This title was reviewed on PC, but is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
If you loved titles like Undertale, The Textorcist, and The Binding of Isaac, then you might want to take a look at DodgeRoll’s title, nay, gem: Enter the Gungeon. Why a gem, you might ask? Keep reading to find out.
Enter the Gungeon is an 8-bit bullet-hell game, so it’s understandable that the story isn’t its strongest aspect. Although, DodgeRoll didn’t just leave us with some generic “kill villain to win” story, they went beyond that. You may choose between four “unlikely” heroes to enter the Gungeon, a place not for the weak, in order to reach your goal: Killing the past. Be careful though, for the Gungeon is rigged with traps and enemies, and it’s where the ultimate villain resides: The Lich. Defeat him, and you finally achieve your ambition. Enter the Gungeon gives you a very brief and vague summary of the story at launch, and then it lets you figure it out through gameplay. It’s very enjoyable and it grants you the freedom to focus on unmasking the story yourself or just focusing on gameplay.
Enter the Gungeon is seriously addictive. It’s so catchy, and its roguelike elements only make you want to come back for more. See, in Enter the Gungeon, no two runs are the same. The rooms are procedurally generated, with new layouts and enemies each time you retry, the items you earn change every time, your guns, etc… The Gungeon is divided into six chambers, but there are secret ones if you’re good enough to find them. Every chamber ends with a boss fight that rewards you with a lot of stuff before going to the next chamber where the enemies scale to a higher difficulty. It’s really challenging and fun being as tactical and strategic as possible to survive and make your way through hell, especially since you only have three ways to dodge bullets: Blanks, Dodge Rolling, or the iconic Table Flipping. Blanks are limited items that negate all bullets in the room and prevent enemies from shooting for a brief period of time, dodge rolling gives you immunity as you roll towards a certain direction, and table flipping makes tables act as a cover for a few bullets before breaking.
Of course, there are also items and guns that allow you to do things such as deflect bullets, make them harmless, and so on, and that adds to how Enter the Gungeon doesn’t have a “meta”, allowing you to play the game however you want. Although, I can’t get over how staggering it is to die in this game. It is SO punishing to see that little clock animation when you die, knowing that all your progress is now forever lost and you need to go back again. Can you imagine dying to a basic bullet on the 5th chamber after you gathered six different guns and a buttload more of items? Thankfully, though, thanks to your encounters in your many runs, you unlock new shops that allow you to buy new items and guns that would appear in your future runs. The currency is “Hegemony Credits”, which you earn by defeating chamber bosses. Speaking of currencies, there is also a merchant in the Gungeon itself! It’s a shop where you can stop to supply yourself by buying new items, armor and guns, and by refilling your HP & Blanks. The currency for the merchant is coins, which you earn by killing enemies.
Visuals & Sound
I think it’s justifiable from the pictures above when I say that Enter the Gungeon’s pixel art is one of the most beautiful art-styles in the industry. I might be slightly biased, though, because I absolutely love the game and pixel art in general, though. Everything is designed following a strict “gun” theme. This means heart slots, coins, blanks, names, everything. Despite this, nothing feels repetitive, despite the crazy amount of items and guns EtG has to offer: every asset has its own unique design. Even when there are a billion things happening on your screen, you will never feel lost or overwhelmed thanks to the clean graphics. Also, you will enjoy the subtle sense of humour and references hidden throughout the game. The soundtrack only adds to the immersion of the experience, especially if you have headphones on. It never feels noisy as well, no matter how many bullets and explosions happen at the same time.
I played the OG Enter the Gungeon (2016), and I have to say I’m very proud of what it became. Seeing the progress the game made over the years made me a happy man and it makes me sad that it reached the end of its journey after the last update. It will always stay a gem in my heart and I will always rank it as one of the best bullet-hell games I have ever played.