I totally forgot to post this review because I was too caught up playing Dark Souls 3!
April 10th, 2016
Time Played: 19 Hours
Last played: 4/10/2016
Enter the Gungeon: Lube up
Enter the Gungeon is the new kid on the rogue-like block, it came out on the 5th of April and it’s already making waves. Apparently it was so anticipated that it made profit in something like eight hours. Which is super awesome! You did good Dodge Roll!
Enter the Gungeon is an incredibly polished Rogue-like/lite that could be described as The Binding of Isaac, meets Nuclear Throne. Which I know means that some of you just started salivating already. I can say without a doubt that Enter the Gungeon is a really, really good game. It’s hard as nails, fun, and has a LOT of personality.
The premise of the game being that a massive gun-dungeon, gungeon, was built on an alien planet… And housed within is a gun that can “kill the past.”
But if you watched the trailer, then you already know that!
Like you would expect from a rogue-like, the game’s levels are procedurally generated- while also following a set of parameters. You’ll always have at least two item chests and a shop, for example. The different floors are made up of pre-fab rooms that are stitched together by the generation algorithm. But fear not, there is a nice variety and I’ve never had a level that felt “samey”. I’ve definitely ran into most of the rooms on a few of the floors; but they never feel tired or overused. There are also secrets for you to discover! They’re pretty hard to find… Trust me.
And like any game in this genre it’s hart wie Scheiße, and wants to make you cry bitter tears of regret and misery. Let me reiterate: Enter the Gungeon is hard… Harder than Isaac, harder than Nuclear Throne… It’s definitely a 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
But a big question that always needs to be answered with ‘hard games’ is: “is it fair?” And to be honest. Sometimes Enter the Gungeon doesn’t feel fair. Sometimes the game feels pretty damn stacked against you. There are several bosses in particular that I feel need to be tweaked. They’re essentially a death sentence. But overall, I would say that it’s fair enough. Eighty-five percent of the time if I get hit, or die. It’s probably my fault. The other fifteen percent is reine scheisse!
But that hasn’t stopped me from playing! I’ve put 19 hours into the game in five days. So that should really tell you something. There is just something addicting about Enter the Gungeon’s design. Something about it keeps making me want to come back for more… Despite get frustrated and wanting to punch a wall every run. That’s this genre for you. Screaming profanities and hitting your desk, while silently whispering “one more.”
One of my favorite factors of Enter the Gungeon is it’s wonderful personality. It doesn’t take itself very seriously. And many of the guns, and characters are references to popular culture– or puns. Such as the Windup Gun. A great reference to a particular episode of Futurama. Or the Ammoconda… a rather difficult second level boss.
Or better yet Bullet Hell. A lower level of the Gungeon. And a genre of video games.
This game goes hard on the puns. And I love it.
It also helps that the game’s personality carries over into a wonderful artstyle and very beautiful pixel graphics. The shaders this game uses give it a great look. It almost reminds me of how really old 2D fighting games looked back in the day. Plus the screen is constantly full of different light sources and cute little enemies all shooting hot lead at your person. You’ll walk into a room, and it’s pristine. You’ll leave and it looks like a bomb went off. And, well… Sometimes bombs do go off…
Enter the Gungeon’s controls are pretty good. Sometimes they can get in the way, and it becomes difficult to avoid the oncoming wall of bullets trying to occupy the same space as you; but usually those moments are few and far between. There have been moments where I felt cheated because the game didn’t do what I wanted, but usually it could be correlated back to me not realizing I was facing the wrong direction.
But, the real reason any of us are here– is the combat. And if it’s not good then what’s the point?
Well good news, cause the combat feels pretty damn good. There is a nice rhythm to each firefight. Punctuated by death and gunfire.
You start your run with a basic handgun that has unlimited ammo. And through exploration you can find chests that, usually, contain more powerful weapons. And most of them feel different and unique in some way. There are some really cool guns, and some really powerful ones. Like the Rail Gun, or the Beehive. It’s literally a beehive, you just shake it at the enemy.
And then there are some dumb joke weapons… like the T-Shirt Cannon. I’m fairly certain it actually does slightly less damage than the starting gun. Which is disappointing.
As a whole I find that the guns you find aren’t strict upgrades to your starting weapon. They’re fairly situational. Some are so good they’re almost too powerful. Others are garbage. Most guns fill a niche and have their appropriate uses. And this is one of my sticking points with Enter the Gungeon. A lot of the guns, although useful, don’t feel as powerful as you would expect them to.
For example, the basic revolver takes three shots to kill a Bulletkin, that basic enemy, on level one. ‘The Phoenix’ is one of the many pistols you can find, or buy. It takes the same amount of shots to kill a Bulletkin. The difference being that it’s muzzle flair can set enemies on fire. But in order to set them on fire you have to be fairly close, putting yourself in danger. And it usually does me more harm than good. I don’t really like the Phoenix.
Another example would be the Witch Pistol. It deals the same damage or, perhaps slightly less than the starting guns. But has a chance to turn enemies into chickens when hit. Which honestly is super powerful. However, I find it procs on a last hit just as much as a first hit. Which always makes me scrunch my nose in disappointment. But I should state for the record, I like the Witch Pistol.
It’s kind of a mixed bag.
Although, keep in mind these are only two examples… There are something like one hundred and ninety guns in this game. So I am nowhere near even close to having seen them all. But it should be known that I’ve found that the guns I am excited to see are heavily outweighed by the ones I am not.
I think this is becuase Enter the Gungeon seems to be a game about ‘making it work’. The game focuses more on your ability to adapt and react than say, The Binding of Isaac does. Which routinely lets you break the game. Even a really good run with ten very powerful guns can crumble after a few bad rooms.
One reason for this is that the game is particularly stingy when it comes to dropping health, ammo, or they keys required to open chests. Also money is usually almost always tight. I feel as though the game might be a bit unbalanced in this area. I’ve gone through the first two levels without ever getting a key and either had to spend what money I had on a new gun, or health.
An example of this is: there is a secret level you can access on the first floor that requires two keys to enter. Luckily you start with one. However there have been times where the second key didn’t drop, and one was not for sale so I was completely unable to access the optional level. Despite me jumping through the hoops to access it, I wasn’t able to enter it. And that felt pretty bad.
I did read on Reddit that the devs recently increased the drop rate of keys, and maybe other consumables. But I haven’t played enough since the patch to know if that’s the case.
Enter the Gungeon is unapologetically hard, and doesn’t offer you much help. It expects you to make it work and to get on it’s level. And in some cases I think that there might be a bit too much of a gap. But that hasn’t stopped me from really enjoying the game.
Now, You might be asking yourself, “Well… Should I get Enter the Gungeon?” And I think the best way to answer that is:
Yes, with an if. Or. No, with a but.
I think that yes you should get Enter the Gungeon if you don’t mind getting your ass handed to you by a video game. And you know that you enjoy rogue-like, or bullet hell, games in general. Enter the Gungeon is a wonderful title with style.
On the other hand…
I would say no don’t buy the game if the high difficulty is going to impact your ability to enjoy it. If you’re not the type to enjoy Rogue-likes don’t waste your money. Get something that you know you will like. This game is really tough. But, despite all of the negative things I have said about the game I’m still actively playing it and enjoying every single run.
I may sound harsh in this review, but I think that’s just because I really like Enter the Gungeon; despite it’s flaws and my own frustrations. There is a really wonderful game here that might just be a tad bit too difficult. A few tweaks could really even out the experience. I plan to keep playing and have really loved my time with it. Enter the Gungeon is not perfect by any stretch but I can definitely see the devs either ironing them out, or myself just getting past them.
A guy on my friends list has already put like 60 hours into the game and beaten it with every character. So it can’t be that hard… right?
Enter the Gungeon is $15 bucks. Check it out.