By: Casey Curran
Gunslugs is the kind of game that isn’t ambitious in any way. It is not going to be a killer app, but it is fun, and at the end of the day that ends up being what mattered the most. With a neat retro look that complements its side-scrolling shooter gameplay it is not advancing games at all, but instead offering a good choice for any gamer who wants to play with a Vita for a little bit.
Gunslugs is very simple in its gameplay. There are enemies who want to kill you and by shooting them, they will no longer be able to. They drop health, ammo and coins upon their deaths, the last of which can be used to buy items. Occasionally there is a building you can go inside to find a secret or blow it up. There are a few different kinds of weapons, such as dual pistols, a machine gun, and one that shoots eggs.
And that’s about it. What the game lacks in variety, however, it makes up for in chaos. Enemies are everywhere while you play and have a very satisfying way in which they go down. Levels are also randomly generated so every time you start a new game it will be different from the last, offering Gunslugs a little variety.
The health system can be confusing, though. There were some instances where I seemed to be getting hit but not losing any health while at others I went down from a quick succession of bullets. There are also mines that kill you instantly with one hit. However, these mines can be hidden by the foreground or obscured in the background, which can result in some cheap deaths.
The other issue I have with it is that the game is not really well suited toward long bursts. There is not too much variety to the fast-paced gunplay, which means it gets old pretty quickly. When played in short bursts, however, it is a nice fun distraction with a slightly addicting quality to getting further than before. It’s a strange addiction, one which does not entice the player to stay around, but rather it gives them a reason to come back in the long term.
Gunslugs is the kind of game that knows exactly what it wants to be. It’s a nice throwback to old-school side-scrollers like Contra and Metal Slug with retro looks and a pick-up-and-play approach; and it does a good job on all of those fronts. If you want a quick distraction on your Vita, it does a really good job of that, as long as you just play it in short bursts. It doesn’t succeed as well as Spelunky in this type of pick-up-and-play experience, but it does play different enough to still be worth a buy.