Gunpowder on the Teeth: Arcade is a gray scale shooter that looks like a lot of effort was put into the presentation. The game mixes real footage for brief cut scenes, big cartoon pixel art characters and more realistic looking pixel art during the actual gameplay. While it looks great, the game is tough in general with tough jumps and tough to see barbed wire that blends in with the background.
You’re given plenty of health, ammunition and grenades to make it through each level. To get from the drop point, to blow up targets by touching them for X amount of seconds and then racing your way to the pick up point. You’re dropped from a helicopter and you’re picked up by one. It seems so familiar, complete with a voice yelling “Go, Go, Go” at the start of each level.
In terms of gameplay, you can shoot enemies, wall jump and run. Without running, you’d get no where. Most, if not all jumps require a running start. There are plenty of death pits and barbed wire even in the early going. On certain levels where the bombs are being dropped to ensure you move along.
Your health feels adequate and there are health pickups. There’s no real way to dodge enemy bullets, you just have to kill them before they kill you. If you jump over them, the bullets fly at such a steady pace that you’re just wasting time when you could be killing the enemy and taking the damage. Grenades felt abundant, but useless. Why throw a grenade with its inaccuracy when you can just shoot whatever you want? The only catch to shooting is that you have to be on the ground to do so.
Both keyboard and controller input are allowed. Using a controller feels so much better, so I’m happy native support was included. The game makes use of a lot of buttons, including one for reload. It takes a second or two of standing to reload and it’s fine, unless you’re getting shot.
A nice touch during each level is an optional dog tag pick up to give the game extra challenge, but I was happy just to plow through the levels. I use the term plow through pretty loosely, because the game plowed through me. It was tough, but I’m certain a speed runner could just get used to the timing and mass of gray to charge through everything.
Gunpowder on the Teeth’s biggest detriment is the barbed wire. It’s not an instant kill like typical death spikes. You can live in it, but you just can’t go away from it. When you do, you die. So having a death that isn’t instant feels like a waste of time, but maybe you can cut the wire and I just never realized it, but then the game would lose a lot of its challenge. Sure there’s still a time limit, but it feels generous for what you’re doing.
To mix up the gameplay, there is a section where you drive a tank, but it felt more like a bonus round. I took a lot of damage before realizing that I was the tank. The game doesn’t make a lot of things clear during the actual gameplay.
I wish the game were in color, it would be easier to see and probably more eye catching. If you’re looking for a GameBoy – ish game, look elsewhere, this doesn’t feel like GameBoy, it’s only gray scale.