Imagine moving "Angry Birds" to the Wild West, adding a heaping barrel full of gunpowder and you might come up with, well, "Gunpowder," a new puzzle game from Rogue Rocket Games.
It might lack the breakout cultural cachet of Angry Birds, but what it lacks in awareness it makes up for in delightful, enjoyable gameplay with style to spare.
Colorfully rendered in the vein of a Road Runner cartoon and with a story told through vividly drawn comic strips, the player takes on the role of a Robin-Hood-type bandit who robs a dastardly wolf and redistributes gold to the poor.
Gameplay involves different Western-themed stages, each containing a steel safe and three piggy banks.
To win, you must blow open the safe, while breaking open the piggy banks is more for bragging rights (think star ratings).
This is accomplished through use of the eponymous combustible substance, gunpowder, which you’ll strategically place across the maps to detonate explosive barrels and set off cannons.
It’s straightforward stuff at first, but the scenarios quickly move into trickier territory. You will find yourself meticulously timing cannon fire to hit a safe floating down a river, or carefully laying out a finite amount of gunpowder to set off a spectacularly explosive chain reaction.
The difficulty ramps up as you advance, with creative challenges that force you to put your analytical skills to a moderate test.
Whatever the case, the game’s cartoonish visuals always offer a rush of thrilling pyrotechnics, as well as the satisfaction of besting challenges whose solutions aren’t necessarily instantly apparent.
This feeds that magic “just one more round” sensibility common to well-designed games.
"Gunpowder" doesn’t offer a particularly lengthy experience as long as you don’t get hopelessly stuck on any particular level.
It might be brief for you, but then again, nearly any game can be brief when it’s hard to put down.