Gunfire Reborn is an indie Roguelike. You kill things, loot their corpses, and try to get as far as you can before you die. And it’s so much fun.

The game doesn’t hold your hand. Quite the opposite, actually – it throws you into the deep end. Do not worry, though. Gunfire Reborn is simple enough to understand: Kill, loot, die, repeat. Sounds simple right? Well, yes and no. The game is currently in Early Access, but already has a lot to offer.

Gunfire Reborn weapons

Are You a Cat or a Dog Person?

Gunfire Reborn features two characters: The Crown Prince, who happens to be a cat, and Ao Bai, who is a dog. You’ll start with the cat prince until you reach level 30 when you unlock good boy Ao Bai.

Both heroes have different stats and abilities and promote their own gameplay style. The dog is more of a tank, with a larger health bar and damage-dealing abilities, while the cat has a better shield and can use the power of the elements.

The Crown Prince can shoot an energy orb that hits a target for high damage and freezes it in place, as well as throw grenades that release a cloud of poison with an AOE. Our good boy Ao Bai can duel-wield both their weapons simultaneously for a short period of time, which is very cool. His grenades are just normal explosives grenades.

When you throw in the various power-up you collect, each hero’s style becomes even more unique.

Gunfire Reborn preview

Two Guns Are Better Than One

You start the run with a basic weapon with infinite ammo. It’s nothing special, but you’ll soon find your first actual gun. And oh, the weapons are just fantastic. Each one of them feels utterly different, from a massive rocket launcher to a Naruto-style kunai.

Some weapons deal normal damage, while others use fire, poison, and shock ammunition. Fire damage causes the target to burn for additional damage over time and is effective against flesh. Shock damage deals bonus damage and is excellent for tearing through shields. Corrosive damage reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% and dissolves armor.

That’s not all. You can combine elements to create distinctive and devastating effects. Fire plus shock creates “Manipulation,” which causes an enemy to attack their friends – or just stand still in confusion. Fire and corrosive combined create “Explosion” while shock and corrosive creates “Miasma,” stacking damage over time and spreads to nearby targets.

Weapons come in all shapes, sizes, and effects

One of the ways to combine different elements is by using weapon inscriptions. Inscriptions are random buffs, like extra critical damage, a higher rate of fire, etc. Later on, you will unlock Gemini inscriptions, which are super strong buffs that only activate when you have the same Gemini inscription on both weapons.

The inscriptions mechanics adds plenty of depth to how you play Gunfire Reborn, especially to switch weapon you choose for your next run.

You can buy and upgrade weapons during your run if you come across two NPCs. The Peddler sells you what you need, like guns, ammo, and special items, and the Blacksmith upgrades your weapons. You pay them both in gold that you get from looting enemies.

Some weapons, however, are just too good to pass on, so no matter how much variety there is, you’ll just stick with those. Others are just too weak or will make you move slower, which is very risky in a game that requires you to dodge a lot of attacks.

You can buy and upgrade weapons during your run if you come across two NPCs

The inscriptions, the Gemini inscriptions in particular, might be unlocked early on in the game, but you only get to see them much much later. It’s a weird decision for such a core gameplay feature. I must remind you that the game is still in early access, so some of these issues are bound to change. Developer Duoyi already said they are working to improve weapon balance, so it’s good to know that they are open to player feedback. 

This Isn’t Even My Final Form

What is a roguelike without random upgrades? At the end of each level, you will find a vault with a Golden Goblet. The goblet allows you to choose one of three perks that buff either your elemental damage, your active skill, or your grenades. We’re talking +60% fire damage, more skill charges, and more.

These perks are active on your current run only, and when you die they reset. Choosing the right perks for your hero and weapon is key for advancing in Gunfire Reborn.

Gunfire Reborn preview

Unlike Golden Goblet perks, talents are permanent buffs that you unlock with soul essences you collect from dead enemies. You can use soul essence to revive yourself once during the run or keep it till the end to unlock talents. The talent tree is divided into four categories: Expedition, Survival, Battle, and Hero.

Expedition talents unlock inscriptions, make them stronger, and even allow you to start a run with some extra money. Talents in the Survival category make you harder to kill, increases your shield, HP,  and even reduce damage taken. Battle talents let you hit harder and increase your ammo and grenade capacity. Hero talents are, of course, unique for each hero, improving their playstyle. Unlocking new talents is how your hero gets stronger, which in turn lets you progress further.

Another way to power up your hero is with scrolls. You find these in chests and loot drops, and they come in various rarities. Scrolls can give you bonus ammo for each meter you walk, faster shield recharge, or other special effects. There are also cursed scrolls that debuff you and can not be discarded, and one that negates all adverse effects. The best way to find scrolls is in a Vault. Vaults are secret areas where you have to defeat a wave of enemies or pass an obstacle course to get a chest of rewards.

Gunfire Reborn multiplayer

Work Together

Gunfire Reborn features a multiplayer mode. You can play with up to three friends or random people over the internet. I have to say that trying to find randoms to play with sometimes takes time. I usually waited for about 10 minutes until I found a group.

The multiplayer mode makes the game harder. Enemies scale up and become much more hardcore and challenging, but you also get more soul essence since there are more dead bodies to loot.

Overall, the multiplayer is very fun and works well if you have a friend or three to play with.

But What’s the Point?

A major downside for me is the lack of a story. We know nothing about the heroes, enemies, or why do we’re even fighting them. Other roguelikes, such as The Binding of Isaac and Darkest Dungeon, feature a story mode that gives you a reason for why you are doing what you are doing.

Who's this panda?

Since Gunfire Reborn is still in Early Access, there’s a chance the devs will add more lore to the game to give it some context. We might even get to know who’s that panda we see The Crown Prince and Ao Bai with in the game’s main menu.

But even in Early Access, Gunfire Reborn offers great value for money. I currently have 11 hours of playtime, and I have only reached the second boss, so I have plenty more ahead of me. The game feels very polished – the controls are tight and the weapons are very diverse like an FPS roguelike should be. It’s an absolute steal on Steam.

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