Enter The Gungeon Is Scratching My Spelunky Itch


I’ve been waiting for another game to grab me like Spelunky did, and while it’s still early days, it seems like Enter the Gungeon might be up to the task.

I fell in love with Spelunky for a few reasons:

  • The game changed every time you played it.
  • There was a sense of mystery to the world’s rules.
  • It was simultaneously overwhelming and fully in your control.
  • Death felt manageable, even when it came fast and sudden.

I’d argue Spelunky is one of the best games of all time, so comparisons are inherently difficult.

Spelunky became my “daily” game, something I dipped into for 20 minutes. My expectations for each playthrough were low, but I’d always come back having learned something. “Oh, this is how to dodge an enemy in this situation.” “Ah, it turns out this item is actually useful if used that way.”

Though I’ve only played a few hours of Enter the Gungeon, its hooks are similar. Right now, I’m still grappling with the controls, making use of cover and remembering that there are blanks in my inventory. (One item clears the screen of bullets; since you only have a few, it’s easy to forget they exist.) But as the mechanics have settled, my eyes turn elsewhere.

There are so many guns in Enter the Gungeon, and they interact with one another in different ways, characteristics I’m only beginning to pick up on.

(Besides your starting gun, which is determined by class, everything else you find is random, which gives each run a sense of improvisation.)

For example, I had one gun that pelted the enemy with snowballs, leaving a pool of water in front of them. Another weapon shot electric darts, which not only hurt the enemy when it connected, but gained additional damage by reacting to the water. Additionally, my character had picked up a power-up that fired bullets while reloading, which meant I was doing constant and massive amounts of damage to the enemies I was facing.

Everything was stacked in my direction… except I rolled into a pit and died.

And yet, death was not without celebration. I’d learned of a potent weapon combo — hell, I didn’t know it was possible for weapons to play off one another — and understood a new item I should be on the lookout for.

This information stacks over time, rewarding players for their investment. As my hours into Spelunky grew, I’d have a dozen strategies ready to roll, based on what the game threw at me. I haven’t amassed that level of knowledge in Enter the Gungeon yet; then again, it’s just beginning.


  • Just don’t end up like me…Had a week off of work due to a broken toe when Gungeon was released. Played the hell out of it, got decent and was completing 90% of my runs. Then go back to work, get 2-3 hrs a night to play (if at all) and suddenly all my skill is gone.

    It’s one thing to have the knowledge of what stuff does….another thing entirely to internalise the dodging so you don’t have to think about it. My dodges have become woeful due to that inactivity, feels like there’s a consistent time investment required to keep it going.

  • I love Enter The Gungeon. It’s definitely become my game to play when I have some spare time but don’t want something too heavy. I still suck at it and haven’t even beaten the second floor yet, but it’s a blast every damn time I try.

    • That’s exactly my experience. I wish there was an easier option, so it could just be fun instead of heart attack inducing, but I definitely feel like I’m getting a little bit better the more I play… just very, very slowly.

      • So very slowly… I was just stoked to reach the 2nd floor boss fight, even though I died so fast.

  • Aargh. I just cannot get into this game. I love the genre – I’ve got hundreds of hours pumped into the various Bindings of Isaac and 33 hours on Nuclear Throne – a game that lasts about ten minutes per run (unless you’re better than I am) .

    I keep trying Enter the Gungeon because so many people seem to love it, but I just find it really unengaging in a way that the aformentioned never were, and I’m not sure why. Nuclear Throne is a bit of a different beast being more tightly designed and polished down to the last pixel, but there doesn’t seem like there should be much that differentiates it from BoI, at least in terms of enjoyment.

  • Slither.io Is my current obsession game. so simple, but so tense and awesome. i’ve easily done 14 hours in 7 days.

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