Publisher: Flynns Arcade
Developer: LaPointe Joints
Release: December 3, 2020
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Fans of arcade twin stick shooters have quite a few games to select from already, but that’s not stopping Gun Pig from entering into the fray on the Switch. And while it isn’t a game changer, it certainly holds its own in the genre.
As with most arcade style games, Gun Pig lacks in story. From what you can gather, you are a pig, in space, shooting some purple monsters. The game itself is pretty straight forward as well, although there are a few features that play well with the theme of the game.
You control your ship using the analog sticks, but unlike many shooters, you use the shoulder buttons to fire your weapons. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this at first, but the mechanics feel pretty natural. As you play, you work your way through different levels, all the while trying to beat your last run’s highscore. If you die, you have the option to continue but lose your highscore, or end the run.
Where the game is pretty unique is in its weapon system. After the first level, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up different weapons. There are locations in the level where the weapons will cycle through the different types of weapons, all based on food, which seems appropriate for a pig shooting a gun in space. Each food has a different ability. Cherries for instance, shoot the farthest in a straight line, whereas carrots shoot much slower, but then explode into several different carrots, bouncing off walls and objects. You’ll have a wide range of food options to choose from, and trying each out and determining which is your favorite type is an interesting way to incorporate a different weapon system.
You also can find power ups, either from defeating enemies or from boxes found throughout the level. Most of the power ups will be helpful, such as extra damage. Some of the items you find will actually hinder you, like making your ship move slowly. You don’t really know what the outcome is going to be until you touch it, but once you experience the power up, the next time you run into the same power up you’ll know what it does.
While the enemies start to become repetitive, the bosses in each level are unique, although they could have been a bit bigger in size to make them feel more epic. But the inclusion of the bosses is a nice touch to the game.
A few things that could make the experience even better would be to have a map in the lower corner of the screen which shows you where the remaining enemies are located. In a few levels, I spent way more time than what was needed because I couldn’t find the last enemy or the boss.
Another miss is the inclusion of a leaderboard. While the game does keep your top run score, having a leaderboard, both for overall and for each level, would enhance the game tremendously. Being an arcade style game, it just screams for a leaderboard.
Final Grade: B
Gun Pig isn’t changing the twin stick genre by any means, but it is able to hold its own within the genre. Lacking leaderboards hurts the competitive feel that this game could have, if it had such a feature, but you can always challenge yourself or your friends locally to see if they can beat your personal best run.
Review code provided by Flynn's Arcade