Game Review #520: Exit the Gungeon (Nintendo Switch)
Review by: WoodmanFLG
Developer: Dodge Roll
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Category: Action Platformer, Roguelike
Release Date: 3.17.2020
Buy Exit the Gungeon from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Lukewarm… Then RED HOT!
Initially, I enjoyed my short little romp with Exit. I did around 10 runs, used all the characters, unlocked a bunch of stuff and was like, ok, I got the gist of this bad boy. I’ll get around to writing it soon now, or at least starting it. Little did I know I was about to have a life-changing event happen to me, and I lost my home in an electrical fire! Thankfully, my Switch made it, as well as most of my electronics. Into storage most of it went, and I moved in with my girlfriend. Just hanging about, without a bookcase full of variety, I started to play some of the stuff I had downloaded, and I saw Exit The Gungeon on my home screen and thought, screw it, lets play this some more and exit the Gungeon.
It was that day I had the proverbial click with this game, that most roguelikes have. It’s a moment of a greater understanding in the way a game was meant to be played, or a deeper understanding of a key mechanic. For me, I was able to get some of the better stuff unlocked, and the biggest boon to my adventure out of the Gungeon was when I really learned how to maximize my invincibility frames! From then on, I was hooked. I exited the Gungeon, I exited it again and again, each time unlocking a little more, and before I knew it, I had put some serious time into this bad boy, and LOVED my time with it. Did the above make any sense to you? No? Then let's teach you a little more about EXIT THE GUNGEON!
Enter.. Exit.. What's Next?
Exit The Gungeon is the sequel to… you guessed it! Enter the Gungeon! This game takes place after you enter it, and now it's time to take a crazy elevator out of it! The best way I could describe the first game is, it's a roguelike twin stick shooter with bullet hell elements. This one changed it up, and for me, it's MUCH more enjoyable. Ditching the top down perspective, Exit The Gungeon has you playing from a platforming side view, as you ride up the elevator to try and get out of the Gungeon. Thankfully, you are blessed by the magic of the Goddess, so on the way up, your gun will randomly change between all of the ones you have collected, for good or for bad. There will be times you get a gun you hate, or think is ineffective, but for every one of those… there's a rocket launcher called the stinger that shoots bee rockets that explode into more bees, or maybe the tentacle of an eldritch horror to destroy your enemies. That not enough? How about Earthworm Jim's gun? Mega Man's Mega Buster? This game is absolutely PACKED with references with its guns and its items, and man oh man does it feel good to see ones you know.
So your base gameplay will have you clearing screens of enemies while dodging their bullets with dodge rolls and careful placement. The beauty of the dodge roll is that it has a TON of invincibility frames, and you will absolutely need them, because this game is INSANE with screens full of bullets flying at you, expecting you to dodge them. Thankfully, you also have another standby of the bullet hell genre, an item that clears the screen of enemy bullets, and in this game it is called a blank! You refill these after a boss, so don’t be afraid to use them when you need 'em, or else you are just wasting them.
You Will Die
I don’t think anyone will pick this game up, and exit the Gungeon on their first try. You will die, and you will die multiple times. But that is honestly a part of the gameplay loop; you will head back to the hub world where you can talk to some NPC’s, switch characters, and buy more items and weapons to show up in the Gungeon elevator to help you progress. You will unlock items that make huge differences to how your character plays and attacks. My favorite is when I can manage to get scatter shot (3x bullets), heavy bullet (slower but stronger bullets) and big bullet (bigger bullets) at the same time, so I can completely cover the screen in my own attacks. Throw in some homing bullets, and you are good to go. One time, I got all those, and shadow bullets, which adds two slower bullets to the back of each bullet, so I was essentially shooting 9 bullets for each attack, which makes some weapons INSANE.
This game is nuts, and you absolutely might need to be blessed by the god of RNG for some runs. You can absolutely beat the game on skill alone, especially considering if you beat an elevator boss without taking a single hit, you will also get an item that gives you an extra bit of health for free, which makes it easier. But the most fun you will have in this game is absolutely when you end up with some insanely overpowered combination of guns and items and you just feel like an absolute monster. I didn’t play Enter The Gungeon anywhere near as much as I played this bad boy, but I will tell you, my experience with this title and seeing how tight the whole experience was, makes me want to revisit Enter the Gungeon and discover that A-HA moment for that game, I know it's in there!
These devs are packed with personality and it comes through in the game's NPCs and references. I really enjoy this weird little universe they have created full of references to pop culture, guns, and bullets. The graphics are tight, the enemy attacks are very visible, the sound and music design is good, and to top it all off, it’s just a ton of fun! I’m at around 10 Exits now, and I still have to finish unlocking everything, including beating it with the robot who can’t really heal the usual way. This game is packed with content and it's perfect if you are looking to kill 20 minutes and have a good time with it. This game had me doing vertical dodge rolls (aka, a jump, yes they refer to it in game as vertical dodge roll ahaha), shooting, and laughing all at once, and I really enjoyed my experience with it. I’m beyond happy I returned to it, and found a lot more love for it than I had previously.
Buy Exit the Gungeon from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*A game code was provided for review purposes