Elegance and masochism are surprisingly persistent bedfellows in gaming. Thanks to infinite runners, action-RPGs, and precision platforming, we’ve seen “Game Over” transcend from a slap of the wrist to an encouragement to give it yet another “one more try” as you ride the bus to work.
Guntai captures this feeling beautifully. A 3D infinite flier with clear inspiration from Frogmind’s Badland, Guntai manages to offer one of the most intense yet accessible action games in quite some time. You might not be blazing through magazines worth of bullets, but the relaxed visual aesthetic bellies a furious flight of fancy as your flock flows along a torrential breeze that only grows with every new bird that joins you. This unique form of balancing is brilliantly subtle; continued success grants greater challenge, while lost birds slow your approach so you can regain your heading.
This isn’t to say loss is impossible in Guntai. Far from it, misuse of the game’s speed boost power-up, leaning too hard into walls, or blindsiding headfirst into an obstacle can wipe your entire avian army, but fortunately, Guntai is merciful to players. Whether you drop the $3.99 (or $4.99 on Android) for the ad-free version or endure an advertisement for a new set of retries, Guntai doesn’t cast any judgment and openly emphasizes trying again and again. The only real scoreboard you go up against is a percentage metric that informs you how many of the global players of Guntai died at around relatively the same distance; giving you a yardstick to race against while not beating you over the head with it.
Gameplay is kept varied and fluid thanks to auto-generated levels that throw new gameplay hooks at you the further you fly. Static obstacles like trees give way to more abstract geometric shapes, as the game’s low-poly visuals begin to transcend into something like if Picasso got into 3D modeling. The audio soundscape is contrastingly minimal, and while that will be pleasant to some, you may want to crank your own tunes if the light background music isn’t doing it for you.
There’s a lot to like here – little surprise, given it was one of our 2017 game of the year picks. Guntai is a marvelous example of the infinite runner genre, and absolutely worth your time. Check it out on Android or iOS.
|A masterclass effort in the infinite runner genre.||Sound design is underwhelming.|