Title: Gunpowder on The Teeth: Arcade
Developer: Gunpowder Team
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Genre: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 25/07/2019
Price: £4.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Heading off to War
War is hell boy!
That’s essentially all you need to know before you delve into the midst of a raging battle. Which war are you fighting? It doesn’t matter. The only explanation you are given is that there are a lot of enemy troops and it’s your job to take them out.
Do you have what it takes to survive out there in the war-torn wastelands? The enemy is shooting to kill, and there’s a long way to go before you can earn your path back home. Don’t worry; you’ll be fine. Just try not to die.
The Art of War
Gunpowder on The Teeth: Arcade is a strange game to look at. They went all out on the army them, giving the entire game a strange camo-green wash. Everything is green atop of black background, creating a monochromatic experience, unlike anything I have ever seen.
When you first start playing it’s a cool effect and certainly matches the subject of the game, but after a few hours, when you’re countless lives deep and staring down the barrel of a host of enemy weapons the hue becomes more and more of an annoyance.
While I like the idea of the colour scheme, I do think it hurts the product more than anything else. Not only is it mildly headache-inducing, but it makes it very difficult to see some of the obstacles that lie in your way. The barbed wire and minefields can be nigh invisible at certain times, especially when playing handheld mode, which is probably the most common mode of play for a game like this.
Yes, despite the retro Gameboy style colour scheme, there is a hidden level of detail in all of the onscreen assets that can easily go unnoticed. Another disservice paid to the game by the colour choice. While I appreciate what they were trying to do, adding an option for different overlays or colour styles would have been very nice.
Audio-wise, the game has a powerful but not overbearing soundtrack. A strong drum beat fits both the fast pace nature of the game and the violent nature of war.
Every now and then you hear orders and commands being barked but a narrator, all of which are standard war tropes, but they are well suited to the retro feel of the game.
Only the Strong Survive
The gameplay is relatively simple. You get everything explained to you in the opening level(s) which hold your hands quite nicely. But then, you are thrown into the battlefield and left to fend for yourself.
If you’re not sure what to expect, think Super Meat Boy/Celeste meets Contra and then you will in the right frame of mind.
The game is made up of 15 levels spread across five different parts of the world. In each location, you play as a different character, and if you play well enough, you can unlock the Super Soldier.
Each level is short, with most restricted to a 2- or 3-minute time limit, but given the number of deaths you are likely to experience, that doesn’t mean you will be done in half an hour.
The levels grow increasingly more difficult, ranging from hard to nigh impossible. This is a game that doesn’t want you to emerge unscathed. It wants you to suffer, and you will do gladly. There is an addictive quality to the game, that something that gives life to the ‘just one more round’ mentality.
Destroy the Enemy Stronghold
You have one core objective in each mission. Destroy the enemy silos. Each level tells you how many there are, and it is up to you to locate them, plant your C4 and high tail it back to the chopper. It sounds simple, but standing in your way are several obstacles that you must overcome.
Barbed Wire – This is real tricky staff. Strategically placed by the enemy, getting caught up in it will undoubtedly lead to your demise. The only option is to walk slowly, picking your way free. Just watch out because as you break free of its prickly hold, you will shoot forward at a run. I’ve lost count of the times I fell to my death because of this.
Enemies – You’re at war, so there are a lot of enemy grunts hiding around waiting to take you out. Often, they will have the jump on you and get the first shot fired. Only quick reactions will be able to save you.
Minefields – Minefields are part of the deal with warfare, so it makes sense they are in the game, but boy are they annoying. They are well placed and often combined with other hazards like barbed wire, meaning you need some perfect jumps and position to progress.
Terrain – The terrain is also not your best friend in this game. While much of it is fine for use, certain areas will fall away as soon as you touch them. Only by walking or running over them in order, starting with the first piece of the ground, after solid ground ends will allow you to move forward. Missing one and the ground crumbles instantly, and you are left to fall.
I think the majority of my deaths came from this. The ground doesn’t regenerate, so in some levels, if you make a mistake, there is no way to redo it other than to accept death and start over.
There are other pitfalls in the game like missile strikes, tanks, blind jumps and more but I don’t want to spoil everything.
To emerge victorious from the carnage, you have a single weapon with unlimited ammo. The only drawback is the clip doesn’t hold much, and to reload you must be standing perfectly still.
You also get either four grenades or rockets, this varies with each spawn and are great for clearing out the trucks of enemy troops that are patrolling the levels.
The last weapon you have are some sticks of C4. These are used to destroy the enemy buildings, although this can also be done with the grenades and missiles if you have the patience for it.
The other ‘weapon’ you have is a wall jump. Only one at a time from the moment your feet leave the floor to when they touch solid ground again, but it is enough to help you get through some very tricky situations.
The game plays great in both handheld or docked mode. I think I preferred docked simply because the bigger screen made the enemies and hazards just that little bit more visible.
Collectables and Trophies
Within each level, many dog tags can be found distributed around the levels. Some are easy to find and are almost unavoidable, but others will require true investigation. It doesn’t help that each death clears collected tags too, even if you have hit a checkpoint mid-level, anything you have collected will be lost.
You can see all of the items you have collected in the main menu. It’s a nice little feature that does add some validity to the tag collection. Similarly, some achievements can be unlocked for various feats and/or deeds. While this is not to the level of other consoles, where such things are standard, but it is a nice touch and one I would like to see more frequently used on the Switch.
You can also find your stats, including the number of runs, deaths, kills, and so forth. This is another small attention to detail that might go unnoticed by many but does add a touch of substance to the game.
Returning to the Front
The game has a solid replayability factor to the game while you are playing it, that ‘just one more’ mentality I referenced earlier. However, once you have played through the game, there is little to bring you back for any more action. Definitely a once and done title, which is fine. There is good promise shown by the team making the game.
Gunpowder on The Teeth: Arcade is a fun game. It’s a good game with a nice concept and a cool end product. However, it just isn’t as good as some of the other game of this style. Yes, it is brutally difficult, and while it does get you hooked on that next try mentality, it doesn’t have the compelling story that pulls you in.
In fact, beyond the unexplained war, there isn’t a story at all. The game is not suited to long play sessions, but not every game needs to be. It is a fun title to pick up while on the bus or waiting for the train. Any longer and the green screen can start to strain your eyes a little anyway.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Gunpowder from the Teeth: Arcade from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Gunpowder-on-The-Teeth-Arcade-1601911.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.