PEGBJRE: Master Spy and Gun Rounds

Holy crap that’s a shark.

Master Spy is a stealthy platforming game made by TURBOGUN, a duo indie dev team. Players follow the pixelated and titular Master Spy, true to his name, as he attempts to uncover a sinister plot following the theft of certain scientific information from his client. Killing people leaves messes and creates problems, so Master Spy prefers to slink through each location without ever being seen in the first place. Armed with only a camouflaged cloak and his wits, players will see to it that Master Spy recovers the data and possibly saves the world from falling into another war.

Let’s start this with a fact: Master Spy is brutally hard. Combining precision platforming (my antithesis) and stealth, players need to collect the door codes and files within each area in order to access the exit door while avoiding the myriad of security. This includes, but is not limited to: security forces with guns, K9 squads, dart traps, lasers, sweeping lights, cameras, post guards, robots, invisible men, and a bunch more that I won’t list. Players need to avoid their sightlines, touching them at any time and worrying about anything that may be able to see them through stealth, all while perfectly timing their next jump. It’s hardcore, and nail-bitingly frustrating at times when an accidental keystroke sends the Master Spy back to the entrance immediately, or entering a new room of the same level is greeted with a sudden enemy. All of this is available to players from the second easiest difficulty, and while I know I’m not a very good indicator of platforming difficulty (cuz I’m bad) I can confidently state that this game does quite a good job of balancing difficulty with its mechanics. Most deaths I experienced were due to human error in attempting to perform a jumping sequence, usually due to my incompetence, rather than a scenario that felt unfair. I did say I played on the second easiest difficulty, which bridges to the most confusing section of the game; the narrative mode.

Narrative mode is for players such as myself that either become too stressed by the precision platforming or are too frustrated to get through each level. This unique mode gives players a stress-free mode to explore and experience the plot. How it is done, however, is a little questionable in my opinion; players can no longer be detected. They can run around in front of everyone, hit anything they want, and nothing changes. It does exactly what it is advertised, giving an experience that allows for players to watch the story unfold but it did feel a little lackluster in comparison to the rage felt earlier that caused me to switch. The narrative is quite good, with possibilities for secrets to change the story somewhat, but without the hairpulling difficulty it makes the platforming sequences feel a little sluggish instead of terrifying. Granted, I don’t believe there is any other way to aptly have a mode such as this, as there are unlimited tries by default. So this is easily the best solution to giving players the experience of the story without having to worry.

Master Spy is really well crafted, although the disconnect in narrative mode and the other difficulties is quite jarring even for a player who actively needed it to continue. Regardless of this, the puzzles build upon each other to become even harder every level while utilizing the only ability players are given to break through and discover the secrets each base holds. If you were looking for a pixelated nightmare of a platforming challenge with instant murder upon discovery, this is definitely for you. Even I enjoyed the difficulty, even while raging. It’s that rewarding.

It’s so cute, yet that’s a literal dragon being fired from my little protag.

Gun Rounds is a cute turn-based shooting game from Blabberf, a solo game dev based in the US. Players control a tiny blob of a person, determined to get to the end, wielding only a small pistol to begin and must beat 4 worlds of enemies to succeed. Along the way are various types of enemies and numerous ways to pew pew, but be warned that death is a recent back to the beginning.

Gun Rounds is seemingly named as such thanks to the turns that enemies and players alternate between to destroy each other — players are given a set amount of ammo at the beginning of the game, and their guns each use a different amount of ammo to fire. Guns can range from a simple pistol to a freaky triple sun laser depending on what is found throughout the levels, and the amount of ammo utilized is labelled under the shot. Players only get one shot, however, so deciding which one to use is extremely important. Enemies don’t follow this rule, and instead can fire multiple times which is super unfair, but thankfully players have a hidden ace; a shield that nullifies bullets. By tapping the space bar at the bullet impact of the shield, players can destroy those bullets and save their life points. It becomes a reactionary game on defense, attempting to destroy as many different bullets as possible as enemies create new kinds of ways to attack our little androgynous blob friend. Players are rewarded too, as every destroyed bullet not only saves health, but regains a set amount of bullets as well since reloading shrinks the size of the protective shield. The balance between offense and defense is that of a gamble, where players utilize the number of bullets that is equal to the number that they think they can get back during the defense phase in the hopes of not having to reload. Consistently use too many bullets without regaining enough, and the shield will keep shrinking based on reload times which makes it harder to time the bullet deflect on defense.

It’s this balance that makes Gun Rounds surprisingly deep for a game that, on paper, sounds like a simplified dungeon crawler with bullets and a stationary protagonist. It becomes extremely addicting, thanks especially to the sound design and music track, to make it through each world to see what kind of new guns players can play with. Dying, while sucks, is relatively quick and a button appears allowing for an immediate restart of the entire game which helps to streamline the iterative process. It’s not long, but it offers a lot of fun and depth to explore for anyone that just wants a simple shooty game to pass the time. Since it is also available on mobile, it can be taken seemingly everywhere to see just how good of shot one can be. If you’re a fan of casual games that can feel like a dungeon crawl whilst not really being one, try Gun Rounds out for some quick fun.

So ends page 5. There was a lot here. The software will be added to its own blog tomorrow. Or tonight, I’m not sure yet.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.