Enter the Gungeon Preview: Glorious Chaos at PAX East
Dodge Roll Games described its upcoming title Enter the Gungeon to me as a ‘gunfight dungeon crawler’ shortly after I sat down at PAX East to get some hands-on time with the game.
From that exact moment, I was already hooked.
Enter the Gungeon continually impressed me throughout my hands-on time with the game. Dodge Roll Games have created a video game that is built around the core tenants of movement, mechanics and addicting gunplay.
The first thing about Enter the Gungeon that stands out is the attention to detail that has gone into creating the game. The preview build I played at PAX East contained 130 different guns. Dodge Roll informed me that when the game releases, players can expect to find and use 200 different weapons. Each and every gun found in Gungeon has its own unique animations and has been hand-designed by the developers, creating for an array of awesome, over-the-top weaponry.
Similar to the top-notch care taken in creating the game’s weapons, the Dodge Roll Games team have done an excellent job at making Enter the Gungeon an exceptionally fun game to play.
At its core, Gungeon plays like a twin-stick shooter. Players will be able to select from a variety of different characters, each with their own passive perks and various talents. One character, for example, comes equipped with a suit of armor, affording him an extra hit before taking damage. Concepts such as the suit of armor have been expanded by Dodge Roll in the game and taken to the next level. When playing, I found that getting shot while using the armor-clad character caused my helmet to fly off. Enter the Gungeon is absolutely packed with small, attention-grabbing details like this.
Making my way through the demo, I found that Enter the Gungeon offers players a strong sense of exploration. Players start their journey in the Gungeon’s ‘Foyer’. The Foyer, I was told, functions as a sort of hub area. As you progress through the game’s different floors, characters will be able to appear in the Foyer to sell items and help out in various other ways.
The actual floors of Enter the Gungeon are excellent examples of strong game design. When the game releases, players will be have to battle their way through a handful of different floors, each with randomly generated rooms. Each room in the Gungeon is full of traps and hilariously designed Ammunition-inspired enemies.
The appearance of many of the enemies I encountered in the Enter the Gungeon demo foreshadowed their attack patterns. Dubbed the ‘Cult of the Gundead’, Enter the Gungeon’s enemies are an inspired bunch. Shotgun shell enemy types attacked in a burst-like pattern, and the ghost enemies I fought off fired machine guns and teleported away when I attempted to shoot them down. The ghosts, according to Dodge Roll, used Tommy Guns because ‘they’re old’. Dodge Roll Games are as committed to making a game with a sense of personality as they are to making a game that plays well.
On that note, I am happy to report that Enter the Gungeon plays remarkably well. Combining run and gun shooting, bullet-hell attack patterns and numerous environmental hazards, Enter the Gungeon is a frenetic game that builds upon the addicting gameplay of perennial classics such as Smash TV and the contemporary title Nuclear Throne.
The variety of available weapons in Enter the Gungeon allows for players to approach a given situation in any number of different ways. I carried two different weapons on me in the demo, and found that switching between my character’s standard pistol and piercing crossbow allowed me to control and put pressure on the Gundead. When the Gundead turned the heat up and went on the offensive, I found that I was adequately prepared, thanks to the game’s tremendous dodge roll mechanic. I don’t know if Dodge Roll Games took their name from Enter the Gungeon’s evasive maneuver, but the impressive move is certainly worth the studio hanging their hat on.
By using my dodge roll, I was able to leap through enemy gunfire and avoid damage. To further bolster my defenses, I opted to flip a nearby table, creating a wooden barrier between me and the barrage of Gundead crossfire. Moments like dodging behind cover, reloading, and diving out into the fray to fire rounds into my attackers were frequent, pulse-raising experiences. Thankfully, Enter the Gungeon is essentially a constant cycle of white-knuckle gameplay like these.
Successfully defeating rooms full of the Gundead has the chance to earn players a reward. Each floor of the Gungeon will net the player at least one loot chest, with the possibility for more in various rooms. These chests are one of the primary ways that players will get new weapons in their arsenal.
The amount of content that Enter the Gungeon will ship with is nothing short of staggering. Even in my half-hour with Dodge Roll’s game, I continually learned new things about the title with each room that I entered. The sheer amount of weapons, crazy enemies and absurd bullet-hell attack patterns is enough to sate the appetite of any gamer.
Without a doubt, Enter the Gungeon was the standout game I spent time with at PAX East.
Enter the Gungeon is set to release later this year for the PlayStation 4, PC, Mac and Linux.
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