Sometimes two things that you would never imagine putting together can yield an amazing result. Take for instance the latest project from the folks at Jaw Drop Games, Gun Jam, which is looking to combine the fast-paced action of an arena-based FPS with the masterful timing of a rhythm game. It may sound like an odd pairing, but from my brief hands-on experience with a PC demo of the game, I can say that Jaw Drop seems to be onto something.
Gun Jam’s core concept is simple enough: Players will shoot, kick, dash, and double jump their way around an arena. It all sounds like pretty standard fare for an FPS, but there’s one major difference. Players will have to keep a beat as they try to take out the hordes of spawning enemies. As a series of diamond-shaped beat indicators climbs its way from the bottom of the screen to the reticle in the center. If players can dash, shoot, and what have you as the diamonds hit the center, they’ll increase their combo meter. Once the combo meter is full, some of those rhythm diamonds will turn into one-off special weapons shots. For example, I had my meter cranked up to level 5 and keeping it maxed out meant I’d occasionally get a grenade launcher shot or a triplet of notes that launched freeze bullets if I could sync up the diamond hits with what I was doing on-screen and navigating through the industrial landscape that surrounded me.
All of the action takes place to a banging soundtrack. During my demo I was treated to an EDM tune that kept my head bobbing as I blasted away the various opponents that spawned in the arena. Since the length of the level is tied to how long the song is, players with good timing and aim to match will be able to rack up massive high scores.
While my hands-on time with Gun Jam was brief and was nowhere near being a final product the core concept was there and very easy to wrap my head around. I jumped in and found myself immersed fairly quickly in the experience. It was like playing a Doom level where I had to be in constant motion, headbanging to the beat as I used the Dash button to keep my combo bonus alive, and blowing up as many enemies as I could along the way.
While titles like Crypt of the Necrodancer have mixed their own brand of action into rhythm games before, Gun Jam is adding its own flavor into things. Right now there’s no solid release date, but we will be sure to keep you posted as more details are revealed.