Behind the ridiculous storyline of Enter the Gungeon lurks an incredible, extremely tough game. The plot about heroes striving to locate a weapon that can slay the past is so demanding that we are ecstatic when we complete the first level after a dozen attempts.
The Dodge Roll studio’s creation mixes heritage and contemporary. On the one hand, we explore typical dungeons right out of dungeon crawlers, but on the other hand, the residents of the underworld are mostly alive ammo, and instead of swords and axes, we have a broad choice of weaponry at our disposal. Shootouts occasionally remind me of Western movies, because we may shelter from enemy fire behind tables, toppling them over and making a great mess in the process. We will die dozens of times while playing, and our survival will be primarily dependent on how skillfully we dodge bullets. The confrontations, as seen from above, require continually dodging enemy fire and hunting for opportunities to destroy successive, varied opponents. Flawless play necessitates expertise – we must feel the time immediately before the hit to do a roll, during which we are immune to injury for a second or two. Without this ability, it is nearly impossible to complete the most difficult battles and boss confrontations, as the chambers are filled with a hail of gunfire.
The game involves quick reflexes and challenges you to understand how each opponent strikes so that you can instantly move out of the line of the bullets. We’re constantly moving, evading gunshots from all sides. A diverse weaponry comes to the rescue. We can deal far more damage with a T-shirt rifle or an anvil thrower than with a standard handgun or crossbow. We get an edge if we can uncover some passive enhancements or a device that replenishes itself from time to time. However, this does not imply that the game becomes easier. When we finish the first level and fight the boss, we go on to a new board where the difficulty level considerably increases. This is the appeal of Enter the Dungeon: rather than plodding through a dozen or so levels, the difficulty raises just little between them, Dodge Roll has created a game in which each set of corridors you finish is a huge success for us. Not only do our adversaries strive to murder us, but the underworld itself frequently turns against us. We occasionally have to fast roll through a room full of traps or precisely timing a sequence of leaps on platforms that light up and go out to complete a stage. The repetitiveness of the gameplay is well hidden by a plethora of treasures that make each approach unique. Aside from weapons and gadgets, practically every level features a unique chamber that provides healing, damage bonuses, or unlocks characters to be faced later in the game, such as an additional merchant. Secrets are also very important since they lead to new levels and the rewards concealed inside them.
It’s wonderful that the developers don’t have you shatter every container in quest of scales – they’re automatically gathered after each combat. We don’t have to worry about missing anything because health and armor are clearly highlighted on the map. It was also quite smartly solved to move about the location. Almost every room has a teleporter, which allows you to save time. Enter the Gungeon is visually one of the greatest pixel-art games. When we topple tables or blow up bookshelves and barrels, the detailed rooms shift. It’s fun to go through spaces where you can tell there were gunshots flying everywhere only a second before. The game not only looks fantastic, but it also sounds well, with a terrific music enticing you to enter the twisting maze.
Devolver Digital has once again demonstrated that it understands which indie games are worth backing. The Dodge Roll studio’s creation is very addicting, and the variety of difficulties it provides ensures dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of amazing fun.