Exit The Gungeon (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 05.12.2021

Review for Exit The Gungeon  on Nintendo Switch

A companion game through and through, Exit the Gungeon plays off the familiarity fans have for Enter the Gungeon, by flipping the Gungeon on its head. Where gameplay once blended hectic gunplay with exploratory level design filled with secrets, the focus this time is exclusively on action. Beyond downplaying dungeon-crawling, level design now favours verticality, while taking place on a 2D plane. Exit the Gungeon is a recognizable follow-up to Enter the Gungeon, but the spin-off lacks the heart, soul, and design quality of its sister game.

The first thing worth pointing out is how Exit the Gungeon doesn't quite feel like its own game. Gunning down an endless swarm of enemies while riding an elevator, is a premise better suited for a mini-game than its own full length spin-off. Which isn't to say that EtG doesn't have hours upon hours of content to get through, but the gameplay loop is noticeably much simpler than it was in Enter the Gungeon.

It might not seem it, considering how action heavy the original was, but the loss of proper level design is a huge blow. With nothing to uncover, and nothing to look for, the gameplay loop winds up rather one-note. Worse, the original used its level design as a means for players to create or destroy cover. Stages were procedurally generated, but consistently featured obstacles that one could use to their advantage. Having somewhere to dodge behind, run to, or push in front of an enemy, makes all the difference for combat.

Screenshot for Exit The Gungeon  on Nintendo Switch

To its credit, this does trade level design for its own attempt at mechanical depth. With gameplay now taking place on a 2D plane, players can jump into the air. The roll returns from the previous outing, and can be paired with the jump mid-air, allowing players to dodge through enemy fire so long as they're not touching the ground. As runs take place exclusively in elevators, playing up verticality does work in the title's favour.

There's a thrill to weaving in and out of damage that just wasn't present before. Action moves at a faster pace, and there's quite a bit to keep track of at any given time as enemies come from all angles. There's nowhere to hide and nothing to find, just pure gunplay. Different elevators segments have their own stage gimmicks - doors that lead to their own arenas, pressure sensitive buttons that move the elevator back and forth - but don't expect to do much else beyond jumping and shooting.

Screenshot for Exit The Gungeon  on Nintendo Switch

The controls are tight and work reasonably well with the Joy-Con or the Pro Controller, but the tutorial urges players to use a terrible control scheme. As guns are aimed with the right stick, and it's unwieldy to jump or dodge with face buttons, yet that's what the tutorial suggests. Mercifully, L and ZL fulfill the exact same functions, leading to a comfortably snappy control scheme.

As was the case with Enter the Gungeon, exiting will take time, patience, and practice. Unlike entering, however, the gameplay loop is now entirely reliant on RNG. There's no real way to prepare for a run - not meaningfully at least. Each one is decided purely by chance, with guns making or breaking stages and boss fights. The rate at which new guns appear also does the experience little benefit, simply preventing players from having enough time to familiarize themselves with an onslaught of weapons without hours of game time.

Screenshot for Exit The Gungeon  on Nintendo Switch

Said randomness is of course by design, but it also speaks to how Exit the Gungeon is just a lesser game than its predecessor all around. There's no real element of strategy outside of the core combat, and dodge rolling isn't as in-depth as it should be. It's a constant necessity, often hectic due to numerous enemies on-screen at any given time, but there's seldom a need for thoughtful rolling or jumping. Which is a pity since the tutorial does seem to suggest there'll be a degree of engaging platforming. Alas, the roll is relegated to an overused and underthought mechanic.

Although there is quite a bit of content to unlock, each run potentially rewarding currency based on how well the player does, the replay value that defined the previous instalment just isn't present. Too much focus on RNG muddies a run before it even begins, and the repetition of gunning down the same enemies over and over again is only heightened by a lack of substantial level design. At its worst and its best, Exit the Gungeon's most substantial feat is reminding audiences of Enter the Gungeon - the much better game.

Screenshot for Exit The Gungeon  on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Exit the Gungeon does a charming job at taking the original's core gameplay loop, and flipping it on its head, but the follow up is more glorified mini-game than it is spin-off. The controls are mechanically tight, and the emphasis on dodge rolling compliments the vertical level design well, but losing the dungeon crawling that defined Enter the Gungeon (and subsequently the thrill of finding secrets) is a tremendous loss. An emphasis on RNG also makes it difficult to enjoy the gunplay, as most weapons gone as soon as they appear. Exit the Gungeon may have Enter the Gungeon's chaos, but it lacks its soul.

Developer

Dodge Roll

Publisher

Devolver Digital

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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