Gunswords – Browser Turn-Based Fun
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Gunswords is an online turn-based tactical combat game, developed by One Button Studio, a Russian-based team. You take control of a squad of fighters who cover different aspects – guns, swords and magic – and lead them in to battle against other players. By taking part in combat you earn rewards and rank. If you are a fan of turn-based strategy games, but want a bit more action than most games offer, this may be the game for you.
PvP-centric. Gunswords is designed with the cyber-athlete in mind and offers a competitive ranking system to encourage this.
Matchmaking. There is a matchmaking system in place to make finding opponents as easy as possible.
15 Weapon Types. Swords, chainsaws, shotguns, miniguns, rocket launchers, magic, and more.
Upgrade your weapon. There are ten levels of upgrades for each weapon type.
Strategic turn-based combat. The combat in Gunswords takes place on a “game board” designed to promote strategic play using its turn-based system.
AI-controlled practice matches. Hone your skills against AI-controlled opponents. You can gain a bit of experience and money from fighting against the AI as well.
One Button Studio delivered in all the features they boasted on the website. The only problem I had was with the matchmaking. I as the only one logged in to the game and could not find an opponent with it, even though I waited at least 25 minutes trying to find a match. Besides that, I have to say good job.
The graphics in Gunswords are not good. I have seen worse in the past. One Button Studio could have delivered higher quality stuff. I admit that the cartoonish style fit with the “Tin soldier” theme. And players who have low-end PCs will like how little strain the graphics will put on their system. In the end, I am not happy with the quality.
Map design however was admirable. Despite the low quality graphics, I was able to appreciate the maps. Each of the maps I played on seemed to tell a story. Action sequences were also done adequately, though they were nothing spectacular. Overall, I have to say I was a bit let down by the graphics. While the “game atmosphere” mentioned on the website is definitely there, I could not find a trace of the “exceptional graphics” that was mentioned.
Not much to say in this area. The controls were, for the most part, all done with the mouse. I did not find anything bad or negative concerning the controls. At the same time, nothing about them made me think, “Hey! This is handy!” I can (and will) say I was satisfied with the controls.
Movement is done by selecting what member of your squad you want to move at the beginning of your turn. You then click on the map where you would like him to move, or you can click on an enemy to attack it if you have enough action points and are within range. Only one squad member can be used per turn. The system was swell, but I wish that I was able to do more with each turn.
The menus and user interface were annoying to navigate and could be down-right confusing at times. Something more efficient and easier to use should have been used rather than the mess that it is right now. Do not get me wrong, you can definitely figure it out. However, you will be asking yourself why it is so bad – constantly.
Gunswords offers little in this area. Setting up your squad can be pretty hands-on. Deciding what classes you want in your squad, and how many of each, is something you will spend some time on. You can buy armors and weapons to dress your soldiers in that offer bonuses to defense and offensive. There is a fairly large selection of items to choose from, as well.
Building your squad from the ground up is pretty fun. You get to decide the class of each member. The ability to name your squad members was nice, too. Who does not like naming characters after close friends and then sending them to die? I really liked the large amount of options that were available to me when it came to equipping my squad members, even if most of it was out of my reach.
I could not see any sign of a community, actually. In all the time I spent playing, I did not come across another player. I was forced to play against the AI to get a feel of the gameplay. Hoping to find some idea of what the community offers, I went to forums. Not much to find there either, just a few threads.
I did notice that One Button Studio does respond to every thread. Which is commendable. I could not tell if the lack of players is due to the game still being in beta, or if it is because One Button Studio has yet to advertise their game. Perhaps it is just a lack of enthusiasm for the genre? I cannot say.
Gunswords offers an interesting concept by combining board game mechanics with 3D graphics and combat-centric game aspects. Building a squad and equipping them can be fun and the gameplay is delightful if you appreciate tactics. I normally cannot get enthusiastic about turn-based games, but found playing Gunswords quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed how the combat was done in this game.
You need Tin to buy items. Tin is the cash shop money that can be bought with real money. Fortunately, you can also gain Tin by playing games. I gained 100 for every AI game I played. The basic lower level items seemed to cost between 2,000 and 3,000 tin, with higher end items getting progressively more expensive.
Everything your squad members do is centered around action points. To move to another location, you have to spend action points. To use an ability, action points are spent. To attack – you guessed it, action points. Action points are nothing new to the turn-based genre and One Button Studio did nothing new with them.
Combat in Gunswords is pretty diverse. You are not limited to just offense. You can equip your mages to heal or buff, too. Ranged and melee combat both play a role in it all, too. If you want to be a decent commander, you need to balance your squad so it can cover all types of situations. A lot of the gameplay in Gunswords is centered around preparation rather than the actual combat.
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed Gunswords. While the graphics were not great, the maps help make up for it. I was disappointed that the community is currently non-existent. It is new and only in beta, so I have hope that it will grow. There is one area I will not forgive the developers for, though. That area is the music. It was repetitive and annoying and I had to turn it off to stop myself from getting a headache.
Gunswords is not a bad game. It does suffer from a few downfalls, though. If you like turn-based combat, you will probably like the game a lot. Gamers who are usually not a fan of the genre may find their opinion changed. One Button Studio did a decent job with their debut game.