Enter the Gungeon is a quirky twin-stick shooter that sports the bravado of an action-adventure shooter. With its rogue-like elements, Enter the Gungeon ups the ante on diversity, rudiments, and a level generation which brings replayability to its knees, bringing together downright silliness and exuberation while keeping the tone of narrative relatively grim in the backdrop.
Enter the Gungeon
Developer: Dodge Roll
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Available on: PC (tested), Linux, OS X, Playstation 4
EtG is, by Indie standards, a bold attempt at creating an amalgamation of multiple genre, and rarely the outcome is as original-looking as this whilst staying comedic in its portrayal. There’s an underlying charm in EtG’s environment in its goofy, oft-surrealist portrayal of bullets firing bullets (yup, you read that right) and a gatling-gun wielding bird with a bulky body (woops, spoilers), among a plethora of enemies.
Enter the Gungeon plays out with the liquidity of an arcade shooter where the standard arsenal acts with just the right amount of precision to keep the gamers on their toes with the challenge lurking just in the ‘oh no, oh no, oh no’ category, if you catch the drift.
The story revolves around a fortress, on a planet inherited by living bullets, housing a legendary weapon capable of killing the past. Once upon a time the grim fortress is torn down in the onset of a deadly force, only to be rebuilt with the highest security measures. Four adventurers travel to the planet to descend into the Gungeon to claim the weapon for themselves in order to kill their past and better their life.
The game features the silliness of walking and shooting bullets to its full extent. From the get-go enemies duke it out with everything they have, often hurling bulletfulls of damage right at you forcing you to go try-hard at a moment’s notice. Your character has a few tricks up their sleeve which may help you to avoid getting in tighter spots of bullet-filled agony provided the timing is right, making it a combo move than an optional maneuver.
With the quirkiness taken to its peak you’re presented with just the right amount of diverse gadgets to counter the onslaught. A wide variety of weapons is the essence of EtG which comes into play when you further in the game. From conventional to radical, at your disposal is an array of weapons including the likes of sniper rifles, handguns, automatic rifles to the more peculiar and downright crazy like Flame Hand, Robot Arm, Machine Hand, which is a glove-like gatling gun, and Skull Splitter, which fires homing skulls.
Your adversary is no less in variety and challenge. One minute you have galloping tiny bullets firing at you with the charm of a plush toy, next minute a juggernaut slams a fiery sword on the floor to create a seismic effect that comes at you with the ferocity of a charging bull. Enemy spawn circulation can often get overwhelming as you may face mid-tier foes early on in the level as you respawn after death.
But the charm of EtG lies in its rogue-like nature where each aspect of the game has a purpose to exist. The rooms of Gungeon seem well-designed, with complementing elements spread sparingly so as to not overwhelm your gameplay. For instance, you enter in one room and find yourself face-to-face with multiple foes, and you may find a few tables arranged neatly by the entrance for you to overturn and take cover behind, or a wide pillar you can circle around while you dodge enemy bullets and finish them off strategically.
The Gungeon may present you with selecting from up to four characters each with their back story and motivation to claim the legendary weapon, but none of them feel any different from the other characters, and offer little variety in terms of gameplay for any player to gravitate towards and feel comfortable with playing a certain character.
That said, with fast-paced action, grimness notched up to just the right amount, and foolishness in ample amount spread throughout, Enter the Gungeon makes up for a light-hearted, challenging rogue-like shooter which rarely feels like a routine affair.