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Apple Arcade Daily #8 - Exit The Gungeon

Enter The Gungeon is one of my favourite games I own on the Switch, so when I heard that there was a sequel, of sorts, heading to Apple Arcade I was all in.

The new game, Exit The Gungeon, by developer / producer Devolver Digital, takes what was enjoyable about the original, and creates a new, interesting mobile first experience.

Described as a ‘bullet hell dungeon climber’, the game sees you take on the role of one of four different Gungeoneers. Unlike with the original game it doesn’t seem to make much (any?) difference who you pick. Once your selected your character you need to make your way through each level to, you guessed it, escape the Gungeon. The method of getting your character out is where things get interesting. Exit The Gungeon is the first game I remember playing where the method of control you decide to use makes the game fundamentally different and one method makes it a great game, the other makes it an impossible mess. Let me explain.

I first tried the game using touch controls. Using touch you can swipe to leap forward and back or hold down on the screen to enter a slow motion ’bullet time’ which was a key way of avoiding the hundreds of bullets that are shortly going to come your way. Whilst in this mode your character will auto shoot the myriad of excellently designed enemies that swarm the level. All you really need to focus on is getting near the baddies whilst jumping and diving about avoiding getting hit. While that sounds pretty simplistic, and it is really, it’s great fun and a true challenge.

After enjoying it with touch controls on the iPhone I jumped onto my iPad and wanted to try it with an Xbox controller. What a mistake that was. Whilst in this mode, at least with the default settings, jumping and diving seemingly doesn’t slow the action down making the game near impossible to survive for more than a few minutes at a time. Add to this the fact that your character also doesn’t auto shoot, or even auto aim, and you have an impossibly difficult mess of a game. It’s actually crazy how bad adding a controller to the mix makes the game at that point. If you’re going to play Exit the Gungeon, and you really should, definitely go with touch controls.

Once you master the jumping and rolling mechanism you can have a lot of fun in this game. Whilst things can feel chaotic and it’s difficult to even find a second to glance at your health most of the time, it’s hugely satisfying if you make it through a level. As you play through you’ll pick up and swap between a huge collection of weapons, all pretty unique and battle with an equally vast array of enemies in your mission to escape. The design style is what drew me to the original Enter the Gungeon and it definitely carries over into this version. It’s a real delight to look at and helps you forgive just how painfully hard the game is.

Out of the games I’ve given some decent time to in Apple Arcade, so far, this is definitely one of the best. I’d highly recommend giving it a try. It’s a rare game that works just as well across smaller screens as it does big and with progress getting synced via Game Center you can always keep a copy to hand when you need to let off a little steam.