Enter The Gungeon: Review

Publisher: Devolver DigitalDeveloper: Dodge RollPlatforms: PS4, PC (Reviewed)Release: April 5thEnter The Gungeon is about as about as much of an ambassador for the “bullet hell” genre as one could hope. It’s stressful, overwhelming, taxing, and it’ll push the most ninja-like of reflexes to their limits, and most of all it’s a total blast, both in the literal and figurative sense. Viciously challenging and infinitely rewarding in spades, this is a game for players with a thick skin.Players can select from four characters in the beginning. Naturally, each avatar sports different attributes, strengths and weaknesses that bring variety to each run in the gauntlet. Known as the “gungeoneers”, the game explains that each of these marauders has a unique motive for entering the titular lead laden labyrinth, which holds a powerful weapon capable of literally erasing the past. Delving into the depths of the Gungeon in search of the fabled firearm invites the player to take part in a humorous and intriguing narrative, brimming to the gills with an eccentric cast of characters, from the towering boss encounters to the shop keepers in the hub world.Naturally with a title that’s 50 per cent pun and 50 per cent gun, it’s fair to assume that the Gungeon is heavy on trigger happy action. There are guns everywhere in this game, and that’s even before the player starts unlocking them in vendors. The variety is delightfully copious and the game’s sense of humour really shines as soon as one is able to get their mittens on some of the more out-there options.One of the personal highlights of the game’s arsenal is a gun that quite literally spells out the word bullet as its primary fire. Curiously, the game doesn’t allow to inspect the specific stats of each weapon which nulls the sense of strategy. Of course, simple math would lead anybody to think that an assault rifle should outclass a pistol, but not being able to discern which weapon is best for which situation is a bit of a strange omission nonetheless. However, this doesn’t hinder the ability to enjoy the game, as the real joy lies is zipping like a maniac inbetween streams of enemy fire, trying to identify your character in an avalanche of exploding pixels and feeling a million bullets ricocheting off one another all at once. That’s Enter The Gungeon at it’s best, but it can also be its downfall at times.This is an intense game. No doubt about it. But sometimes it’s a little too intense for its own good. Death is a cruel mistress in Enter The Gungeon as it demands a complete rerun of the randomly generated dungeon with inventory stripped of all the awesome pickups acquired along the way. In this sense, Enter The Gungeon is very reminiscent of games like The Binding Of Isaac, and it is nice to feel the marginal sense of improvement that comes with each crushing defeat. That won’t save the game from the inevitable temper tantrums born of losing to a cheap skirmish with a powerful boss late in the run. The option for a lower difficulty would have been appreciated. Luckily, the game packs a couch co-op mode to alleviate any single player stress, giving a friend the chance to play as a support mage to aid against the onslaught. All loot and other resources are shared between players so be sure to be a good sport.Enter The Gungeon doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it takes the wheel and near perfects it. It’s tough as nails and lightning fast, and while it won’t convert sceptics of the genre, it’s destined to please players in need of a good shot in the arm.