It’s a peaceful day in the park, there’s a man riding a bicycle with his son strapped on the back in a car seat, everything is peaceful, and then the cannons start going off. He swerves, deftly avoiding what would surely be a decapitating blow from a blunt ball of death shot by god-knows-who, but the child isn’t so lucky. A stray cannon ball explodes the small boy into five pieces and sends him spinning into the distance (no one said fatherhood was easy), but the dad doesn’t flinch, he keeps riding. He looks like he’s going to make it out of this hell hole too, right up until he gets a saw blade chucked at him and is split right down the middle. Such was my first experience with HakJak’s Guts and Glory.
It’s difficult to talk about Guts and Glory without mentioning the games that have come before it, and that’s not a bad thing. The core gameplay feels like a mix of Trials, Turbo Dismount, and Happy Wheels rolled into one buggy, but fun package. Gameplay revolves around contestants trying to make their way from one end of a level to the other, while avoiding death traps in the form of mines, cannons, arrows, and pretty much anything you can imagine. The levels get increasingly more difficult and bloody, but make for a fun experience to waste a few hours in.
Right now, the game has three campaigns featuring the aforementioned bicycling father/son duo, the park family who ride around without seat belts in their convertible, and Earl, a guy who just wants to ATV. There’s not much to these campaigns at the moment (4-10 levels a piece), but they are fun and provide a decent amount of content for an early access title. However, the real fun comes in the user-generated content (UGC). Guts and Glory provides an easy-to-use level editor that has already led to a never-ending stream of new UGC. As with most games these days (in my opinion), it looks as though Guts and Glory will get most of its longevity from this content, and that’s a great thing. With the community driving level creation, the possibilities are endless, meaning there will likely always be new content to keep players engaged.
So far, the only issue I’ve really run across in Guts and Glory is the control system. While mouse and keyboard is the default control setup, I would absolutely recommend using a controller. It feels natural and makes controlling characters a bit easier. However, even with a controller the steering feels twitchy and can be unruly to control, leading to some frustrating deaths, but there is a note in the patch log about it, so hopefully this will be fixed soon. To some extent, bugs add to the charm of this game, but hopefully better controls will get fixed sooner rather than later. It is fun to see the Park family spin out of control once or twice, but having to deal with it repeatedly even from the slightest tap of the stick, can be frustrating.
Overall, Guts and Glory isn’t much yet as its still in early access, but seems like it will continue to improve. Through the addition of UGC and updates from the developer, there’s never a shortage of new things to find when coming back to the game. So far, every time I’ve come back there’s been something new that wasn’t in the game before and that keeps it fresh. Only time will tell what Guts and Glory will become, but for right now, it’s a bloody fun time waster.