ABOUT:

  • Developer: Dodge Roll

  • Publisher: Devolver Digital

  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

  • Release Date: April 5th, 2016

  • Price: $14.99

  • Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

  • Review Code Provided: No

Enter the Gungeon is a true love letter to the gaming community and everything it stands for. Packed full of love by Dodge Roll, and published by Devolver Digital who are known for putting out consistent quality, every little piece of Enter the Gungeon is based on love and care for pop culture and video games.

The game is a rouge-like room based loot grabbing shooter bullet hell with expansive randomized levels and enough content to keep you playing for hundreds of hours.

At its core, Enter the Gungeon’s gameplay can be broken down into running and shooting. But of course, things go much deeper than that. The main form of maneuvering and avoiding attacks, and the mechanic that makes the game so unique, is the aptly named “dodge roll”. This move allows you to jump over and through bullets, leading to a sense of momentum and pride with the player’s mobility.

There are a variety of enemy types which will challenge the player, from knights wielding swords which fire large waves of bullets to be dodged over; to books who spell out different letters in bullets, then fire them at you. See, words can hurt!

Each floor also contains a boss fight, with each floor’s bosses generally getting more difficult as the game progresses. These can range from a snake who eats other parts of itself that spawn on the stage, a clear reference to Snake; the Kill Pillars, a set of four statues representing different figures in Enter the Gungeon lore (ah, yes, Enter the Gungeon has somewhat deep lore, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys that!), meaning you need to take out each one separately, lowering their attack selection the more you kill; or maybe even the boss of the fifth chamber, the Dragun, who has a variety of attacks using many different guns with the sole purpose of ending your run at the very end.

After the final update, Enter the Gungeon has a whopping 8 playable characters to choose from. Each character has a different set of starting items, leading to completely different play styles depending on who you decide to play as. There’s the Pilot, an inaccurate, spunky, Han Solo-type character who relies on luck and charm to get past. Or what about the Bullet, yet another Legend of Zelda reference, from the fact that his starting weapon is a sword that shoots beams at full health to his past being a blatant reference to A Link to the Past.

The pasts are one of the final goals of the game, only unlocked after collecting every piece of the bullet to kill the past (very aptly named). Each character has a unique one to discover, giving some small backstory for dedicated fans to relish in.

Each level of the Gungeon contains two chests, ranked by tiers D-S, D being the (usual) worst items and S being the most powerful. The guns and items are where the game really shines, ranging from your regular old AK-47s and Mac-10’s, to more unusual weapons like Black Hole Guns and Pitchforks that shoot fireballs from their prongs. 

Though the larger selection of weapons and items in Enter the Gungeon come from hundreds of references to games, movies and more. Some of these include a Box that you can hide in and gain invisibility (an obvious reference to the Box from the Metal Gear Solid games), a weapon named the Fire Hand that allows you to shoot fireballs from your fingertips (of course, the Fire powerup from Super Mario Bros.), and a gun called the Tetrominator, which shoots Tetris pieces, with the line piece of course being the most powerful of the bunch.

Even some enemies are referencing media, like the Gun Fairy, who sometimes spawns out of pots, and instead of healing you to full health like their Legend of Zelda counterparts, instead shoot at you and try to take your health to zero. Or what about the Gripmaster, another Legend of Zelda reference? Similarly to the Wallmaster, Gripmaster sends you back a few rooms if you fail to dodge him, forcing you to refight enemies you’ve already defeated.

There are a seemingly endless number of these references placed into the game, and you can tell that the developers put a lot of love and care into the selection.

There are an incredible amount of unlockables and secrets in the game, leading to hours and hours of fulfilling play. One of the things that turns some players off from the game is the difficulty, and while the game does start off very punishing, and it may take an average player 5 or more hours just to complete the first floor, it never really feels in vain, as these unlockables and new items are coming at the player constantly, pushing them forward to see what’s next. A single run of the game usually only takes about 30-40 minutes, but there are over 200 hours worth of content packed into a deceptively small shell.

Besides the gameplay, Enter the Gungeon presents itself in a way that seems familiar yet unique. The pixelated graphics are all beautifully crafted, and many things in the game are direct references to guns. The elevator to the next floor is a bullet, the door to the boss is a bullet, the boss is a bullet, this GUN IS A BULLET-

The music in the game is also incredibly catchy, with so many unique sounding and exciting tracks, you may even find yourself jamming out in the shop!

Overall, Enter the Gungeon is a nearly perfect game. Endless content, exciting gameplay, appealing graphics and music, and more references and puns than anything you’ve ever seen. The game’s final free update, a Farewell to Arms, released in mid-April, and the game is going on sale for half off all the time nowadays, which means there’s little excuse not to pick it up. It’s honestly difficult to find something to complain about with the game, which is why it deserves a perfect score.

10/10

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