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Enter the Gungeon

 

  • Genre: Bullet hell, Rail shooter
  • Developer: Dodge Roll
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Players: 1 – 2
  • Network Players: 0
  • HD Space: 430 MB

A bullet hell dungeon crawler

CONCEPT

On a distant planet named Gunymede lies a legendary gun that can kill the past. A fortress known as the Gungeon was built with the highest measures of security to guard the weapon. Adventurers known as “gungeoneers” arrive from different walks of life to enter the fortress and descend into its unforgiving labyrinth. You’ll run, shoot and dodge your way through a saturation of bullets that appear on screen. Even through the humorously charming pixel art may have you believing this game is a breeze, think otherwise; this game is challenging enough to require even the most skilled of players to improve their dexterity to advance.

DESIGN

You begin by selecting one out of four playable characters each with a different gun and ability. Each level begins with you descending down upon different floors in a labyrinth filled dungeon. Exploring consists of the player advancing towards different rooms to encounter either enemies, obstacles or and new characters.

You begin with a basic set of weapons to fight your way through different rooms. 💣🔫

You can shoot in 360 degrees and dodge roll in 8 directions (all variants of x-axis, y-axis and z-axis). Rolling will allow you to evade bullets as they come flying towards you. This is one of the most important mechanics in the whole game besides shooting. This is the key to your survival and your best choice when in any situation. This is the basic mechanic to master if you ever wish to be good at this game.

Fight your way through vicious enemies and survive for as long as you can. Along the road, you’ll collect keys to unlock chests that contain weapons and items or visit a local pub to heal and purchase resources until finding the path that leads to the boss. If you’ve successfully passed the boss you’ll be awarded with health, currency, resources and another gun to help you on your way down to the next area.

Chests contain useful items and weapons. Life is like a box of chocolates! You never know what you’re going to get! 🎁🍫

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You’ll come across people trapped in prison cells during your time exploring. If you are able to set them free they will assist you by opening up new services if you visit them in the lobby. 🗝

Each new level has adds more depth to the gameplay by creating complex enemy attack patterns and other surprises to challenge the player. You’ll constantly have to go back down again and again but each time you’ll come across different types of rooms and other people that you previously didn’t encounter before. You have no idea what’s on the other side of the doors before entering another room which will always require you to be mentally prepared for the worst.

Firefights are very intense. The game is designed for you to die so you come back and discovering something new each time. As you find different characters along the way, they’ll populate the lobby of the entrance to the Gungeon before you begin each new descent. Some offer missions to defeat enemies, new weapons to purchase, faster ways to reach new floors and enable the player to find more content, making the game rewarding and accessible.

Being able to follow enemies attacks with quick reflexes are needed to carefully evade the oncoming hurricane of bullets traveling towards you.  🌪🔺

The shooting is the most important aspect of the game and its mechanics are great. All the guns are either strange, exotic, random, unique. Some of them are much noticeably harder or not as powerful as other guns that you’ll find but each new one that you come across will intrigue you. You’ll be constantly finding a gun to call your favorite only to find another even better gun, and so forth. The controls are tight, smooth and responsive. You’ll have to be very concentrated if you’re going to want to advance. Enemies wont always appear the same and their attacks will change require the player to change their strategy to survive.

Your statistics will be displayed on screen once you die. ☠️

AESTHETICS

Really great I can customize the controls how I want to play whenever. Most of the objects across the environment, all of them really, don’t have anything at all. It would’ve been ideal to have them contain at least some resources. Teleportation system is really great to transverse between areas rapidly.

Enemies are creative, have their own sense of humor. Pleasing, have their own charm and they are difficult. The enemies attacks are so creative, that they catch you off guard. Enemy projectiles can ricochet off walls, explode into more pieces, or can be homing missiles. It’s interesting and makes the combat much more enjoyable.

Each chamber has numerous types of bosses that cycle during your play throughs. One of the bosses for the first chamber is a parody of Metal Gear Solid’s Gattling Raven from the original Playstation.  🦅

The way each door opens is pleasing. The way you can turn over tables is important to protect you from cover and along the way they’ll even become weapons themselves. The animations of the explosions are pleasing to the eye with all the little pixels glittering on screen.

When the player starts any level, if you come across the boss room door you can enter it immediately if you desire but continuing to explore the level will reward you with all the resources you’ll need if you want to rack up on supplies to help you along the way. Spoils are automatically magnetized to the player once all of them are defeated in a room. They can also be picked up by walking up towards them. There’s plenty to be found when adventuring into the depths of the Gungeon.

VALUE

This game is perfect to play with another friend. To start cooperative mode walk towards a character dressed in purple standing next to the rest of the selectable characters. The second player will take control of him and only him. He comes with his own special abilities but it would’ve been a better decision if the player could choose any of the available characters lounging in the lobby.

Combat is satisfying and can feel punishing but the game is compelling enough to have you come back to discovering something new to find whenever you descend, extending to the lore of the story. Some rooms are large and contain nothing inside, which is fine, we all need a breather from the action. However, it defeats the purpose of exploring and hopefully coming across another unique moment because it feels like a waste of space.

If your health bar is full you can save heart pieces which only appears available after you’ve defeat that floors boss. There is a mischievous rat that will appear to rob you of your goods if you decide to leave them behind. Once the player picks up a newly acquired item, they’ll have to back and forth into the inventory to read the description to learn about the proper usage but some of the information is poorly described, leaving the player confused until grasp its significance through usage.

I was able to lucky to catch this game on sale for 50% on the Eshop for around $5.00. You’ll have a great night spent with a close friend or by yourself as you work your way down to the bottom of the Gungeon’s unforgiving labyrinths of death traps.
Concept7.5
Design8.5
Aesthetics9
Value7.5
Positive
A variety of very unique guns and items to use
Challenging, satisfying and rewarding gameplay
Instant quick play option during intro title card
Unique lore and charming pixelated graphics
2 player shared screen coop
Negative
Many weapons and items aren’t explained correctly.
Ilegible UI for the menu makes it difficult to read the in-game dictionary
Second player is given a designated character
Zero online capability to play together with a friend
0
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