Anyone familiar with dungeon crawlers like the Binding of Isaac has probably heard of Enter the Gungeon. It initially released in 2016 for PC, PS4, Xbox One as a digital-only game and later became available on Nintendo Switch. Due to how well it has been received, the game has even gotten a physical copy on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. I got my hands on the physical copy and played it for several hours.
You play as one of four gun-toting characters or "Gungeoneers": The Marine, The Pilot, The Convict, and The Hunter. Each character has their own unique weapons and abilities and thus provides varied gameplay. The point is to dive into an ever-evolving dungeon in order to take down enemies and ultimately "kill your past." A good chunk of your enemies are adorable bullets or "Gundead" bent on destroying you by shooting smaller versions of themselves. Just be wary, if you die at the hand of these cute lead heads you'll have to start over. The physical copy has additional unlockable characters for you to play and supplies a few extra rooms to discover, as well.
While the main part of the game is intended for single-player, you can play local co-op with the second player taking on a fifth character known as The Cultist. The reason to love this game isn't just for the fun 16-bit art style, all of the allusions to classic gaming, or the randomized rooms. What really makes this game fun is how it doesn't take itself too seriously and provides a fun challenge for casual and intense gamers alike. Here's my review on the physical copy of Enter the Gungeon: Deluxe Edition.
Beware the Gundead
Dive on in
Bottom line: This is a super fun game for anyone who loves dungeon crawlers and has a good sense of humor. The characters are quirky and the dialogue hilarious. Challenge yourself to see if you can address the regrets of the four protagonists and set their minds at peace while blasting your way from one randomly generated dungeon after another.
- Challenging randomized dungeons
- Plenty of replay value
- A variety of guns and items
- Two-player local co-op
- Hilarious characters
- Fun art style
- I wish it was 4-player
- Can be a bit repetitive
A fun roguelike dungeon crawler
Enter the Gungeon What I like
Though this is technically a shooter, Enter the Gungeon doesn't take itself too seriously. The main point of the game is to have fun and see how well you can do when you only have one life to lose. The NPCs are hilarious and many of the enemies are either cute or so over-the-top (I'm looking at you Gatling Gull) that you can't help but smile to yourself as you play. Humor is a key element in this game. It easily seeps into every game mechanics without disrupting gameplay to really make the game worthwhile.
Guns and gear: Finding awesome loot
Each of the four protagonists starts with their own unique weapons and abilities, but as you'd expect, these starter weapons are pretty simple. As you explore the gungeon you'll defeat enemies who drop loot or come across chests filled with more powerful gear. The best thing about the loot is that it's often silly. For instance, one of my favorite weapons is the T-Shirt Cannon, which kills my enemies by hurling a flurry of purple fabric at them.
There are over 200 guns to be found in Enter the Gungeon and a good chunk of them or ridiculously awesome like the Teapot, Unicorn Horn, Mailbox, and plenty of others. Each weapon has its own stats including shot speed, reload time, fire rate, amount of damage, and magazine size. With this many options for you to find, you never know which items you'll come across. That seriously helps make the game feel like a new experience each play-through.
In addition to shooting, characters can use items, jump over tables, dodge bullets, or prop tables up as shields. This gives you plenty of opportunities to protect yourself from shots and use objects in the room to your advantage.
Local co-op: Fun for two players
Much like other dungeon crawlers out there, this one allows you to play with a friend. While the first player can choose to play as any of the protagonists, the second player's only option is The Cultist, a figure in a purple robe. Together you can charge into new rooms and take down your opponents. Two-player co-op is obviously less of a challenge since there are two of you fighting your way through instead of one. The game reflects the thought that multiplayer gaming is likely meant to be less intense and so The Cultist comes with a Friendship Cookie in his inventory. This is a one-use item that can bring someone back from the dead. It's perfect for a more casual gaming session.
In what I think is a hilarious nod to classic gaming history the second player isn't taken seriously by other characters in the game. The first player might get valuable information from NPCs, but the second player will often get reminded that they aren't important and that the NPC doesn't care to talk to them (as seen in the screenshot above). Adding to this, the second player's starter weapon is a toy gun, but it can do just as much damage as an actual one.
Death log: Goading you to do better
I know there are some of us who are intense gamers and can blast through this game in no time. But, should you die, the game pulls up your stats from that round and displays them on the screen. Perhaps my favorite part of this overview is the picture showing your unceremonious demise. At any rate, you get to see how long you lasted, which items you obtained, how many kills you made, and how much money you acquired. It's a great way to keep tabs on how well you did before and push yourself to do better next time.
The extras: Things found in the physical copy
If you order the physical copy of Enter the Gungeon, you'll get a few perks along with the game. You'll receive a code for the original soundtrack, a set of four stickers, and a kit for building a paper Bullet Kin figure. Software-wise, the physical version includes all DLC, including additional playable characters and secret rooms. You'll also get the Shotgun Kin skin, which is exclusive to the physical copy. Whether you've played the game before or are playing for the first time, having more characters to play and more rooms to discover, let's you get more fun out of this game.
Not enough options
Enter the Gungeon: What I Don't Like
As with most games. things aren't 100% perfect. Enter the Gungeon is a great game overall that I highly recommend, but it does have a few areas that could use improvement.
A bit repetitive: Not enough variation
Even though the obstacles, rooms, enemy types, and the number of enemies you face differ from one room to the next, the game can get incredibly repetitive. I mean that's the point, though. It's live, die, repeat. It's bound to be repetitive. While it's not the worst offender in this genre, sessions can get old pretty quickly. The variety of weapons and rooms you come across helps break up the monotony, but you will eventually need a break from the game. I think this is due, in part, to the lack of variation. If there was just a few more room types or a few more characters to pick from, the game could be more interesting. The physical copy makes it possible to unlock additional characters, which is great, but I wish there were more characters to choose from the start. As it is, it's still a phenomenal dungeon crawler.
Only two-player: Why not four-player?
I know this isn't something that everyone will agree with, but I think it would have been fun if you could have four gamers playing at once in local co-op. Admittedly, this could cause some camera issues or make it frustrating for players who want to move on from a room but are stuck waiting for their friends to finish destroying every last item they can see. As the game currently works, adding more players would also make the game much less of a challenge. Regardless of all that, I still think blazing my way through various rooms and blasting enemies alongside three of my friends would make for a fun gaming session.
A great game for your library
Enter the Gungeon: The Bottom Line
Enter the Gungeon is a super fun dungeon crawl with guns. The number of potential weapons, enemies, and items you can come across makes each play-through unique. I wish there were just a few more playable characters since it would provide even more variation. As it is, this is a great game. The weapons are either hilarious or simply fun to wield and since there are over 200 of them, you'll come across new favorites regularly. This is a great choice for intense gamers since you only have one life to lose before needing to start over. If you want a break from single-player or would like a slightly easier experience, connect a second controller and have a friend join you.
Beware the Gundead
Go in guns blazing
Bottom line: This is a great game for players who loves playing dungeon crawlers. You'll take on groups of enemies as you dive through this randomly generated dungeon, guns blazing. You can play single-player or local two-player co-op. In addition to the game, the physical copy of Enter the Gungeon comes with a code for the digital soundtrack, four stickers, and a paper Bullet Kin figure for you to assemble.
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