Gunpey DS

The first thing we noticed in this puzzle game remake is that there’s no tutorial. It doesn’t take long to realise why though: like all decent puzzlers, it’s so easy to pick up that it doesn’t need one. Another possible reason is that Namco Bandai assumed that everyone played the original Gunpey – although that would be a rather stupid assumption given that it was released on the Japan-only Wonderswan handheld.

GunpeyOrganisational skills are the order of the day, the aim being to move shapes – which look a bit like bendy straws – up and down in a grid so that they form a complete line running from left to right. As the grid is five blocks wide, the minimum number of shapes required is always five, but before they vanish and transfer onto the CPU’s screen there’s a short period when you can add additional shapes. To mix things up, a roulette wheel occasionally appears and dishes out a random surprise, like making all your shapes face the other way.

The DS version, which we’re reviewing here, has an avant-garde space cowboy theme coupled with a selection of catchy background tunes. By comparison, the PSP version is more like Lumines, with stylish skins and chilled beats.

One curious extra is something called G Note’s Section. G Note himself is a tiny pixel man who you can command around a level with orders unlocked throughout play. There’s also a DJ mixing desk and the chance to beam a demo over to other DS owners.

It’s possible to get quite far into the quest mode by just notching up lines of five pieces, and the fact that you’re able to relocate any spare pieces means you’re always able to correct your mistakes. As such it can be an undemanding experience at times, and although the stylus makes playing pleasingly intuitive, it’s still an eight year old game at heart.

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