Enter the Gungeon is a rage-tastic shoot-’em-up dungeon crawler combo that takes you back to the days of arcades and Bullet Hells. You play as one of four heroes who enter the Gungeon for the sole purpose of finding a gun so deadly it can kill the past. Along the way, you will have to kill a lot of other things, too. This simple premise is more than enough to get you going, and the addictive and punishing gameplay will make sure you never leave.
Enter the Gungeon is about shooting bullets with bullets. Sometimes it’s about shooting bullets with lasers, or bombs, or ice cubes, or letters, or t-shirts. Actually, it’s more than that – Enter the Gungeon is a game about all thing guns. It takes place inside a giant bullet that fell from the sky, you fire tons of different guns, and the enemies look like little anthropomorphic bullets that also fire guns. It’s this love of arcade shooters and guns that make this shoot ’em up so fun to play. Add some roguelike elements that provide you with a fresh Gungeon to explore each time, and you can pretty much keep playing until you run out of ammo (which never happens).
The action starts as soon as you choose your Gungeoneer and enter the Gungeon. As you move from room to room, bullets fly everywhere in standard Bullet Hell fashion. You can shoot back, naturally, and you can try to move out of the way or use a dodge-roll that grants you with brief invincibility. All these options work very well, as the controls are tight enough, with just the right amount of leeway for you to make the occasional mistake if you’re not careful.
Like many arcade roguelike titles, Enter the Gungeon is very unforgiving. Each mistake you’ll make will cost you a portion of your life bar, and eventually you’ll die; and you’ll die quite a lot. There are no checkpoints during your run through the Gungeon, meaning that when the various enemies and traps will overwhelm you, you’ll go right back to the beginning. That might sound frustrating, but it’s the good kind of frustrating – the kind that fuels your rage and makes you want to get right back in and show these bullets who’s the boss. Also, it’s a good way to try out and master all the other Gungeoneers you may have previously passed on.
Each of the four playable Gungeoneer start with its own unique weapons and items, and has a slightly different play style, mostly affected by their unique perk. For example, the Marine can call in a supply drop to replenish his ammo, while the Hunter is accompanied by a dog that can sniff out secrets. There are all fun to play, and there isn’t one character that is clearly “better” than the rest, so it’s really up to you to choose the one you like most.
As I mentioned before, the Gungeon is full of bullets that are trying to kill you with other bullets, but they are not the only enemies you’ll encounter. There’s quite a variety of things trying to kill you, from armored knights which slam a sword into the ground to create a wall of bullets, to Iron Maidens that blasts the whole room with flashy, colorful death. If you managed to get passed all of these, you’ll face the floor boss. They are just as varied as the normal enemies, and a million times as dangerous, making you wish your controller or keyboard was more durable. The onslaught of bullets start the second you enter the boss room, leaving you very little time to react, and it only gets more difficult from there. If you manage to beat the floor boss you will be rewarded with a random weapon, or maybe even an extra heart container to boost your health. In the more likely scenario, you’ll die and have to start over.
The real stars of Enter the Gungeon are not the bosses or the Gungeoneers – these are the guns. Many of the guns are of the conventional variety, like standard shotguns, pistols and machine guns. Though stats like reloading speed and bullet spread help differentiate one SMG from the next, these are not all that fun to fire. No, you want to look for the really crazy guns to have the full Enter the Gungeon experience. Guns that fire bouncing sawblades, or turn enemies to chickens, or fill the room with literal rainbows of death are just a tiny examples of the insanity you can expect to find on your quest to kill your past.
After all you’ve just read, you probably already figured out it’s dangerous to enter the Gungeon alone. Luckily, the game offers a co-op mode. Taking on the labyrinth with a friend, and firing lasers, rockets, or pretty much everything else you can imagine, is a sure recipe for laughter and utter chaos. Sadly, co-op is only available after you’ve completed at least one full run in single-player, and even then it is only local co-op. However, I have to admit that local co-op works much better for a game such as this, where the part of the fun is to throw your controller at your friend after he failed to revive you yet again.
Enter the Gungeon is a very fun and challenging game that will have each player wanting and needing more – be it a new controller or just another run, because this time you “almost had it”. The gameplay is fast and just the right kind of difficult, and the crazy fun of you can have with the arsenal of unique weapons and the occasional friend is enough to keep you coming back for more punishment. The game manages to combine Bullet Hell, arcade shoot-’em-up and roguelike elements into one enjoyable experience that ensures your 12th run will be nothing like your first, and nowhere close to your 57th.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.