March 18, 2023

GyroGunner (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

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GyroGunner (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

By Joel | March 18, 2023
Gyro Gunner (Steam) Review | walawalagames

There's a definite line between a bargain and just getting something for cheap. For something to be a bargain, it needs to have some tangible value, whereas cheap simply means you didn't pay a lot for it. Most, if not all, budget games fall into this category. They're priced to sell and to persuade unsuspecting buyers into thinking that they might be getting a deal on a decent game, only to be surprised by the barely playable junk inside.

But occasionally, a game like GyroGunner by indie developer HT Project Games comes along and defines what a budget title should be, which is unassuming, inexpensive, and thoroughly playable. So when the game came across my desk, I was hesitant as I've been duped in the past. But, instead, to my surprise, I enjoyed it.

Gyro Gunner (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Lock 'n Loaded

One thing I noticed immediately when starting the game was the lack of a story mode or campaign. A handy map is on the bottom left to help you navigate the area. I glance at it and see hundreds of little dots, some stationary and some moving. I'm not sure what they are, but like any shooter, the mentality is to shoot at anything that moves. I make my way towards a cluster of dots when...bam! Anti-aircraft fire fills the screen. I dodge left and right, firing back with bullets and missiles.

As I clear out the small sector, enemy choppers appear on my right. I swoop around and take them out from the side. Surface to air missiles come screaming towards me as I loop around in a circle to avoid it. It doesn't work. I set off flairs as a counter measure and the missiles follow it and blow up. I make my way out only to realize that there's more up ahead. I take a deep breath, re-adjust my seat and tell myself, "This is going to be good"

Playing the game for the first time, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic, and I'm sure that's what the developer intended: to capture the feeling of playing games like Jungle Strike on 16-bit systems. As a result, the graphics are a throwback to years past, with giant explosions, smoke, and debris flying everywhere, all done in a stylized retro pixel look.

The game might look simple; however, once you fly a few missions, you'll notice the difficulty ramp up, giving your fingers a thorough workout. Actually, GyroGunner is as bare bones as it gets, meaning there are no power-ups, no repairs, and no weapon upgrades, so once your chopper reaches 100% damage or run out of fuel or ammo, it's game over.

Gyro Gunner (Steam) Review | WalaWalaGames

Run and Gun Equals Fun

The seven giant areas ensure that you'll have a lot of things to blow up, and the music and sound effects are equally impressive with some old-school Technetronic feel. The controls are spot on, and although the title supports a mouse and keyboard, playing with a controller was my preferred option.

However, as with most budget titles, a few nitpicks are worth mentioning. First, the AI doesn't exhibit much intelligence as enemy aircraft attack in patterns and seldom exhibit any offensive behavior, making much of the gameplay feel like Galaga on steroids. Second, despite the credits you're given, you always end up starting at the beginning of the level when you die instead of where you left off, so having to re-play an entire area you've almost cleared can be a bit annoying.

Still, GyroGunner is surprisingly fun for a small-budget game that costs less than a large cup of coffee. If nothing else, it proves that old-school gameplay values are still alive and capable of being the driving force behind an entertaining game. Grab a copy whenever you get a chance. You won't be disappointed.

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