Enter The Gungeon Preview

The quest for the ultimate gun that can kill the past.

A game with a title like Enter the Gungeon leaves little to the imagination. It touts lots of dungeons and guns, and the combination of the two makes for a fun and challenging top-down shooter. The unpredictability of the gungeon means each playthrough changes and evolves, but one constant always remains—the volume of loot. I experienced just how satisfying it is to pick up gun after gun in the PAX Prime demo, and now I desperately want to find the ultimate weapon at the end of the gungeon when the game comes out.

Audiences familiar with dual-stick shooters and bullethell games will feel right at home with Enter the Gungeon, but developer Dodge Roll adds its own little twist to the formula. In fact, the developer's name gives it away. Players can "dodge roll" through enemy bullets, and the move even includes invincibility frames. In bullethell games it can be incredibly difficult to avoid some attacks, but the added maneuverability in Enter the Gungeon results in more dynamic combat.

That's not to say players won't have trouble avoiding bullets and returning enemy fire. It only takes a few shots to go down, so it becomes important to know your gun well. Fortunately, the game constantly provides players with various weapon choices, whether it's a simple crossbow or a chainsaw gun that shoots a series of rockets. Enter the Gungeon will feature hundreds of different weapons, so there's plenty of room for experimentation.

The same holds true for items, as they can be used in conjunction with certain weapons. In the demo I played, I was provided with a gun that shoots oil. I also had cigarettes in my inventory, so you can imagine what happened next. I covered one side of the room with oil, threw the cigarette, and watched it all go up in flames. The visual spectacle of the combination is great, but it also acts as a powerful attack against a large group of enemies. It can hurt your partners in local co-op, though, and we all know negligence can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Each floor of the gungeon ends with a boss fight, and I couldn't help but smile at the design of the foes I encountered. The first boss was a giant bullet in regal attire. The second one looked like some kind of evil priest, except for the fact that his head was a pistol. The boss fights showcase Enter the Gungeon's personality, as the game still has room for charm and humor despite its difficulty.

The PAX demo only scratched the surface. The game also features different gungeon endgame content depending on the character selected, and I got just a brief glimpse of the compendium that keeps track of collected guns and other details. But what I played of the game was enough to convince me that Enter the Gungeon will be an addictive game whether it's played alone or with friends in local co-op. I need more guns!

Developer Dodge Roll is aiming for a February 2016 release for Enter the Gungeon on PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4.