Gunhouse review for PS Vita, Switch

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Necrosoft
Developer: Necrosoft
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

There?s a pretty good idea at the heart of Gunhouse: take one part tower defence game, add in another part block-matching game, combine the two, and — voila — you have Gunhouse.

As concepts go, it?s pretty solid. While both genres are popular — particularly in the mobile gaming world, which is where Gunhouse got its start — you wouldn?t think they?d go together, so Necrosoft deserves credit for giving it a try. And the way in which the game theoretically works is sound, too: you match blocks of four or more items in various squares and rectangles, and they, in turn, cover your tower in weapons, thereby creating the eponymous gunhouse with which you stop enemies from weakening your home and stealing your orphans.

Unfortunately, the execution isn?t quite as fun. Rather than giving you an endless amount of time to match blocks and build your defences, Gunhouse forces you to do both within limited amounts of time — only to restart the timer for matching once your underpowered weapons run out, which happens pretty frequently. Consequently, you?re constantly stopped and starting with new matching areas, which really breaks up the flow on both your attempts at matching and your attempts at building your defences.

While I get that the developers wanted to make Gunhouse more challenging, it feels like they did so at the expense of making it more fun. It feels like the whole game could?ve been drastically changed for the better just with that one small shift in how the game is played, so the fact they opted not to do that is kind of frustrating.

To its credit, they kind of paper of that weakness with a graffiti-like aesthetic that gives Gunhouse a look that few other games have. But looks only go so far, and at some point gameplay needs to take over, and unfortunately for Gunhouse, that?s where things fall apart.

Necrosoft provided us with a Gunhouse PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: C-