Given its portable form factor, the Switch is perfect for passing the time during a long commute or when you have some time before your next appointment. Despite being out for less than a year, Nintendo’s new console already has a plethora of charming little indie games that can help fill your time on a daily basis. And now, you can add Enter the Gungeon to that list.
Similar to Binding of Isaac (which also released for the Switch earlier this year), Enter the Gungeon is a roguelike twin stick shooter that has you delve into a procedurally generated dungeon to fight bosses, discover secrets, and best of all, find more guns to add to your arsenal. The game is a perfect fit for the hybrid console, with the Joy-Cons accommodating the controls comfortably. And even if you find the control scheme not to your liking, you can rebind all of the controls with the exception of the + and – buttons, which are reserved for the pause menu and the Ammonomicon.
The default controls have you dodge rolling with L and shooting with R, which felt a little uncomfortable especially on the Joy-Cons. But remapping them to the trigger buttons made Enter the Gungeon a much more comfortable experience that I could enjoy both on the couch and on the train. The controls are responsive as well, which is an important point for a game that’s as reliant on your reflexes and timing as this one. Performance has been satisfactory for the most part, though it should be noted that there were a some instances where the frame rate seemed to hitch a little when there were too many bullets onscreen. This didn’t happen often enough to really hinder my gameplay, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Enter the Gungeon also comes with three gameplay modes: Beauty, Balanced, and Speed. As the names suggest, Beauty prioritizes graphical fidelity, while Speed prioritizes frame rate and smoothness. Balanced is a nice blend between the two, though I eventually switched over to Speed as it seemed better suited for a game like this one.
Whether you’re playing the game undocked or in handheld mode, Enter the Gungeon still feels every bit as good as it does on PC. The sound design is snappy and satisfying, with every bullet drop being a reassuring audio cue to let you know that you’ve hit your mark as the eclectic music spurs you on. The game itself looks beautiful in both modes as well, and the bosses are just as colorful and distinct as I remember them. While I enjoyed how deep Binding of Isaac could get with its countless items and secrets to uncover, its slower paced gameplay was a hamper for me. Enter the Gungeon is much more responsive and frenetic, and it just feels better to play overall. There’s a satisfying rumble you get in the Joy-Con whenever you dodge roll, letting you know where your i-frames begin and end, and the thought of clearing level after level in an effort to find more guns is compelling enough to keep playing into the night.
Fans of the game will no doubt be aware that the Advanced Gungeons & Draguns update is set to be released for the game next year, bringing more guns, levels, and much-needed quality of life improvements. Well, it looks like the Switch version already has access to some of those changes, such as teleportation pads being available in treasure chest rooms. It’s a small touch, but still nice to have for players looking to clear a run quickly.
Enter the Gungeon has been an absolute delight to play through since its original release, and it holds up extremely well on the Switch. Dodge Roll’s incredible roguelike game and Nintendo’s hybrid console feel like a match made in heaven, and it’s definitely a solid indie title Switch owners should look into if you’re itching for a deep game that’s easy to pick up, but blindingly hard to master.