App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Gunhouse is not your typical game in more ways than one. It's a hybrid between tower defense and an odd take on match-three that makes for an incredibly hectic experience. Pair that with a loud visual style and an amazing soundtrack by Disasterpiece, and it's clear to see that Gunhouse something special.
In Gunhouse, you have to help defend a house from being attacked by all manner of quirky enemies. To defend yourself, you'll need to equip this house with weaponry, which is where the match-three aspect of the game comes in.
The game is split up into two phases. In the first phase, you'll be given a grid of puzzle blocks that you need to match into blocks of four matching colors. When you create a match, you can then swipe it off of the puzzle grid to equip a weapon to your house. This sounds easy enough, but you only get 18 seconds to make as many matches as possible before a door slides down over the puzzle grid and the second phase begins.
Gunhouse's second phase turns it into a tower defense game where you tap on your equipped weapons to take out approaching enemies. After a few seconds of this, time stops and you'll go back to matching to repeat the cycle. As you clear tower defense waves, you'll build up currency that you can then spend to upgrade weapons, unlock new ones, and more.
The real challenge of Gunhouse comes with its peculiar form of match-three mechanics. In it, you are presented a grid of colored blocks that are three blocks wide. Instead of being able to switch blocks in any way that you choose, you are limited to sliding rows horizontally only, with any blocks that you move out of the game board disappearing forever and the blocks above dropping down into any empty spaces left over.
This system takes a lot of getting used to, primarily because it's unlike other matching game mechanics out there and also because you can only play it 18 seconds at a time. Thankfully, Gunhouse's first few levels don't throw overwhelming amounts of enemies at you so you can get your bearings before things get really tough.
Gunhouse is such a delight to me because it feels like a game that went out of its way to be peculiar on almost every level. Everything in the game, from the mechanics, to the visuals, and even to the game's excellent soundtrack feels handcrafted to be weird.
Although I wish that Gunhouse's art animated a little better, I love the fact that I can match blocks to make a gun shoot ghosts at a giant, mechanized ice cream cone in the desert, all while a delightfully jazzy soundtrack plays in the background.
The bottom line
Gunhouse might not be for everyone, but that's part of what makes it special. It's proudly uncompromising, and delightfully absurd. For me, that makes it a winner, but I'd totally understand if you disagreed.