Fans of Nuclear Throne and The Binding of Isaac will love Enter the Gungeon

Roguelike, twin-stick, bullet-hell dungeon crawling

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Since Nuclear Throne and The Binding of Isaac hit Steam, there have been numerous clones. To call Enter the Gungeon one would be unfair. While there are many similarities between them, it has enough variety to stand alongside those titles as a leader, instead of a follower.

If you’re the kind of person who loves long sessions across multiple runs of a game, you’re going to love entering the Gungeon.

Beginning by picking from four characters, each with different starting weapons and equipment, you go down into the Gungeon in search of a gun that can kill the past. What exactly does “a gun that can kill the past” mean? I’m not sure, but it sounds badass, so just go with it.

To get this mythical gun, you’ll have to make your way through hundreds of ammo-based enemies, starting with basic bullets and shotgun shells, both of which fire how you’d expect their real-life counterparts to. Eventually, you’ll come across harder enemies that fill the screen bullet-hell style as you make your way deeper.

Don’t let those words scare you, though. While the difficulty gradually ramps up depending on how deep you are (giggity), the ability to dodge roll over bullets negates a lot of that, as does being able to kick over tables, hide behind them, and push them around as mobile cover. I’d be lying if I said the game was easy, but it certainly isn’t as brutal as most games that could be described as bullet hell. For comparison, I’d say Enter the Gungeon is just a smidge easier than Nuclear Throne.

Each floor of the Gungeon is laid out in a similar fashion to a dungeon from The Legend of Zelda, with at least one chest with an item in it, and a room harboring a boss. Instead of tediously backtracking, there’s an ability to warp to teleport points around the map via the minimap. As someone who hates to leave any area unexplored while dungeon crawling, I greatly appreciated this feature.

There is an enormous variety of guns that range from real weaponry like machine guns and shotguns to zanier weapons like t-shirt cannons and pillow guns. I’ve even found Mega Man’s Mega Buster that can shoot powerful charged shots as well as fast 8-bit bullets.

There are also ample bosses to fight though, so far, I’ve only come across around four different ones in my playtime. I’ve encountered a crow with a back-mounted Gatling gun (a Metal Gear Solid reference, I believe), the ‘gorgun’ known as Medusa, a king bullet sitting atop a throne of guns, and a giant snake. Each boss I’ve fought has been totally different from the others, and each has its own room layout. This keeps things fresh, and since there’s randomization, you won’t be fighting the same bosses over and over when doing subsequent runs.

As a whole, I’m enjoying Enter the Gungeon, from the graphics, to the difficulty, to the variety of weapons and bosses. Even the soundtrack is on point, which isn’t surprising when you consider it was done by Doseone, whose music you’ve heard in Gang Beasts and Samurai Gunn. The title screen music is especially catchy with the lyrics “Enter the Gungeon” that I’ve been humming to myself all day. You’ll get your chance to hum along when the game hits Steam and PlayStation 4 on April 5, 2016.

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Jed Whitaker
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