Enter the Gungeon (PS4 Review)
Developed by Dodge Roll and published by Revolver Digital comes Enter the Gungeon, a new dungeon crawling roguelike reminiscent of The Binding of Isaac. I tried to find a wittier play on words, but it was nigh on impossible and shows just how clever Enter the Gungeon is. A clever understanding of words and how to play on them is a concurrent theme throughout the entire experience.
The whole point of Enter the Gungeon is to claim the “gun that kills the past” while fighting against the gun wielding Cult of the Gundead. You have a choice of 4 players, each burdened by a deep regret and in search of a way to change their past – no matter the cost.There characters; the Marine, the Pilot, the Convict & the Hunter, each start with their own gun, ability/skills and items. These starting items are key to each character, as they are defining features and the only weapons that have unlimited resources, something that will prove vital as your progress through the dungeon and find yourself overwhelmed by enemies.
Enter the Dungeon has a sort of Dark Souls feel to it in relation to being given basic instructions on how to move, shoot, and dodge but once you enter the dungeon you’re on your own until you either make your way through all the chambers to the end game or you die. And you will die. A lot. The slightest mistimed dodge or movement can see you losing a lot of health, or pushing up daisies if you aren’t careful.
Dodge Roll has presented a simple game with so much variety and a copious number of objects to find. Every gun you unlock and enemy you defeat will appear in the “Ammonomicon”, which will keep all you completionists busy for a good while. With 150+ guns, 200+ items, 75+ enemies & a handful of bosses to be unlocked, Enter the Gungeon will keep those who pick it up for the forseeable future.
One of the things I liked most about Enter the Gungeon is the procedurally generated dungeons, forever keeping you on your toes as they appear to be forever changing and mixing it up. I know that’s the whole point of these types of games, but it’s executed well. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve played through the dungeons, and while some rooms are similar or the same, I’ve yet to come across a dungeon that’s been similar to the last. It’s a good way to keep the game fresh and will prevent you from getting bored.
You can also expect find numerous helpful NPCs to rescue along the way which you can talk to when you find yourself back in the main area or the Breach. These can open up some sidequests, which sometimes start in the Breach or during a dungeon run, or open up new shops – again these are available either in the Breach or you will randomly come across them during a run. That’s not to say that there is no merchant in the dungeon, however, in fact he can also be found in the Breach . But these unlockable merchants usually have better, but more expensive, items and weapons.
The further you progress in your current run the higher the stakes will be, once you’ve been killed you will lose everything you’ve collected up to that point. Upon death you are provided with a brief synopsis of your run, detailing things like time taken, but also the negative things to remind you how died and all the items you’ve lost. It’s not fun knowing you’ve messed up to have it confirmed with “Killed By: Your Own Slow Reflexes”, although it does guide you towards the mistakes you made to educate the next run.
Enter the Gungeon provides a good few Easter egg collectibles for you to find, like a megaman gun, called a Bubble Gun, or an Iron Coin item with the inscription “Valar Morgunis” which is a reference to the phrase “Valar Morghulis” from Game of Thrones. There’ll be plenty more for you to find along the way and they can all be looked over in the “Ammonomicon”.
There’s a couple of things that let Enter the Gungeon down for me unfortunately. First I’ll need to explain that sometimes when you clear a room a teleport ring will activate, which means rather than having to walk back through a load of empty rooms you can teleport directly to a transport ring from the map. That’s the handy part, the not so handy part was when I tried this, a handful of times it froze the run. Not the whole game surprisingly as I was able to pause and return to the Breach, but I couldn’t continue with my current run which was infuriating, especially if I had a collection of really good weapons.
Lastly is the aiming feature. While the aiming, using the right analogue stick, is fine it tends to shift the camera in that direction. For example, if I’m aiming down the room the camera will move, so I’m at the top of the screen, effectively making anything to north of me out of shot. Making it more likely to get shot or get surrounded quickly. I know this could probably be easily avoided by having a quick scan of the area, but if you’re in a large room with multiple Gundead shooting at you then it’s not easy to do this. It’s just a bit annoying.
Overall Enter the Gungeon has plenty to keep you busy, whether it’s collecting everything and filling up the “Ammonomicon” or just attempting to finish it with each of the characters. Trust me it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’re always going to find something different to keep each dungeon fresh and interesting. If you’re lucky enough to transport and it not freeze then you should have a fun time with your multiple dungeon runs.
Editor’s Note: This review was written by @M_Targaryen on twitter, you can find ask him everything you want about the game there. If you are interested in his other work it can be found at TheGameJar and XboxLiveGamerHub, so please give him a wee follow and a bit of support for helping us out here at ReadersGambit.