We just got here, but it is already time to Exit the Gungeon..A review

What do you get if you take a well loved and inspired rogue-like dungeon crawler like Enter the Gungeon and make a sequel that would work we...

What do you get if you take a well loved and inspired rogue-like dungeon crawler like Enter the Gungeon and make a sequel that would work well on a mobile device as on a console? For Dodge Roll the answer, naturally, was Exit the Gungeon, a more condensed experience of it's predecessor that now has seen its console (Switch) and PC release to audiences beyond Apple Arcade.

Taking off right after the previous game, Exit quickly gets to the point of the situation. The main protagonist's exploits so far have seriously destabilized the Gungeon which is not about to collapse. So it is time to Exit. Did not see that coming, did you? And now the daring escape ensues. You take control of one of eight heroes and with the use of multiple high speed elevators you make your way back up tot he surface, stopping at the occasional room to explore for goods. The Gungeon itself, in case you have been wondering is an eldritch dungeon located on a distant planet named Gunymede, and it is  inhabited by living bullets and other strange gun-related lifeforms. Yes it is a bit weird, but just go with it.

If you are new to the Gungeon games then you are in luck as the first thing you get to do is speak to an NPC for a quick lesson in how it all works. There are some text boxes to read through and trials to run but follow the instructions correct and you will be ready to take your first elevator ride soon enough.

Where Enter the Gungeon was a top down , bullet hell shooter and exploration game, Exit the Gungeon most times feels more like a vertical shooter like 1942 and other SHMUPS from days gone bye. The bullet hell part is still there and it is frantic, but there is less exploration aside from stops between each elevator rides where you clear a room before you move on. A second difference is the addition of a new dodge roll skill. The dodge mechanic provides a way to escape from the barrage of firepower that will come your way and offer a means to get out of harms way. Where before you had the normal dodge roll , you now also get a vertical dodge , which is essentially jump up or down between platforms. This allows you multiple ways of escape , though it is not always as easy as it seems.

Your gun is a magical blesses object that will constantly change the way it functions at random. This can be frustrating at times as not all gun forms are equal in their destruction and a switch at the wrong time can cost you dearly. The variety and randomness of the guns is great and will bring a smile on your face may times, even if they cause you to die and have to start over. In a quick succession I ended up with an elephant gun that shot actual elephants, A banana gun and something that seemed to be one of those birthday blowers that rolls out when you blow in it. Besides that there were more traditional guns or lasers to help me clear out the screen and move on to the next section.

Each character will be assigned a different elevator path, but they might cross paths at occasions with those of other characters. All enemies and room layouts are random each time you play so no play through is the same. You have a life bar that can be filled if you find some health items, but if you lose all life you have to start back from the bottom. The sheer variety of the levels, enemies and weapons you encounter each play through though keep you entertained. The new introduced twin stick shooter control scheme for PC and Switch is responsive and work well, which is important in game where reflexes and responsive controls are the difference between moving forward or game over. 

At regular times during your ascendance to the top of the Gungeon you will encounter Boss characters. If you defeat them you will get access tot their cells within the complex. Here you can save the prisoners that have been waiting for their doomsday to arrive and send them back to the bottom floor. If you die and have to start over they will be waiting for  you and be eager to sell you items for a good price and give you tips, all in an effort to make you more prepared and ready to reach the top next time.

Exit the Gungeon is much smaller game in scope and execution than its bigger brother Enter the Gungeon. Therefor it feels more like a spin-off then a full fledged sequel. That said it is still a fantastically entertaining game and a great addition to your switch or PC.Even though we played the PC version I would say that the switch is probably the best fit for this game as it is great on the go. And for the wallet friendly prices of just under $10 at time of release it won't break the bank while delivering a lot of quality entertainment.

The randomness of each new run is a blessing as well as a curse. On one hand you wont be bored from seeing the same level over and over again and feel like you hit a specific wall you just a cannot seem to get past. On the other hand you can end up in a real bind if you end up with the wrong weapon at the wrong time. Keep playing and upgrading and the path to a victory will become clear and once you escape you can start the game again and do it once more. 

Game information:
Title: Exit the Gungeon
Developer:Dodge Roll
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release date: September 19, 2019 on Apple Arcade, March 17, 2020 on Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam)
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, Apple Arcade
Version Reviewed:  PC (Steam) 
ESRB: E10+


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