What is GUTS? Guts are those things men who walk with their head held high against impossible odds have. It’s also something that is inside all of us and allows us to digest our food. The second kind isn’t important right now; all you need to know is that in Big Men Games’ GUTS, you are going to need a whole lot of the first kind.
GUTS is an entirely mouse controlled turn-based tactical action game with rogue-like qualities, that has you take control of a young orphan boy who was apparently raised in a furnace of suffering. Well isn’t that a cheery description of someone’s life?Anyways, you control the currently unnamed protagonist as he attempts to proceed through multiple stages, taking on the enigmatic Dark Pilgrim’s armies with the kid’s trusty sidearm and the help of a little magic along the way.
Each stage is a giant-tiled battle arena with different obstacles littered across the field. Each turn you have the option to either move twice, shoot twice, use magic twice, or any combination of the three before the monsters are upon you. Movement and shooting are as you would expect in a turn-based game. Every turn you click the tile you want to move to or the enemy unit you want to shoot and the character does it. It’s pretty basic, though cover does make the game a little more interesting as your character can’t shoot through walls. This wouldn’t sound like much at all except for the fact that you are dealing with hordes of advancing beasts and ranged weapon wielding soldiers all out for your blood.
Using the terrain as cover is one of the first things you will learn if you want to live against multitude of monsters on each level. Funneling weaker melee monsters into chokepoints and keeping the ranged monsters around the corner is necessary to survive. Fail to keep one step ahead of the monsters and you can find yourself in a few sticky situations.
Or at least that is how it should be; most of the early levels I was able to look at unfortunately had one very easy solution to the monster problem. Throw magic at all of them until everything is dead. You have three spells at your disposal that you can level up as you go through the game. What you have is a dash spell, which moves you diagonally allowing you to bypass monsters penning you in, a passive skill, which gives you a chance for you to do a double shot with each of your attacks, and lastly the spell that tends to break the game early on, the inferno. The inferno is essentially an AOE nuke that can only be fired at a set range away from you and does massive damage to the tile you click as well as any adjacent tiles. You can fire this once per turn because of its fast cooldown and it has a tendency of killing just about everything in one shot. Instead of having a tense moment where you need to figure out how you are going to deal with the 10-20 monsters coming at you, instead you can just drop an inferno and dash even farther away from them so you can do it again next turn. You really don’t even need the passive skill to do double damage to the tougher monsters anyway. You can just drop an inferno on them and do more damage than your normal shot.
Other than that complaint, I’m quite liking where GUTS is going. It’s a surprisingly fun mouse driven turn-based tactical action game, which has most of its mechanics in order. If the folks at Big Men Games can just increase the difficulty and the amount of thought behind each of the actions you make, then they will have something pretty cool on their hands. A demo containing the first four levels of Guts is available now on Big Men Game’s site here, along with any other info on the game you will ever need. If you’re a fan of turn-based action games or just want to see what an entirely mouse driven action game plays like then you need to give it a try.