Games that lean on their community to create the content are a rare breed, but when they provide the right tools the results can be impressive. Such is the case with Blowfish Studios‘ Gunscape, which makes the jump from PC to Nintendo Switch after a mere six years. For Switch gamers, this will be a boon, since it means there are six years of content created by dedicated fans to jump right into and keep them occupied for a while. And if you want to create content yourself the community has the experience to give meaningful advice. You will get a lot of content in Gunscape for a reasonable price. It’s just that most of that content will be PvP arenas and not a whole lot of players to go against.
While the content is plentiful and easy to dive into, the gameplay does hinder the experience a bit. The weapons you get are poorly balanced and unsatisfying in many respects. Why do the daggers do less damage than my bare fists, for instance (excluding when you successfully land a backstab, which is rare)? I am also confused why map makers are seemingly not allowed to modify the weapons to suit their levels’ needs, which would allow for even more creativity. A lot of creators are aware of these limitations and build their maps accordingly, but you will find many maps that are not as satisfying as they could be. At this point, I should also specify that I am referring specifically to single-player maps, and if you are here for PvP you should be more cautious. The online community is not particularly plentiful, though not dead. Finding matches can take some time, though you will eventually get them. There may be a bump in player numbers with the Switch launch, however, this game has been out on other consoles and PC since 2016, so I wouldn’t expect too much more. If you can get some friends together, though, there’s much to enjoy.
As far as actually creating maps, it’s surprisingly straightforward. Back in the day, I tried my hand at making a few maps for the original Doom, and this reminded me of that. I also had no talent for it back then, and that seems to be true now, too. There are tons of different styles of assets to use, so more than likely something will fit your tastes. Experimentation is encouraged in Gunscape. If you do have that spark of creativity you will find a rewarding experience here with only a few hiccups — such as the aforementioned lack of weapon customization.
Gunscape draws its look from classic FPS games like Quake, and whether or not you like that style will impact your enjoyment of the game significantly. I grew up on these games, so there is a bit of nostalgia mixed in there, although I’ll admit that the charm does wear off. I have also learned that many people seemingly have no eye for aesthetics at all, and taking an intro to color theory class would do wonders. The benefit of using these graphics is that the game runs silky smooth no matter what you throw at it. I never had any reason to complain about the performance of the game. The audio is… unremarkable. It does the job, but little else. If you’re hoping for Doom-esque bangers then you’ll need to bring your own soundtrack.
Games like Super Mario Maker and LittleBigPlanet have shown that if you give a community sufficient tools you can get some amazing results. Gunscape draws on that collective creativity and benefits greatly from it. There are many good maps to play in Gunscape right from day one, and even if there are exponentially more bad maps the filters do a fine job of making it easy to sort the two from each other. If you have a soft spot for classic FPS games or love to see what talented individuals can do, Gunscape is an easy recommendation. However, I would caution that this recommendation extends only to single-player gamers and those who have friends they can reliably play with. The online multiplayer community at the moment, while not dead, is quite low. Manage your expectations based on what you want out of the game.