For a little while it felt as though the success of the Roguelike games saw several indie devs clamouring to create the next Binding of Isaac, but only a handful of games did it right. Enter the Gungeon is one of those games and now it’s been locked-and-loaded onto the Nintendo Switch and gungeoneering has never been better.
Since Enter the Gungeon released last April and CGM did a pretty comprehensive review of it, I won’t go into laborious detail about the game. Not much has changed for the Nintendo Switch version—in fact nothing has, and that’s okay. You don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. It’s still the same nail-biting, tightly controlled, top-down shooter with—literal—bullet-hell elements, and it still has hundreds of guns, a few I will now list:
- The Wind-Up Gun from the Futurama episode, “War is the H-Word”
- The Law Giver from Judge Dredd
- The LAPD 2019 Blaster from Blade Runner
- The Zapper from Duck Hunt
- The Plasma Blaster from Earthworm Jim
I know I probably sound like a broken record with most games I review for the Switch, but what I love most is how perfectly suited Enter the Gungeon is to Nintendo’s console. It was after playing The Binding of Isaac—which I maintain is at its best on a handheld platform—that I wished Enter the Gungeon could see a handheld release, given that the two games are so similar in style. In that regard, EtG is probably at its best on the Switch. Because the action takes place room-to-room, the pace is completely set by the player—making it perfect for quick bursts in handheld mode or long-plays in docked.
If Enter the Gungeon suffers from anything, it’s the Switch hardware itself, namely the Joy-Cons. It’s no secret that the Joy-Con sticks are somehow simultaneously stiff yet touchy and for a twin-stick shooter that can make aiming a bit of a gamble. Also, the game automatically maps both shoot and dodge to R and L respectively, instead of ZR and ZL, which I thought was strange. If you, like me, decide to map to the triggers, you’ll suddenly notice how stiff they are compared to say and Xbox or PS4 controller. These are more nitpicky complaints than anything serious, and while it could be a little awkward at times, I found it was never that much of a bother to seriously impact gameplay, especially not when the trade-off is handheld capability.
Enter the Gungeon is incredibly stylish with an amazing pixel art aesthetic and charming gun themed enemies that are at times both adorable and frightening. The gameplay is fast-paced and difficult without being cheap and it possesses a rich and interesting lore, with several layers underneath the seemingly obvious “shoot your way until the end”. With hundreds of unique guns (proper unique, not Borderlands “let’s just paint the same four guns different colours” unique) and an incredible soundtrack, Enter the Gungeon on the Switch is an absolute bullseye.