At this point, I have yet to beat Enter the Gungeon. Usually when I take on a review of this, uh, caliber, one of my main goals before I give my thoughts on it is to complete the game in full. However, when it comes to the design of Enter the Gungeon, there’s much more to it than simply completing the game and then walking away. It begs for you to cash in your chips, dust yourself off, and then jump right back in for the next round.
Guns > guns > guns > guns
Enter the Gungeon wears its humor on its sleeve. From the get-go, the game is filled with quirky humor in both its dialogue and its general design. From weapons like a bullet that shoots guns to a trident that can blast with sniper-like precision, there is a vast array of powerful – and oftentimes silly – weaponry to wield.
Throughout the game, new guns will be unlocked. These come in the form of both discovery and purchases. New guns can be found in locked crates, or even created by feeding a box that chews guns, eats them, and then spits out a new model for you to carry. But, it should also be noted that you do not have an unlimited source of ammunition. This is just one of the things that will provide a constant stream of anxiety each time you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and head back in.
Who will come out on top?
At the start of the game, there are four playable characters to choose from, each having their own specific weapon and abilities. For example, The Marine has the Marine Sidearm as a main weapon (with infinite ammo) and can call in an ammo drop with the Supply Drop active perk. This, however, has a rather long cooldown time, so use it with caution. One of his passive abilities provides better weapon precision and a slight uptick in reload speeds. This differs from The Pilot, who has an active lock pick ability, the Rogue Special as a gun, and the ability to lower prices when purchasing essentials within shops.
During your playthrough, you can return to the game’s main hub, the Breach. Here you can explore some of the cast of characters you have unlocked during each playthrough of the game, as they will start to populate here. You can also switch out your character, along with enacting the game’s couch co-op mode.
Difficulty on high
If you weren’t already aware of the design and parameters of Enter the Gungeon, it should be noted that the game is hard. It very much reminded me of one of my favorite titles from the 16-bit era, Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The biggest difference is the fact that Enter the Gungeon has randomized maps, guns, and enemies, whereas Zombies offered a level of comfort in memorization of levels and powerups.
The randomized features for Enter the Gungeon are both frustrating and fulfilling at times. It reminded me a little bit of the flavor that I found in a title released last year, that being 20XX. Although 20XX was a very different game in terms of genre, the overall goals were the same. You would go to battle, progress with newfound abilities, die, and then pick yourself right back up to get shredded by enemy fire once again.
Enter the Gungeon not only lives this design, but it also breathes it in heavy gasps throughout the experience. The dodge button will help ease some of the bullet fire, and the Blank Shells can dissolve oncoming sprays of projectiles. However, there’s no doubt you’ll die, and die again. Even so, there’s an overwhelming call to jump back in, no matter how silly – or how frustrating – the circumstances were that led to your last death.
I thought I was ready to endure all of the things I had heard about this game. I thought, “Yeah, it can’t be as difficult as people portray it to be.” I was wrong.
Enter the Gungeon can be brutal. However, you’ll find yourself laughing at its quirky dialogue and obviously ridiculous weapons, and you’ll dust yourself off and jump back in. And each time, you get a little bit better, get a little bit farther, discover a secret area on the map, and prepare to die — just one more time.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. The physical version included four stickers, soundtrack redemption card, DLC skins, and Bullet Kin papercraft kit. PS, it’s so cute.