Guntech Review – The new Atari VCS – Mockduck Plays Games

Developed by Jani Penttinen
Published by Utopos Games
VCS Launch Title (12/11/20)
Also Available on: PC or Mac (as 
URG), iOS (as Guntech Adventures)
Guntech is being made by one person named Jani 
who was an active early developer for the VCS;  
he was one of the first to announce 
that his game would be on it,  
and he’s been showing VCS fans the making 
of the game on YouTube and elsewhere for  
a while now. The game itself debuted as a 
launch title called Guntech, but since launch  
the game has been rebranded and launched on PC 
Steam as URG, or Utopos Rocketship Game.
That said, this game is currently 
a bit of a mess. From the start,  
the game has had quite a few control bugs, and 
even a progression blocking bug that prevented  
players from getting past the 8th stage 
in the 2nd level. That’s now been fixed,  
but the game continues to have some 
significant control and other issues,  
including some kind of slowdown over time 
that caused the game to crash on my VCS.
The core concept is cool: You fly around 
collecting coins and blasting enemies  
while rescuing people and finding 
items that help the world overcome  
some kind

of alien attack. This is standard fare 
for space shooters, and Guntech is one of many,  
but the graphics are particularly good. There 
are also two minor but fun levels themed for  
Halloween and Christmas, which should be a good 
time next time those holidays come around.
What hasn’t unfortunately been fun for me is 
actually steering and controlling the ship or  
getting through the levels. The levels tend 
to push and pull you around using gravity,  
but even without that I’ve been really struggling 
to steer the ship. Switching from the Classic  
Controller to a Dualshock helped a bit, but even 
so, thrust is set to up and steer is left and  
right, and the number of times I tried to thrust 
forward only to begin turning sharply has been so  
frequent and caused so many deaths that at this 
point I’d have to recommend playing it with a  
keyboard or something. I think one possible 
fix is to implement the same kind of twist  
functionality for the Classic as does the game 
Thrustlander, which works fantastic on the VCS,  
and is also a space shooter of sorts. The use 
of up to thrust also has got to be removed.
The other thing that I’ve done more times than 
finish levels is get lost in them. I frequently  
found myself outside of the level itself flying 
around the perimeter trying to figure out how  
to get back into it, and after doing the things 
in the level I needed to do I often found myself  
wandering around for several minutes or longer 
trying to find the exit. Eventually I picked  
up a radar, which helps a bit, but also 
adds additional clutter to the screen.
The sound is also in need of some remixing; in the 
intro, the voice over is drowned out by the music,  
and in each level the music is drowning out the 
game sound itself. You can adjust the sound,  
but it isn’t saved between game 
sessions, and eventually I got  
sick of adjusting it every time I played.
Guntech is also currently the most expensive  
game in the VCS Store at 25-dollars, which 
seems a bit high for what is ultimately a space  
shooter with a lot of competition in its genre.
I think there is still a very good core game here,  
though. The combat is fine and the graphics are 
great, the story seems all right, and the ability  
to upgrade your ship is very appealing. Also, 
the game does support local two player co-op.  
If the steering issues, sound issues, gameplay 
bugs, and the overall feel of flying your ship  
around can get improved there could be 
a really fun game here for VCS owners.  
For now, though, it is really hard to 
recommend the game in its current state.
I hate being negative about indie games 
in general, and I try to be as generous  
as I can be when looking at these games. I 
know they are a labor of love and passion,  
but I also have to be honest both with myself and 
you. I’ve tried several times to get into Guntech  
since I got the VCS, and I have to admit the game 
is just not working for me. Between getting lost,  
struggling to turn, finding myself wandering 
around aimlessly without a guide and a general  
lack of feedback about what is going on and why 
this game has unfortunately not been very fun.
Thanks for watching! I will be doing 
more VCS game reviews and other videos  
about the console in the coming weeks, and I 
really appreciate you watching. Have fun!

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