Every story comes to an end, but when it actually ends, we hardly ever see what comes after it. For something like Enter the Gungeon, what would make more sense for there to be an Exit the Gungeon? That’s exactly what this sequel game is, as it sees the heroes from the first one making it for the exit, riding an elevator up to what is apparently a way out of the mess they got themselves in.
Enter the Gungeon was already an excellent shoot ‘em up game to begin with, so I’m glad devs Dodge Roll and Singlecore didn’t mess around with the gameplay all too much in Exit the Gungeon. The big gist of the new game is that instead of an isometric view, we now get to shoot all manner of weird bullet and projectile-like creatures from left to right, right to left, horizontally. There’s also a pretty good dodge roll this time around that can be combined into a jump that helps you get out of sticky situations.
To all accounts, Exit the Gungeon feels as good to play as its predecessor. The humor is intact and gameplay-wise, it’s as white knuckle as ever. I really appreciate the fact that it’s relatively easy to jump from Enter to Exit the Gungeon due to their slight similarity in gameplay and still have this new entry feel like a different game. Even though I ultimately suck at both of these, I still manage to get some fun out of them regardless of failing constantly.
At the top of each attempt, you’re given a random gun by the gungeon spirit lady thing, and they range wildly in effect and use. They also change every so often, so growing accustomed to any one of them isn’t recommended. It’s a really cool mechanic because it helps keep you on your toes even more than the actual enemies and bosses, on top of teaching you to make do with what you get. Really smart design choice for sure.
Progression in this is also pretty darn close to what you got before. As you attempt to make it out of the gungeon and fail, you’ll come back to the hub and get more interactions with the NPCs. Reaching some points in your escape will net you items that allow you to unlock more of the hub, but that only happens when you rescue other NPCs, like the gunsmith and shopkeeper, your pals from the previous game.
As with Enter the Gungeon, Exit is a joy to control thanks to very responsive and intuitive controls. I wholeheartedly recommend using a controller to play this as either mouse or Switch JoyCon controls in portable mode just don’t cut it. It physically hurt me playing this on the Switch that way, but using the Pro Controller, it worked beautifully.
This is also a beautiful game when it comes to visuals. Sure, it’s mostly a repeat of what came with the previous entry as a whole lot of enemies are reused, but bosses are totally new designs and thanks to the pixelated look, they all carry a ton of personality. I also absolutely love the comical weapon effects that constantly change as you progress through the game, each with their own unique sounds.
I’m really enjoying my time with Exit the Gungeon. As terrible as I continue to be at games like this, I can still extract some enjoyment out of them due to how easy it is to just try again and again, and how differently each run ends up being regardless of how far I make it. I’m still far from getting to the end if ever, but safe to say, this is a safe pick to keep around for when I’m jonesing for a quick gaming fix, which happens to be pretty often at this point in time.