You’ve Entered the Gungeon, now it’s time to Exit the Gungeon. Exit the Gungeon is admittedly a bite-sized game in size and scope, and this self-proclaimed ‘dungeon climber’ has finally left the exclusivity on Apple Arcade for PC and Switch. The shift from an overhead to a side perspective has its ups and downs, mostly ups. Exit the Gungeon is a tightly packed adventure that’s better enjoyed in short bursts, and captures what worked well in Enter the Gungeon, but on a smaller scale.
While Dodge Roll was always planning to release this on other platforms, Exit the Gungeon originally had been designed to work on Apple Arcade, complete with controller support. The narrower focus for this spin-off lacks the exploration over Enter the Gungeon, opting for a more linear experience instead. You’ll follow a loop of: ride elevator, fight waves of enemies, get trapped in a room, buy from a shop, fight a boss, and repeat until you exit said gungeon. It’s somewhat predictable and rote, but it’s an altogether different experience than its predecessor you have to reprogram your mind over.
Creating cover, a trademark feature in Enter the Gungeon, is inexplicably missing here. Rooms are smaller, as are most engagements, but it’s still an odd omission. There’s a varied number of characters to select from, outside of the default four. It smartly remembers the last character you played, in order get to the action faster. A key feature and running joke here is that you can now do a vertical dodge, or more commonly known as a “jump”. This is a necessary part of your survival as you play through Exit the Gungeon. Between the actually shooting, dodge rolling, jumping is a simple yet effective addition for the new view.
A divisive change is that you now have an ever-changing gun. As the story goes, a sorceress blesses your gun, causing it to change every thirty seconds or so. Along the way you’ll acquire power-ups, or perks that help your in your ascent. As you accrue a multiplier as you kill enemies, more powerful weapons will be bestowed upon you in the rotation. As with its original mobile design, it removes the need (or in most player’s cases, the want) to manage their guns. Since the guns change on their own, you don’t choose what you fire or when. In addition, there’s no ammo due to the frequency the weapons swapping out. It’s something I’m still getting used to, but never truly bothered me.
Aside from the weapons and items, there’s unlockable characters to find and play as. A complete run in Exit the Gungeon will take place across fifteen levels or so, and you’ll fight around ten bosses to see it to completion. This is decidedly a shorter experience, but one you’ll want to have again and again.
Exit the Gungeon retains the difficulty of its bosses and bullet hell nature of their attacks. Learning their patterns comes in time, but it can be completely overwhelming the first few. Returning are the blanks, where you can wipe the screen of all incoming projectiles with the press of a button. Between your incredible agility, responsive controls, and overall frenetic gameplay, this game moves at an incredible clip.
There’s a lot of quality of life improvements, but the gameboy / gamegear style interface (called the gungear) for the menus provides a blend of pixel art and modern fonts and readability. Exit the Gungeon also has a gorgeous palette that’s colorful, vibrant, and a great use of bloom that’s unmatched.
Exit the Gungeon isn’t a sequel, nor does it pretend to be. I still find 2016’s Enter the Gungeon to be a fuller experience, with more depth and variety. Exit the Gungeon is not a game you should ignore. This Gungeon may have lost a little bit of itself along the way, but enough of its humor and sensibilities are very much intact for enjoying Dodge Roll’s twist on the Gungeon formula for the price point. Exit the Gungeon is a delightful spin-off, a blast to play, and the changes to the gameplay compliment the new perspective wonderfully.
A Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes