Not long ago, a little indie video game developer called Dodge Roll looked to the golden age of gaming, did its homework and created its first video game title Enter The Gungeon. This game was published by Devolver Digital (of Broforce fame) on April 6th for PS4 and PC. Ever since it entered my sphere of existence, I’ve been eating, breathing, sweating and dreaming about this game. Yes, it is that good. But I’m getting way ahead of myself!
Let’s check out the trailer for starters. Feast your eyes and ears on the killer visuals and polished sound. Tell me you do not want to play this game…
So, What The Hell is a Gungeon?
About this “Gungeon” game you’ve heard so much about lately. Take the concept of a dungeon crawler, then change the motif to guns and bullets. More precisely, guns shooting bullets at bullets shooting bullets at you while exploring underground dungeons. Hence, guns + dungeon = Gungeon. Yes, quite meta. But that’s part of the charm, and it will steal your heart like a newborn baby tiger. Its claws have dug dug deep into mine and won’t give it back. In just the first 30 days of its release, it’s been confirmed to have sold 400,000+ copies. That’s quite insane, but we’re only getting started here.
Enter The Gungeon is considered a hybrid of bullet hell (think gradius or other Japanese shoot em’ ups, often simply referred to as “shmups”) and roguelike genres. What does that mean? You’ll be facing a curtain of bullets from all directions while playing — especially during encounters with bosses — and the levels are also randomly generated, of which there are five to explore and die in. Rinse and repeat, the permadeath mechanic will string you along like a dog chasing bacon on a stick. You’ll be telling yourself “Just keep moving… just keep shooting…” and chances are, you won’t mind it in the least.
Here’s a nice comic style page illustrated by Deviant Art user Lastbeach which alone could make this game a cult classic!
Items, Guns and Secrets Galore
There’s a ridiculous number of guns and items that you can collect during your adventures through the Gungeon. Each has its own unique personality and strategy, making the game’s replay value go through the roof. You’ll need as many as possible to increase your odds of survival, as Gungeon is known for its difficulty and requires mastery of its patterns and fast-paced gameplay. There’s everything from wax wings to t-shirt cannons and mustaches to fish-shooting barrels. I find myself laughing out loud constantly at its zany antics.
Many secrets await the four “Gungeoneers” — the characters who shoot, dodge, and loot their way through the Gungeon in order to obtain “The Gun That Can Kill The Past” and undo the choices of their pasts that haunt them. And as many gamers know, secrets are what make great games truly exceptional. Thankfully, Gungeon delivers in spades. Remember the first time you played through Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and had your mind blown to pieces by its special ending? Well, Dodge Roll remembers, and it has added its own surprises to keep you coming back for more.
Graphics Made With Love <3
Gungeon’s graphical style is heavily influenced by the legendary pixel-art titles of time’s past, as the characters and enemies feature beautiful sprite-based animations and rich color palettes. Yes, a tip of the hat to the golden Era of gaming indeed! This is a personal favorite art style of mine and never seems to grow old when done right. Take the ephemeral movements and haunting elegance of Alucard in Symphony of the Night and combine them with Link’s overhead top-down cartoonish style in The Legend of Zelda and you’ve got yourself Gungeon’s charming and slightly aloof design. It is whimsical yet dangerously intelligent; never unoriginal nor feeling like a blatant copy of its predecessors. There’s a lot for other game studios to take away from here.
Check out this gallery of gameplay screenshots for a better understanding of what I’m talking about. There’s so much life and attention to detail here that I could swear I’m playing another timeless masterpiece made by Koji Igarashi circa 1997.
Sweet Music (Like Cotton Candy For Your Ears)
The music in this game is just awesome. Like laser-gun-meets-neon-nightclub awesome. It’s the perfect blend of energy and vibrance to match the insanely colorful graphics of the game. I couldn’t imagine crawling through these enemy-laden deathtraps to any other soundtrack! The results are simply fantastic. Check out the OST created by Doseone on Bandcamp or listen below. Every time my ears are graced with its dungeonpop beats, I want to jump into the sky and fistpump the heavens.
Community Resources, Tips and Strategies
After playing the game for a couple of hours, you might have some questions that require answers. Thankfully, Gungeon’s fanbase has created an official Enter The Gungeon Wiki to clarify all that which you seek. From characters to guns and bosses to items, you’ll find everything you need to know in order to advance through the Gungeon’s hellish levels and kill the absurdly challenging final boss. Secrets are also covered here, so I should point that you may not want to visit the wiki unless you’re okay with reading potential spoilers.
Having difficulties and moments of frustration with particular boss battles? Believe me, I feel and share your pain. If you’re open to guidance, check out the Enter the Gungeon: Boss Guide for helpful tips from the pros. This article provides techniques and links to YouTube videos that will surely take you from worm food to gun knight in no time.
If you’re the type of person that likes to get involved around a niche gaming community, check out the game’s official forums at Gungeoneers and dive right in. There’s so much buzz around Gungeon that it’s hard not to get drawn into every last detail.
Live Streaming on Twitch
As an active Twitch streamer, I’ve been archiving my playthroughs on my Protomanlives Twitch channel. To join in on the intense action, follow me on Twitch or subscribe to my Twitter @protomanlives87 for live stream notifications.
Below is a short video I recorded last week of my epic fight against the third level boss Cannonbalrog. There were so many close moments in this video where I should have died, but I managed to cheat death multiple times and won. Hopefully my fellow gungeoneers will experience some of the luck I had here while exploring the depths of the Gungeon!
May your trials in the Gungeon be plentiful and enjoyable.