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Jun 3, 2015

Gunslugs - Review

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Retro styled graphics, solid chiptune soundtrack, quick playability, and an attractive price point might convince you (as it did me) this is worth picking up. Unfortunately, you're likely to bump your head when you dive into this very shallow pool.

What starts off as a fun run-and-gun roguelike quickly devolves into a repetitive bullet hell slog as you hold down the directional button to run (and shoot) right. It's as straight forward as you can get as you move from level to level completing the same objectives with nothing more than a slight change in background color and an occasional new enemy. Enemies constantly spawn from both directions and fill the screen with unavoidable damage and projectiles which keeps you running from health kit to health kit instead of trying to skillfully accumulate a high score. Run, shoot, run, shoot, jump, shoot, die, repeat.

Games that are known for their difficulty (like Spelunky and Dark/Demon Souls) offer rich and deep game systems that take time to learn, but once learned, become master-able and elevate the experience. A game that kills you by spawning 3 land-floating mine combos in a row isn't "difficult" it's just cheap. And that's a hard example; it seemed like the majority of deaths came from situations that were completely out of my control or from sloppy mechanics. Considering the structure of the game changes very little from start to finish (and tends to drag), dying for seemingly no reason makes re-starting less and less appealing each time.

There are some roguelike styled rooms that are placed in missions but after a short while you'll see the majority of what the game has to offer and see the same "random" events with enough consistency you'll know what to expect. There are also a good deal of mission "objectives" which adds some incentive to keep playing but they are most often too simple or out of reach for far too long.

Overall, a very mediocre experience that manages to be too frustrating to be bland. It's extremely low price-point won't hang over your head for too long, but when compared to say, Super Crate Box, it's hard to recommend.
Rating: 50/100

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