Shootin' peeps with exploding bananas in Guns N' Boxes...
Much like a pixelated version of the Hunger Games, I'm stuck in a corner surrounded by crates of goodies, waiting for the carnage to begin. I can see my opponents in their respective positions - my mouse hovers over them expectantly, eager for bloodshed. As the match begins, I immediately start blasting away at crates with my pistol, hoping for a weapon drop. Success! I run over to it, desperately attempting to dodge my foes' bullets as I scoop up the precious weapon; it's a....weird lobster thing that shoots fire? Ok!
That is Light Arrow Games' Guns N' Boxes in a nutshell. Madly scampering all over the place, shooting crates with weapons in the hope of getting other, crazier items of mass destruction, all the while trying to blow up everyone else. Sounds like my average Saturday night [note to self: stop trying to insinuate you actually leave the house once in a while and get some fresh air].
|If that alone doesn't persuade you to play, what will?|
What the developers have cleverly created here is a top down arena shooter that's so madcap anyone can pick it up and play, no matter their skill level - even I, notoriously bad at aiming with a mouse while trying to move with WASD, did some damage with my exploding banana shooter. Everyone is so busy trying to figure out what effect their weapon has, or indeed what weapon they even possess at the time, that any sort of tactics (other than desperately pointing and shooting) go flying out of the window.
This is most certainly a good thing, as multiplayer arena shooters are meant to be fun, especially ones such as Guns N' Boxes which include local multiplayer. An element of slapstick always helps to reduce the tension of being beaten by your friends, and nothing says slapstick like being shot by a pixel art hotdog launcher.
In fact, if I had one niggle, it would be that there aren't enough different weapons to go around, at least in the current version. You heard me - I crave more wacky launchers to blow my enemies to smithereens, with more obvious onscreen effects. While things like the railgun, which spews forth a bolt of lightning across the entire map, are awesome and obvious, other guns seem oddly generic in such a chaotic game.
Guns N' Boxes is still in Early Access, so understandably lacks a few features which I hope would be present in the full release. There are only a few arenas to wreak havoc in, though admittedly it looks amazing (as does the pixel art style of the whole game!). Online multiplayer is an available option, yet no-one seems to be playing it; whether that's just because it doesn't actually work at the moment, or just no-one is bothering to play online, I can't tell, but it would have been nice to play against some fellow humans. As it is, with my nonexistent social life being what it is, I had to play against some punishing ai bots - which are, again, another praiseworthy addition.
I feel like when Guns N' Boxes is fully released it'll be an insane playground of destruction, full of weird people desperately shooting crates and destroying each other as some sort of bizarre alternative to the after work pint with colleagues. Actually, I really hope that happens. At the moment, it's perfectly enjoyable to play with some mates for a little while. Early Access, as the name implies, gives you just a taste of that carnage, leaving you craving more. And I want more.
No seriously, I need more. Please?