Enter the Gungeon is a top down, rogue-like shooter that lets you play out your wildest and most intense, 80’s action movie fever dreams. Diving over lava filled pits, dodging hundreds of incoming projectiles and flipping tables to use as cover are the kind of gameplay maneuvers you can expect to perform when battling it out with walking bullet men.
Developed by Dodge Roll and released by Devolver Digital, Enter the Gungeon follows the story of a group of misfits who are trying to locate a gun, that can kill the past. To find the gun, they will need to conquer the Gungeon, a treacherous place filled with guns, monsters, guns, bullets, guns, tables guns, guns, bullets, and did I mention guns?
My one complaint comes in the form of online co-operative play, or lack thereof. Co-Op is supported and even touted as a feature, however only locally. I actually bought this game to play with fellow Ultra Super Mega team member, Townley, however due to my own ignorance, I only discovered the game’s lack of online co-op after the purchase. This did produce a slight increase on my fuck-o-meter, however that quickly dissipated as I realized how fun the game was despite playing as a single player.
As the game begins, you chose from 1 of 4 characters, Michonne, The Bride, some dude and Master Chief, each character controls more or less the same but begin with a different setup of weapons which grants them certain perks from within the game. The game supports both Keyboard and mouse input, as well as a standard controller. Aiming on the controller can be a bit of a pain in the ass as accuracy is greatly reduced with the reduction of the floating sight you are granted when using a keyboard and mouse setup however other than this, the game plays identically on both inputs, dodging, diving firing and crying are all responsive as you attempt to weave your way through the plethora of bullets heading your way. And be warned, there will be hundreds of bullets coming your way, especially as you are battling the beautifully designed bosses awaiting you inside the Gungeon. You won’t be left defenseless however, from Rail Guns, to Nail Guns, Ice Breakers to Particulators, Nintendo Zappers and even the sword Excalibur, Enter the Gungeon features more guns than the average American high school. And each pull of each gun’s trigger, culminates in a wonderfully diverse range of effects to smite your enemies. To put it more eloquently, The guns of the Gungeon, are fucking rad.
The game’s central hub is called the breach, in the beginning, the only thing the breach is good for, is selecting your character. However each time you enter the Gungeon, there is a chance a “cell” will spawn, rescue the person trapped inside the cell by finding and using the ‘cell key’ and you have a chance of upgrading the breach. For example, Rescuing Ox and Cadence will unlock a shop in which you can buy item and more importantly, gun blueprints. Buying one of these blueprints means that item now has a chance of spawning inside the Gungeon. Rescue Daft Punk and you will be rewarded with a goblin sitting on a ledge…. Thanks.
The visuals driving the action in the Gungeon are great and are kind of like playing your favourite Zelda Dungeon on a combination of Acid and Cocaine. The artwork of Gungeon oozes confidence in a unique way and you can really tell that Dodge Roll loved designing each and every frame of animation and 8 bit explosion incorporated into the game.
Which brings us to the music. I rarely, if ever listen to a games soundtrack outside of actually playing the game. However Enter the Gungeon’s soundtrack is now firmly planted in my Outrun playlist and getting regular air time. The music is phenomenal, energetic, atmospheric and a love letter to 80’s synth. Each mesmerizing beat is meticulously crafted to deliver some of the most memorable game tracks I have heard in a long while. Vocals are used sparingly and to great effectiveness, the title track, Enter the Gungeon contains one of the coolest uses of vocals in an electronic song I have ever heard. It makes you feel like a retro warrior, starring in his own 80’s action movie. It makes you WANT to enter the gungeon.
Enter the Gungeon will make you want your own fucking rad catchphrase to shout each and every time you leap across a lava pit and blast a walking bullet man in the face with a giant anvil gun. It will make you sweat as you meticulously slice a path through 476 MILLION incoming bullets being fed to you from a massive, gatling gun wielding eagle. And it will make you cry out in pain as you realise you only have half a heart of health remaining, and are still on level 1. Most importantly, it will make you want to hit that quick restart button immediately after your inevitable demise, because The Gungeon is an amazing, challenging, frantically fun place. And I can’t wait for my next journey into its depths.