Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Tower of Guns [official site] demonstrates one method by which a developer can capture some of that nineties FPS feeling so many of us crave. Arenas, hordes of enemies and ludicrous weapons that happily fit alongside your double-, triple- and quad-jumping.
Equal parts oldschool FPS, Smash TV and Binding of Isaac, Tower of Guns is a splendid thing. Creator Joe Mirabello spent years in AAA development and was at 38 Studios working on an Amalur MMO when the studio ceased to exist. Seizing the silver lining of that particular cloud, he went solo and made a superbly compact FPS game.
While it has randomised elements, Tower of Guns stitches together handcrafted arenas rather than jumbling corridors and caverns together. It's intense, funny and extremely difficult. It's also consistently generous, handing out power-ups and new weapons at a decent rate. While it'll ask you to start from the bottom of its ever-changing tower over and over again, the ascent is enjoyable from the first step.
Joe will be speaking at GDC about failed prototypes. Hopefully he's working on another success right now.