Game Name: Enter the Gungeon
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch(not released yet)
Developer: Dodge Roll
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Price: £10.99 or $14.99
Indie games seem to have a thing for mashing the roguelike genre and another game genre together. We first saw it with Crypt of the Necrodancer which combined rhythm and roguelike into an enthralling concept for a game, Spelunky blended it with platforming, and now, Enter the Gungeon has an even more outlandish concoction: bullet hell and roguelike. The former two games were quite successful to say the least, going down as two of the greatest Indie games of all time. But has Enter the Gungeon also found a secret, winning formula? Or is it a recipe for disaster? Let’s take a look and find out!
A lot of people liken this game to the popular “Binding of Isaac” series, and while it is a roguelike with multiple floors which has shooter mechanics, it is wildly different in its core gameplay. You move around with WASD and shoot with the mouse. Simple enough right? You can also switch between your weapons with CTRL and kick over tables to use as cover but the biggest new mechanic that Enter the Gungeon employs is ‘rolling’. Right click causes you to roll in the direction you were moving making you invincible for a short while. Rolling is easy to learn and use, but hard to master. You’ll be using it constantly as the heart health system gives you little room for slipups and some bullet patterns are actually impossible to dodge without employing it. Each floor, you’ll also get two blanks though you can find or buy more. Pressing Q uses one up, but clears all the bullets on the screen giving you some much needed breathing room. Again, it’s an easy concept to grasp, but a hard one to use properly. Every time you die, it feels like it was your fault, rather than the game’s. It feels like there’s always more to learn. It reminded me very much of Super Meatboy’s learning curve.
That’s not to say that skill is the only factor in how well you do at the game. Like any good roguelike, Enter the Gungeon has tons and tons of items, weapons and loot to spice up the gameplay. I was honestly shocked by the sheer amount of detail put into this game. About 98% of the stuff in this game is a gun-related pun and it’s awesome. There are references and easter eggs galore and the guns themselves are incredibly creative. Bullets that fire guns that fire bullets. A gun based on Earthworm Jim’s plasma blaster that shoots invisible bullets. Megaman’s famous hand cannon. A BARREL THAT SHOOTS FISH(Get it?)! Even when a gun sucks in terms of firepower, I can’t help liking it because almost every single gun is wildly different from one another. Unfortunately, if you get bad RNG on the first couple of chambers, you’re going to have a hard time in the next few chambers. You can be skilled enough to defeat a difficult boss without getting hit once, but boss fights from Chamber Three are just soooo draaaaggggeeeed ouuuuuttt. The bosses just feel so unnecessarily tanky. Even if you get used to a bosses patterns, if you don’t get decent weapons then you’ll probably get hit anyway as you have to avoid the patterns over and over again for over five minutes as you slowly whittle the bosses health down. It makes the boss fights feel less intense and dull.
There’s just as large a variety in enemies as well which keeps things from becoming too dull, even over fifty hours of playtime. You have your standard handgun and shotgun wielding enemies but they become increasingly more complex as you descend the game’s five main chambers/floors. Wizards that can catch your bullets and throw them back at you, Cthulhu-esque monsters that can duplicate themselves and spawn bullets from nothing, walking iron maidens that fire spiky bullets all around the room. You could fill a book with all the enemies in the game. Thankfully, Dodge Roll already have. The ‘Ammonomicon’ contains everything you need to know about every enemy, item and boss in the game in one handy place. I felt a thrill every time I picked up a new item or defeated a new enemy and opened the Ammonomicon to learn more about them. I have around seventy hours of playtime and I’m still a long way away from filling in the entire bestiary.
Enter the Gungeon also has just as much replayability as it has content. There are five chambers in total for you to conquer as well as a few extra, secret ones with each one getting progressively harder. You can pick from four characters, each with their own special abilities, items and starting weapons, and two more characters can be unlocked through side tasks. The end of the game, and final boss is also changed based on which character you’re playing so you’re incentivized to beat the game with all of them. And what a challenge it is! It took me a total of fifty hours to beat the game with just one of the characters. So, yeah, you’re going to be playing this game for a while if you intend to 100% it.
Enter the Gungeon has a big flaw in the form of repetitiveness, though this is mainly the fault of the genre itself rather than the game. Like any roguelike, it’s levels are randomly generated. This means you’ll be seeing the same room layouts a lot. While it isn’t too noticeable at first, after around twenty hours, the most common rooms will start to stick out like a sore thumb. Some of them even have the same enemies! If you’ve played roguelikes before and enjoyed them though, it probably won’t be too much of an issue for you. Another flaw with the game is the multiplayer, or lack thereof. There’s local co-op which you can play with a friend, but for some reason, online co-op is an absent feature that a lot of people, myself included, would be willing to welcome.
Overall, Enter the Gungeon is a kickass roguelike with some awesome fast-paced gameplay and a cavalcade of quality content. It has me absolutely gripped and with seventy hours of playtime, I still don’t want to put it down. Sure, the game has a few problems, but most of them are so minor that they’re barely worth mentioning. As well as all of that, the game is still being updated, with a massive ‘Gungeons and Draguns’ update coming soon. For a mere £10.99, it’s an absolute steal! If you’ve logged hundred of hours into Binding of Isaac and are looking for a similar roguelike to sate your appetite, then Enter the Gungeon is sure to please.
- Cheap for what it is
- Skill-based gameplay
- Bursting with content
- Massive replayability
- Hundreds of items, guns and gun-related puns
- Epic bosses
- Large variety of enemies
- Neat graphical style
- Plenty of achievements and challenges
- Several characters with different playstyles
- Upgrades outside of the Gungeon will take you a long time to obtain unlike Crypt of the Necrodancer
- Unique concept
- Still being updated
- Teleporters make traversing the Gungeon quick and easy
- Bosses are waaaaaaay too tanky from Chamber 3 onwards
- Game is a lot harder if you don’t get decent weapons or items
- You’ll see the same room layouts a lot
- No online Co-op
- Can get repetitive
- Personally, I don’t like the weapon changing system
- Some item/weapon combos are overpowered
- You need way too many materials to get access to shortcuts and not being able to get hegemony credits means it’s not really worth it
Buy the game on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/311690/Enter_the_Gungeon/