It was when my fire ant gun allowed me to ignite the ant’s flatulence, turning it into a weapon capable of accidentally igniting an entire room, that I knew Enter the Gungeon was going to be one of those games that I would not forget.
Enter the Gungeon is a rogue-like dungeon crawler that is heavy on the action-combat, and light on strategy. Valuing reaction speed over critical thinking, Enter the Gungeon rewards reflexes over strategic thinking. By nature, Enter the Gungeon is a game that requires players to grind through randomly-generated portions of the game, over and over, in order to slowly progress through the game. Thanks to the rapid combat, there is little downtime, so once you understand the basics, and are comfortable stomaching repeated deaths, Enter the Gungeon welcomes you with open arms.
Speaking of arms, one of my favorite things about Enter the Gungeon is the theme of it all.
Beyond the title, a pun on the word “dungeon”, the game features enemies shaped like bullets, others with gun-pun names (The Gatling Gull was one of my favorites), an item index called the Ammonomicon, and an elevator system that functions like a breech-loading weapon. Theme is rarely something that I specifically enjoy in a game. Usually I point out the game’s interesting story, or solid gameplay mechanics, but with Enter the Gungeon, I am all about the game’s tongue-in-cheek gun theme.
That’s not to say that the story, or gameplay mechanics, are to be overlooked. In Enter the Gungeon, like many dungeon crawlers, the story is whittled away as players become better and better at the game’s encounters and in dealing with the assortment of enemies. I’m roughly six hours in and the story is still in the early stages of unraveling.n I’m still very interested in seeing how it unfolds.
While the mystery plays out, the gameplay has kept the sometimes-repetitive experiences fresh and exciting. Enter the Gungeon is a free-roaming roguelike, so players can move their chosen character in any direction while simultaneously firing their gun in any direction. The gun variety is a hallmark of Enter the Gungeon and I found myself using weapons that ranged from traditional firearms to weaponized t-shirt cannons, and the aforementioned fire ant.
Don’t dismiss the graphics just yet either, they may be pixelated but the art design and interactivity of the environments can create some riveting gameplay moments. Bullets interact with objects in the levels; a missed shot may fly past an enemy and shatter a lantern, plunging that corner of the room into dim lighting; a table stacked with books that is flipped onto its side to be used for cover will send pages of the books fluttering out into the air; and as you likely saw in the video linked above, a room engulfed in flames is beautiful horror to behold.
The only moderately negative note that I wrote down while playing through the game is that because it’s so action-focused and highly dependent on super-concentration to weave through rooms filled with enemies filling the air with bullets, I find that I am mentally exhausted by the conclusion of my first or second run. It’s not that I’m burned out on the game, I just like to play games to relax and when my character eventually bites the dust, I find myself back in reality, hunched forward, leaning towards my monitor, my heart beating faster than it should for being so stationary, and my fingers stiff from the intensity of controlling my character through it all.
But Enter the Gungeon offers up some truly outrageous moments that have kept me coming back for more.
Verdict: Enter the Gungeon is a very fun, action-focused rogulike that features great high-intensity moments that pair well with the game’s light-hearted, thematic humor.
P.S. – My copy of Enter the Gungeon was purchased on my own.