Genre: Platformer, Action, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PC, PS Vita and Mobile)
Developer|Publisher: Orange Pixel
Age Rating: EU 12+ | USA Teen
Price: UK £7.99 | EU €7,99 | USD $7.99
Release Date: November 3rd 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Orange Pixel
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Gunslugs is one of Orange Pixels more senior titles in what is now quite the growing back catalogue of games. I first played it back in 2015 at a PS Vita stand at a gaming convention. It’s a demo that led to an instant purchase when I returned home as well as following the developers’ future projects. Orange Pixel has grown a lot as a developer since this release but let us return to Gunslugs and see if it still holds up five years later.
Get to the Choppa
You start the game by choosing a pixelated character before being dropped into a war zone where your mission is to destroy a series of radio towers so that you can be extracted by the chopper. Insert appropriate ‘get to the choppa joke’ here. You do this for a couple of levels before entering into a boss fight after which you travel to a new area and repeat the destructive cycle all over again. This is all presented in simple pixel graphics with retro feeling sounds. Sound effects which are starting to feel a little dated on the Switch. As you progress through the levels you can find hidden characters locked in cages. Unlocking them will not only provide a new character to choose from in the menu but they usually start the game from a later level so you don’t always have to start right back at the beginning for every playthrough.
Run and Gun
The game plays as a simple run and gun shooter. You start with a basic pistol with limited ammo but you will soon discover new weapons including dual pistols, a flamethrower and a chicken that shoots eggs at the enemy. Yes, Orange Pixel once again brings the memorable humour. The fun doesn’t stop there though you’ll encounter NPCs who look rather similar to games, films and TV show characters that you probably like. I encountered Not Princess Peach, Not Robocop and even Not Dr Who, to name a few. They may provide you with helpful items or transport you to bonus levels where you can gain more coins which can be used to purchase the odd item from another NPC.. Gunslugs is not afraid to make you chuckle as you make your way through another run.
Random and Replay-able
Each run is randomly generated, the level layout, enemies and NPCs you encounter in buildings will never be the same twice. Making it hard not to resist additional playthroughs in single-game sessions. There are no xp systems, when you die that’s it, you just have to learn to get better through playing the game. Be warned, this title is incredibly hard, death will come thick and fast at times. Often it can feel like the action and explosions engulf the screen. Which can make it hard to follow the carnage going on, which at times leads to some cheap deaths. This can be especially frustrating if you’ve had a really successful run. It is a design that I’ve always admired about Orange Pixel but it won’t work for everyone.
Gunslugs on Switch feels exactly the same as the Vita version I used to play with one additional bonus, it has co op. Yes, you can throw a joy con at a friend or loved one, prop this game up on a table and prepare for run and gun carnage together. This feature alone makes it worth the double-dip purchase. The game appears to run flawlessly in handheld and TV mode. The former being my preference for play. Gunslugs feels ideal in handheld mode.
5 Years Later
While not as strong as some of Orange Pixels other works. Gunslugs is still a simple to the point run and gun rogue like that’s perfect if you only have small amounts of gaming time to spare, plus you can throw a joy con at someone on the bus and play together which is always awesome. Gunslugs may be 5 years old but like that old CD from that band you like, it still holds up today.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot
Gunslugs marks my 100th review for Ladies Gamers which is surprising considering it only feels like yesterday that I started writing for the site. Before I was invited to write I thought my love for writing was a spark that was nearly extinguished. When I started on the site I set a personal goal of 12 articles before years end. But thanks to the wonderful community at LG, a helpful wife who reads and makes sense of the rubbish I write and the readers themselves that take the time to read my stuff I’ve found that love for writing again. Thank you all.