You know what’s hard? Coming up with an original idea. Let’s be honest, almost everything you can think of has been made into a video game now. Farming Simulators, Dad’s chasing babies around, kids shooting poop, birds flinging themselves against pigs …
My point is, the only true way around the ‘lack of originality’ factor outside of delving into weird or fantastical ideas so absurd that ‘niche’ may as well be its genre, is to mash genres together. Get the right combination and you’ll unlock that extra potential in no time, or so they say. But seriously, it’s a growing trend to combine ideas from various genres instead of just sticking to one. Just look at the success of Destiny, which had about five different genres wrapped within its confusing narrative.
Enter the Gungeon, developed by Dodge Roll and published by Devolver Digital, aims to combine the dungeon crawling RPG with a SHMUP. It’s like Assault Android Cactus or 1942, but instead of playing one level after another you’re traversing down into the bowls of crazy bullet hell where monsters have found all of the weapons from the police lockup in Hot Fuzz. Kinda.
Of course, a game like this is only as good as its weaponry (pretty sure I wrote that about Doom yesterday), but in this case it’s rather amusing to have a dungeon filled world with rocket launchers, lasers and cannonballs, let alone weapons that shoot rainbows, fish, foam darts (aka Nerf!) and bees. Couple that with enemies shaped like bullets and I’m pretty sure you’ve got the game stuck in your head already without even watching the trailer below … but go ahead and watch it anyway. What’s the worse that could happen?
According to Dodge Roll, the Gungeon is a ‘constantly evolving bullet hell fortress’, meaning its procedurally generated areas can raise its difficulty on the fly depending on how well you’re going. I don’t know exactly how accurate that sentence is, but it sounds interesting in an intriguing, ‘how long can I survive’ kind of way. It’s Rogue Legacy all over again, but I’m game for a challenge, besides the fact that I’m half decent at shoot ’em ups … but not at Rogue Legacy.
Enter the Gungeon hits Steam and PS4 tomorrow, April 5th. It’s another top quality action game in Devolver’s growing published library of independent titles. Kudos to them for constantly publishing cool concepts, there’s always room for more of them, I say!
Mark Isaacson is a freelance journalist who has never actually fired a gun.