Enter the Gungeon Review

If I had a gun that could kill the past I would go back in time to all the times that I died playing Enter the Gungeon and stop myself from making stupid mistakes.

It probably wouldn't help.

Enter the Gungeon is a brand new roguelike twin stick shooter that does a lot with simple mechanics. Similar to fellow games such as Binding of Isaac, Crypt of the Necrodancer, or even The Madness of Little Emma, the game has you traversing a dungeon to get to the bottom floor in pursuit of a MacGuffin, in this case, a gun that can kill the past. On your way through the dungeon, you face gun and bullet themed enemies, including bullets who fire guns with smaller bullets. Yeah. Many of the bosses become effectively a bullet hell, having you weave between the fire trying to take them down as fast as possible. Eventually, you can reach the bottom level, and collect the gun to kill the past.

 He's a bullet. On a throne of guns. Shooting bullets. Look at this game.

He's a bullet. On a throne of guns. Shooting bullets. Look at this game.

Gameplay

You start the game picking a character who you will traverse the dungeon as. There are four characters (so far, I am sure that more are hidden as secrets) each one with differences to how they start the game. The Marine is better at aiming and reloading making him very good early game and just an all around tough guy. The Pilot is risk and reward, with a pretty inaccurate gun, but with a lockpick that helps open chests and the ability to get discounts at stores. The Convict starts with a pistol and a shotgun, getting temporarily stronger after taking damage, but is average with her accuracy. The Hunter starts with an okay gun, a deadly accurate crossbow and is followed around by the cutest short stubby corgi who digs up consumables for you every so often.

Each floor of the dungeon has a shop, at least one chest (I believe) and a boss room, as well as many other rooms filled with enemies. Shops let you buy items, guns and consumables for bullet shells, which you get occasionally when defeating enemies. Chests require a key to open and give you a random item or gun (there are different chest rarities). If you do not have a key, you can try your luck with the lockpick or if you shoot the chest, most likely it'll explode, but if it doesn't there is a tiny chance that you get a good item instead of just junk, so if push comes to shove, blow that chest away.

Finally there are boss rooms. The boss on each level has a significantly larger room, where you will have to face them in one on one combat with generally very little cover, if any. You need to dodge and weave through their constant barrage of bullets, slowly chipping away at their health. And when I say slowly I mean slowly. The bosses in this game have massive health bars and your base gun doesn't do very much. So aim at them, start shooting and never stop shooting.

To talk about the guns for a second, the guns in this game are incredibly mechanically diverse and creative. There are pistols, shotguns, machine guns, crossbows, you name it and this game has it in a gun. One of my favourite guns is 'The Scrambler'. The gun fires an egg, that on impact, hatches into a number of small baby bullets that fly towards the closest enemy and deal damage. Ridiculous, but so perfect for the game.

 The guns in this game are hilarious and fun to play with.

The guns in this game are hilarious and fun to play with.

The game has very clean simple controls for the keyboard (The game also has controller support but I did not play with that). You move with WASD, aiming your gun with your mouse. You shoot with left click, and reload with either R or left clicking when your clip is empty. The most satisfying mechanic is when you right click, your character does a dodge roll. With this dodge roll you can move slightly faster, dodge through bullets and jump over chasms. What I cannot convey through my words is just how clean the dodge roll feels. You move smoothly, each time you press it you slip into a state of bliss or nirvana. It is so perfectly executed and designed, I have nothing bad to say about the dodge roll except for the fact that I suck at it. I will roll into every shot that I am trying to dodge.

The Best Parts

This game has a great sense of humour and doesn't take itself to seriously. The dodging mechanic feels like moving a hot scoop through a tub of ice cream, satisfying and delicious. The enemies and guns are diverse and created with equal care to each one. The only thing I have to say is that the difficulty curve of the game starts out very high, even for roguelikes, but that's just part of the territory. Even though I've been rarely making it past the first floor, I'm still having a really good time.

Recommendation: Play it.

Enter the Gungeon is available on PS4, PC, Mac and Linux. Buy it on Steam for $15.29 until April 12th. For gameplay check out our Let's Play in it.

 

A game designer, producer, production designer, writer and editor, Jason has dipped his toes into many creative fields, perhaps too many. He lives in Toronto, writing, making games and thinking about dogs. Follows Jason on Twitter at @jwestonwong.