Enter the Gungeon Review

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.

[Enter the Gungeon on Steam]

P.S. – My copy of Enter the Gungeon was purchased on my own.

Gone Home Review

This is going to be a short review, not because Gone Home is a short game (though I did complete it in around 2 hours), but because I really don’t have much to say about the game. It is what it is. Gone Home is a game about coming home from traveling abroad to find out that your entire family (consisting of a sister, a mother, and a father) are not home. As the game progresses you slowly unravel what’s been happening with your family while you’ve been away from home and out traveling.

Gone Home takes place in the early 1990s so texting, Skype, and Facebook messaging are not around yet. It serves to explain why I’m a member of the family, yet have no idea what’s been really going on with my family for the past year. It’s a narrative stretch, but it works.

Gone Home Review

The concept that this girl, even if this was her first time at the house that her family had just moved in to, would need to move from room to room to figure out what happened to her family and snooping through pretty much every drawer she comes across, was just too far-fetched for me to really get into. Surely this girl would be more resourceful than to just wander through the entire house, room to room, like a lost puppy, as the game forces you to do. She did just spent the last chunk of her life traveling around the world, after all.

It also felt weird how the game doled out the story to me. I was either hearing Sam’s voice in my head, whenever I’d pick up certain objects, or I was piecing together bits of story from the items that didn’t trigger Sam’s voice. I would have liked it to be just one or another. The voice thing in my head is easier to process, since I can just listen to it as I look at stuff. But the reading method would have been more realistic and allowed me to piece things together on my own, which I feel like would have made the story more rewarding to figure out.

Gone Home review

Spoilers Ahead For A Bit

The ending of Gone Home felt abrupt and meaningless. All of a sudden, so to speak, Sam ran away and then the game was over.

Gone Home did the same thing that Firewatch did to me, it built up unrealistic expectations about a game that was ultimately squarely-rooted in reality. I was finding the hidden passageways and ghost-related stuff while a thunder storm was grumbling about and the lights flickered from time to time. But it turned out to be nothing at all. The game got me excited, and then let me down with a perfectly realistic ending. That’s such an odd thing to say, that a perfectly realistic ending was disappointing, but it’s true. Had the game not gotten all mysterious and spooky, and was just about me finding clues to the whereabouts of my parents/sister, I likely would have enjoyed the ending far more.

To me, it felt like the developer thought that they had to dangle a fancier carrot in front of my face to get me through the game, as if they doubted their own character’s ability to keep my interest. In the end, this made the game feel cheap.

Spoilers Over

Gone Home review

Gone Home is certainly an interesting way to tell a story, and it is a story about a character type that there are not many games about, which is cool and refreshing. However, the rather abrupt ending and the forced build-up left a bad taste in my mouth.