If you have ever wanted to know what a “cute death” would look like, then take a stroll through the Gungeon. This roguelike Gungeon crawler takes a unique spin on the genre and is an incredibly fun time which frustrates you like many roguelikes, or the Soul’s games, yet keeps you playing until three in the morning trying to pass the next level. I am getting ahead of myself however, so lets dive a bit deeper into Enter the Gungeon.
Enter the Gungeon is, as said above, is a roguelike gun based dungeon crawler thus its name. Developed by Dodge Roll and Published by Devolver Digital this game, for me, came out of left field. I first found out about it from the PS4 launch party 2016 promotion . After a quick viewing of the trailer I instantly pre-ordered it. Truth be told, I am terrible at the game, and have only made it to level three of the Gungeon, but there is something super special about fighting The Evil Eye! Beholster with a grenade launcher and a bow & arrow, then die from a poor dodge roll into a pit while avoiding his eye-beam.
All of the enemies in Enter the Gungeon are bullets, guns or firearm related. They range from your basic Bullet Kin, which walk slowly towards you and fire a single round per shot, the Gun Nut a metal Knight who strikes the ground with a gunsword releasing a blast of projectiles, to the Iron Maiden and sarcophagus of doom that blasts out three waves of large projectiles that stick to the wall then come back, homing in on you! These are just a couple of enemies I have come across on the first three levels of the Gungeon, which leaves a full supply crate’s worth of baddies looking to kill you, me, and your little dog too (if you are playing the Hunter)
All of those enemies are fun to kill, die to, and kill again but what really slams a fresh clip into your pistol is the incredible bosses. Like mentioned above, the Evil Eye! Beholster is one of my favorites as I am a huge D&D fan, but let’s not sleep on the rest of the first two dungeon levels bosses such as the Bullet King, Ammoconda, the Bullet Twins and another D&D throwback the Gorgun! One of the most common level one bosses is the Gatling Gull, a super muscular. . . well gull with a giant gatling cannon. who when he dies, gets covered by tiny birds (I assume crows or gulls) as a tribute to Metal Gear solid. The little touches each of these bosses get above and beyond their design and makes each boss have that extra bit of flavour you want. It also makes it much more satisfying when you kill that god damned Ammoconda for the first time as he is bullshit. . . . but I digress
While enemies and bosses are cool, it would behoove me to talk about the heroes of this story as well, namely you. Well it’s actually you as a much cooler pixellated bad ass who has a particular set of skills that they have acquired over a very long career. Jokes aside, each character you have to choose from actually does have a particular set of skills to choose from which could help you in various ways.
First up is my main man, the muscle with the hustle, the Marine! His talent set gives him a bit of an edge in both the beginning levels of the Gungeon with a Helmet, which is essentially a piece of armour, but also an ammo resupply he can call in which will benefit him in the later levels/after a hard room clear for your favorite weapon. The Marine is also the most accurate of the characters due to his trait ‘Marine Training’. This makes his starting pistol and subsequent weapon pick ups much more lethal from long-range. I am not sure if he, or the Hunter are the “easy mode” characters, for as much as you can say “easy mode” in this game, as he has armour and better shots while she. . . well I will get to her next.
The Hunter, the gatherer, the Darlene Dixon of this game is the other character who may fall onto the “more forgiving” side of the scale. Why you ask? It’s because not only does she start off with a pistol, like every other hero, but a crossbow (hence the walking dead joke) which is quite powerful in the first couple of levels. Not only a second weapon, but she has a dog. The dog is stupid, and is not beneficial in combat, but it has a special trait that can make your time with the Hunter much easier. The dog has an RNG roll to find random stuff in every room you clear. This has garnered me blanks, an item that can clear all projectiles in the room and stop enemies from shooting for a few seconds, to heart pieces and keys. You must truly pray to the RNGods to get those heart pieces.
Up next, and featured two paragraphs up as the image for the characters is the Pilot. Your Han Solo, Iceman, and. . . . other slick pilot names which I cannot think of at the moment, the pilot is a smooth talker. He buys items from the vendors for a cheaper price, and we all love cheap health bullets (yes, your health is actually two red bullets crossed together to form a heart) and guns. He also has two great abilities that can help you along your travels, the first being a lock pick. You laugh, but when you find a high-end chest and used your last key on a low-level one (you savage) the one time chance to open it will be a godsend. The other ability is called hidden compartment. What does this do? well it grants you an additional ten percent ammo to all your guns AND, as if that wasn’t enough, it also grants you an additional active item slot which can be a life saver in those clutch dodge roll moments as you flee from a wall of projectiles.
Lastly is one that seems to be fairly popular from the group of people I know who have played it and that is our lovely leading lead fulled lady: The Convict. Every game needs to have the “bad guy” character as playable, and Enter the Gungeon is no exception. The Convict again brandish’s a pistol with everlasting ammo and also wields a sawed off shotgun, making her the and the hunter festooned with weapons. Her unique perks are an interesting bag of party tricks. her consumable is a molotov cocktail which I am terrible at using and a photo. A photo sounds kinda dumb doesn’t it. Trust me I was thinking it was dumb right up until I got hit by one of the bullet twins and laid into him with the sawed off. . . Holy cow! While only a few seconds long the photo gives you a damage boost as you get enraged each time you are hit. This is useful for multiple reasons, first and foremost is obviously your room clear potential. However what I like using it for is to chunk down bosses with crazy weapons. I beat the Ammoconda with a Bee Hive, that yes, does in fact shoot bees, by using her damage buff and blanks to survive and chunk health down. It’s a fun time, but a risky play style as you are not guaranteed much health return on boss kills or in the shops.
Wrapping things up here I want to say this. If you are a fan of roguelikes, Dark/Demon Souls/Bloodborne you will probably enjoy this game, as it touch’s on many of the mechanics that you already enjoy. If you are not into those games, there is still enjoyment to be had in this game as its bright and colorful, a game you can learn to get better at without the “punishing” nature of the games previously mentioned, and genuinely enjoyable to mess around with.
I highly recommend picking this game up, and to convince you I will leave this gif of various guns firing to entice you to Enter the Gungeon. Thank you for reading.