This is Guns N' Boxes, a brand new action game that combines Bomberman with a dual-stick shoot-em-up. It's been hanging out on Steam Early Access for a few weeks now, but it finally got a single-player mode. I know you have a lot of questions about Guns N' Boxes, so let's crib this.
You say it's like Bomberman?
You bet it is, just take a look at it. This is a game for people who love the multiplayer fun of Bomberman, but wish it had more guns and fewer bombs. Each round is played on single-screen map that is large enough to fit four players and a bunch of boxes. The goal is to break open those boxes and kill everybody else on the screen before they get you. It's a simple concept that has worked for Bomberman since 1983, and for good reason.
The addition of long-range firepower ends up making Guns N' Boxes a lot more chaotic than Hudson's popular party game. Suddenly we're able to target enemies from across the room, assuming there aren't boxes and other obstacles in the way. To compensate, each of the five characters can be hit twice before exiting the round. But even with that added health, rounds tend to be fast-paced and over in only a few seconds.
What kind of guns are we talking about?
As you would expect, Guns N' Boxes has a large arsenal of both real world and fantastical video game creations. For every AK47 or shotgun, we're given a hotdog-throwing gun or the charge blaster from Mega Man. These guns are represented by a glowing jack-o'-lanter, so once you've grabbed the weapon, the pumpkin dims. I was surprised that some of my favorite guns included the flamethrower and grenade launcher, two weapons I normally avoid in most action games. It's a nice mix of firepower, though some weapons feel a lot more unfair than others.
How can you tell what weapon you're getting?
That's a problem, you can't. Every pumpkin looks exactly the same, so you're basically just collecting guns at random. I'm not a fan of this decision and hope it's just temporary in the early access build. I also wish the five different characters were a little more varied. While each has a unique secondary attack, they all basically do the same thing and even look similar. It would be nice to see a slower character that is has more health, or perhaps an agile hero that can only take one hit. There's a lot more that can be done with the characters and boxes to make the game significantly more exciting.
Guns N' Boxes is a great concept with a lot of promise. There's not much content in the current early access build, but it does give us a good taste of what sets this apart from Bomberman. It's a fun idea that is best with friends, either in the real world or online. It's currently going for $9.99 on Steam, and I think that's a fair price. There's still a lot of work to be done, but I'm a lot more excited for this than I would be for yet another Bomberman sequel.