While Enter the Gungeon, developed by Dodge Roll and published by Devolver Digital was initially released in 2016, it was recently offered for free on the Epic Games Store, which brought this game back on my radar. I decided it would be worth revisiting, as I remembered it being an enjoyable challenge in the past. Enter the Gungeon is a dungeon crawler centered around gunfights. With a wide cast of characters, hundreds of items, and procedurally generated levels, no two playthroughs are the same.
At its core, Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell twin-stick shooter roguelite that has drawn comparisons to The Binding of Isaac, another popular rogue-lite shooter. It is hectic, chaotic, difficult, and certainly not for everyone. In fact, my first few cracks at Enter the Gungeon were ill-fated, to say the least. If you’ve played roguelites before, you know the drill. You’ll find yourself dying time and time again while you learn proper kiting patterns for each enemy you encounter, in addition to simply learning the basics of the game itself. If you’re new to the genre, it can be a little discouraging at first, but part of the fun is watching yourself improve and get further and further with every attempt.
One of the things that makes Enter the Gungeon special is the wide range of guns your character can pick up and use. You have the potential to use a magnum, sure, but you could also find a T-shirt cannon, or perhaps a unicorn horn that shoots rainbow lasers at enemies. There are also a wide range of items that can give you buffs and alter your experience greatly. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with item and gun combinations to find the best synergies. Since you’ll find different guns and items each time you play, each experience feels fresh and presents new challenges to overcome.
Enter the Gungeon’s art style is beautifully pixelated, and at times feels reminiscent of classic arcade games. There are also gorgeous portraits for each boss that erupt with character and color. This, paired with humorous flavor text and a well-written story adds to the overall charm of the game. Each of the playable characters has a unique design and quirks as well, which makes it difficult to pick a favorite.
Enter the Gungeon’s gameplay mechanics can be a little tricky to understand at first, and even harder to master if you’re unfamiliar with twin-stick shooters, as I was before playing this game. I found it drastically easier to use a controller than to use a mouse and keyboard, but I’m sure some may prefer the latter. There is a steep learning curve, and if you’re looking for a relaxing game, Enter the Gungeon probably won’t fit the bill. Having said that, it is a deeply entertaining game with nearly endless replay potential, and occasional updates to add more to an already expansive experience.
You can play Enter the Gungeon on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. You can purchase it for $14.99 on Steam, the Epic Games Store, and the Microsoft Store. It is currently also available for $7.49 on the Nintendo eShop and the Playstation Store.