to attack you. You’ll need to be ready to defend attacks of different speeds and from different directions, and it is incredibly satisfying to block every shot in a round. And that’s not even getting into the extensive and incredibly off the wall weapons in your own arsenal. Basically, playing Gun Rounds just doesn’t get old, and with a long-term progression system tied to unlocking an ungodly number of color palettes, you always feel like you’re getting something out of that “just one more go" feeling you get by playing.
There’s probably even more I could say about Gun Rounds, and usually when I just can’t shut up about a game that means it’s a winner. This is basically a perfect mobile game. Yeah, I said it! If you like extremely awesome games that feel like they were tailor-made for mobile, three bucks for Gun Rounds will feel like you’re stealing it.