Guest Review: Enter the Gungeon

Today, I’m happy to present a guest review for “Enter the Gungeon” written by Galoot24.  Enjoy!


 

What would you do if you could harness a weapon that allowed you to change the past? What would you change? This is the exact question that you set your character out to answer in Enter the Gungeon, the newest roguelike from Dodge Roll.

gunegeon_screen

As the opening credits of “Enter the Gungeon” roll, I can’t help but be reminded of Roland Deschain; a Gunslinger in search of the ever present Dark Tower.  For those who are unfamiliar, Roland is the main character in the Dark Tower series written by Stephen King.  Over the course  of 8 books Roland faces may challenges, overcomes impossible obstacles, and makes many friends in his quest for The Dark Tower.  Roland does, in fact, reach the Dark Tower and upon his ascension he walks through the final door and goes back in time.  Roland relives his life, makes some changes, keeps some things the same but ultimately continues to grow and evolve.  This is exactly what Enter the Gungeon asks you to do.  I also wonder what part of the Gungeoneers lives they want to change; what’s their story?  I hope to be skilled and patient enough to find out.


 

Premise and Controls

At the start of the game, you have your choice of four characters:

  • The Marine
  • The Pilot
  • The Hunter
  • The Convict

gungeon_1After you make your selection there are no visual prompts as to what you should do next; time to explore!  The only door you have access to leads you through a Tutorial; this is where you learn to shoot, tuck and roll and maneuver through the dungeon.  Overall the controls are simple, yet they feel a little spread out for a game with such limited actions.  This game is a dual-stick dungeon shooter; most games like this allow for the right analog stick to act as your trigger button in addition to your aim, similar to games like Dead Nation or Robotron.  This, however, isn’t the case here.

The right analog stick acts as your aim, while you’ll need to press R1 to actually fire your weapon; Square reloads the current weapon, while L1 will cause your character to perform a dodge roll (Circle does this as well).  The X button is used to interact with objects and NPCs in the world, indicated with a white outline.  Using both sticks to move while having a separate button to fire, as well as separate dodge and roll buttons, makes the controls feel  bit outstretched.  I am aware that you can continue to shoot and eventually your Gungeoneer will automatically reload but the configuration doesn’t feel as I hoped it would; it feels sluggish and misplaced.  In the Tutorial I didn’t see this layout as being much of an issue, but I would imagine in later dungeons with more enemies and obstacles to evade this configuration could become an issue.  I personally have large hands and can play a little guitar so I’m used to stretching my fingers to make things happen (insert sexual innuendo here), but the controls feel a little outstretched.  The other option for button configuration isn’t much better, unfortunately.

Overworld and Gameplay

Once I completed the Tutorial I entered The Breach.  This is the main labyrinth in which you shot your way through the dungeon until you reach the area boss.  Action is slower paced than I was hoping for; I was expecting SMASH TV style antics.  gungeon_3Instead I was offered a scaled down Legend of Zelda dungeon minus the charm and character of that classic title.  I found that killing most enemies required me to circle and shoot them until they died.  Each room typically had between four and six enemies that were required to die before my Gungeoneer could gain access to the next room.  Even with the button configuration issue, my personal issue (and this didn’t affect other Gungeoneers), is that I wanted more.  I wanted mayhem; maybe Ill get it once I reach the later stages of the game.

Visuals and Style

Visually this game is a classic throwback to 8-Bit gaming with a mix of Scribblenauts cuteness.  The visuals also remind me of another randomized dungeon generating game: Rogue Legacy.

gungeon_ammo

The piece of content that I found most interesting was the Ammonomicon; a grimoire that shows which guns, active skills and equipment you’ve collected on your journey through the Breach.  There appear to be hundreds of collectibles and, for me personally, this adds huge replay value.  Yes, I’ve complained and the game has it’s issues, but I’m a completionist and I want to collect them all.

Final Thoughts

If I had to assign this game a rating, I would rate it on a scale from 1 to 3 (I mean, the best things come in threes right? Read: Triforce).  Using this scale, I would give Enter The Gungeon a 1.8-2.  It’s fun and fairly easy to play yet challenging enough to warrant occasional frustration.

Pros

  • Visually pleasing
  • Huge Replay Value and Collectibles

Cons:

  • Button Configuration
  • Plenty of things to smash in each level, but not enough enemies
  • No consistent way to increase/replenish your health bar

In the end, I feel as though this game was slightly overpriced, and should cost around $10, not the $14.99 assigned to it.