Gunpey Review

Gunpei Yokoi was a legendary video game innovator whose legacy lives on through a game called Gunpey, named so in his memory. I assure you, it’s a very touching story. While Gunpei has shuffled off to the big Tetris game in the sky, his simple but addictive games are here to stay. Gunpey was originally released as a Wonderswan game (if you can believe that) the heads at Q Entertainment decided to give it a make-over and present it to the teeming masses who are no doubt craving some new and exciting puzzle games.

Let me start off by saying that this game is alarmingly simple, almost to the point where you can’t quite believe it. But you quickly realize why its so popular after playing for a little bit. The ultimate goal of this game is to take blocks that contain different oriented lines either diagonal or in a V shape and create a line traversing from one side to the other. Now, you cannot change the orientation of the lines — in fact, all you can do is change the placement of these ‘blocks’ vertically by swapping them up or down a la Bejeweled. Once a line is created, a Tetris effect kicks in and these lines disappear. In the original game the leftover pieces remained as is, but there is a "Break" mode where they will collapse like Tetris and fall down a bit — but it’s not a huge difference.

So connecting two sides of the screen…big whoop, huh? Well, the strategy of the game comes into play when you’re given lots of different lines, and you can combine them into something more than a simple jagged line. You can form diamond shapes, and even branch backwards and then crazily sketch your way back to the opposite side for a huge scoring piece combo. To make it more interesting, before a line disappears you have a few seconds to continue to add to it. So if you’re quick on your fingers you can integrate newly appearing pieces into the completed line, and if they still continue to make a line they will blow up, too. Now it’s starting to sound complicated, isn’t it?

The pace of this game is also quite fast; the only button commands are to swap pieces and to progress the board downward, thereby revealing more pieces. However, you will quickly stop pushing the ‘progress downward’ button as the game becomes quite frantic quickly. You’ll find yourself missing crucial pieces and constantly swapping existing lines further down to buy time while you wait for your needed piece. Or, if you want to kill time, you can always change skins.

Skins are basically different backdrops, animation, music and visual styles that you can earn through scoring points and completing levels. They appear to have no effect on the gameplay whatsoever, but they do give you something to achieve and there are many of them to win. From a purple dice theme to spinning 3D graphics to what appears to be a Jimi Hendrix theme, you probably won’t get tired of the backdrops anytime soon. There is also a game mode called Two Skins where you can literally play two games at once by switching back and forth between two games on different skins concurrently. However, I am not familiar with anyone crazy (or talented) enough to attempt this mode and survive for long.

There isn’t a great deal more to say about this game, although I can give much thanks to the developers for making the simplest and cleanest interface I’ve seen in years. The menus are incredibly simple, very intuitive and fast to navigate. In fact, with the exception of small loading times for each actual level there is almost no delay performing any action at all in this game. You simply do not even have to read the manual — you can pick this up and be playing in a matter of seconds, which counts for a lot on a handheld platform.

On the DS, Gunpey is basically the same game, with a few key differences. For starters, you can use the stylus to move the pieces up and down, just like in Meteos. This doesn’t change the gameplay a whole lot, but it can help when things speed up. The DS also features characters and more environments in the background of each match, helping to perpetuate the image of the DS being the kiddy system. The only real advantage Gunpey has on the DS is the superior DS multiplayer system. Other than that, the DS title is similar enough to the PSP title that the unique features it adds really only detract from this simple masterpiece.

If you enjoy Tetris, Bejeweled, Lumines, Meteos and all of their puzzle ilk, then you will most definitely want to add Gunpey to your collection. Its skin customization system is silly but rewarding and fun. The soundtrack is catchy and upbeat. It’s a game that ANYONE could pick up and play in an instant, but will keep you busy and frantically pushing buttons for hours. There is hardly anything bad to say about a game that is so clean, simple and fun — unless you don’t like puzzle games. Well then nuts to you — the rest of us will take our time enjoying the last piece of work Gunpei gave to us before his untimely passing.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.