In the 21st century with the advancement of technology, we as a species have come to expect instant gratification. We are able to communicate across the globe in an instant, only to expect the same back. We’re used to product orders taking hours rather than days. We expect to pay for games that instantly give us a smile without being bogged down by the arduous task of waiting more than two breaths. Gunslugs 2 satisfies this now almost genetic desire for an instant burst of joy, getting you into the fun mere seconds after even buying the game.
Gunslugs 2 is a love letter to the side scrolling shoot em ups of years gone by like Metal Slug and Contra with a decidedly modern feel. You take command of a selection of stereotypical heroes plucked from 80s action movies, filling hundreds of enemies with thousands of bullets throughout your time with it. That’s it. Happily enough, this is all Gunslugs 2 needs to create an experience that fills the heart with happiness.
The whole game is typified by the characters presented to you therein. There’s a classic blond dude on shades, a twin pistol brandishing heroine, even a Mr. T style character with a flamethrower, all the way up to a machine gun toting sarge. Gunslugs 2 isn’t a satirical send-up of this whole 80s action flick idea though. Like similar titles such as Broforce or even Tango Fiesta, it revels in the ridiculousness of this whole idea. Tropes are thrown around the screen in ways only the action movie genre could love. One person against an endless stream of faceless goons.
As much as it sounds like one, Gunslugs 2 isn’t just an action shooting maelstrom. Outside of boss areas, every level plays out in exactly the same way. You make your way through each level in a decidedly eastern direction, running into beacon towers to blow them up. Blow them all up and there’ll be a chopper waiting at the level’s end, fueled up and ready to whisk you off to the next bullet-fest.
These beacons are often the most challenging portions of Gunslugs 2. Nestled within are a handful of enemies and often dangerous elements (such as acid, floor spikes, and laser-spewing cannons) intent on hampering your journey to the end-point. Upon reaching this, you bounce on a plunger to blow up the tower and proceed to the next.
It’s inside these towers that you’ll find people caged. These people each represent the different characters. Freeing one will grant a full health bar and access to whatever weapon they classically use. In some cases this is a pair of pistols that fires in both directions. In others, you’ll free Sarge with his massive Aliens inspired machine gun or a Bruce Willis looking chap who throws what looks like throwing stars or grenades. They add an element of variety to Gunslugs 2, but they’re not game changers.
The weapons, however, are.