3DS game Review
Written by Adolph Vega
The 3D stereoscopic visuals of this game look very sharp, nice and are well implemented. The graphics engine used in this game uses a few different layers of 3D with text and basic game info popping out toward the player. Popping out the text of the game makes it very easy to distinguish from the backgrounds and works well for this type of game. The various environmental backgrounds recess backward and give a decent job of showcasing depth of field. The pixels and shapes are big, vibrant, and the overall look very sharp. The 3D element looks nice but it never had any moments that wowed me. Playing in 3D does not impact the frame rate or smoothness of the game. All things considered, I liked how the game handles the stereoscopic 3D element, but don’t love it.
Final Verdict: Good 3D
I have never played the original Gun Slugs game, so this is my first experience with this series. That being said, the game is pretty self-contained and strait forward, so I have no problem enjoying it without knowledge of the context of the previous game.
Sadly, the story of this game is not explained at all during regular game play. You can find a paragraph explaining the basics within the digital manual. In Gun Slugs 2, the Black Duck Army wants to dominate the galaxy and the Gun Slugs refuse to allow this to happen. Obviously, the story is not that important to the game play, as it's all basically about killing everyone in your way and saving your comrades. The only aspect of the story that I cared about was how the game ended, which was totally anticlimactic. Seriously the finale without giving it away is not at all satisfying and assumes a sequel will be made to explain what happened. Who knows if a Gun Slugs 3 will ever release so having cliff hanger endings is not ok unless a sequel has already been green lighted and with indie developer’s sequels are never a guarantee. I usually wouldn’t comment on the ending of a game or movie in a review, but this time it really upset me.
Gun Slugs 2 plays in a similar style of Contra or Metal Slugs, where you move to the right and the player kills everything in your way with some light platforming elements. The game is broken down into individual levels within specifically themed worlds, with a final boss at the end. Each level in the world has bunkers that you must enter, which has a captured comrade that you must save. This process is fairly basic and actually fun because these bunker areas seem to be randomly generated and you never know what to expect in these sub-levels. The player must complete the bunker areas in each level before you can progress to the next level. After you save a comrade, you regain health and automatically change into them, so whatever weapon they have, you now poses.
Each level is Gun Slugs 2 short in length and in theory can be completed within a few minutes, if you can survive. The game has a very nice difficulty level; where it never feels too difficult but isn't a total breeze either. Ammo and life are an issue within this game and you need to watch both aspects as you play. Ammo and health pack drops from enemies you defeat and are common, but if you don't pay attention you may find yourself in peril with very little ammo or life to complete the area.
Gun Slugs 2 sadly has some issues with slowdown and a few random glitches. The slowdown does not appear to have a connection to the stereoscopic 3D graphics but is simply annoying. The game play slows down so that the graphics engine can process everything and within seconds it returns to the normal pace. This slowdown isn't a major issue, since it can give you a chance to catch your breath and resembles old school games from the 1980’s and 90’s. The glitches, however, are more of an issue, as twice the game crashed and caused my NEW 3DS to restart. The levels are very short; so losing my progress was not an issue, and the incidents seem to be random isolated events.
One glitch seemed to happen during boss battles. Each boss has a weak point that you must take advantage of to defeat them, which is standard fair for an action game. However at times the game glitches and gives the player access to the boss’s weak point earlier than you're supposed to. So the glitches can be in the players favor and help you defeat the bosses simply because the boss was positioned in a different way than it should. It is unclear of these are glitches or just a random element which gives the player more luck during these encounters. Regardless, I found it worth noting as it happened during my play through several times. On a related note the game’s various boss battles were interesting spectacles, which were tough but fair.
The game does a decent job of keeping things fresh with several different guns and the randomly generated bunkers. Gun Slugs 2 has a nice sense of humor, often it pokes fun at popular nerd culture and is a love letter to action movies from the 1980's. These jokes are represented by text that quickly appears on screen.
One element of the game that I mentioned earlier and was impressed by is the graphics. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much, but the larger pixels and character models look sharp and very impressive on the 3DS screen. I found the controls within this game to be flawless for this type, with the button layout being strait forward and precise. One odd element of the controls is the pause screen, which might cause confusion for the player. Hitting the start button will pause the game, but pressing start button again will kick the player out of the level and back to the menu. The game’s menus do have the correct button prompts on screen, but this element is strange and jarring. This issue is jarring because a vast majority of video games that I have played in the last 30 years use the same button to pause and resume gameplay, so this is against my muscle memory and annoying. This issue is not significant, but it was worth noting since it was a minor issue.
The musical element of the game is the biggest weakness and is totally forgettable. The game has two additional modes outside of the main story. The two extra modes are the “ arcade mode “ and the “ daily challenge”. The arcade mode is basically playing the entire game on a single life in one sitting, while the daily challenge lets you play in a randomly generated base level with a single life. The daily challenge uses the 3DS’s inboard clock and won’t allow you to complete this mode more than once within a day. I didn't find the arcade mode fun because the difficulty was too high, but some people may find enjoyment in this. I did find the daily challenge to fun and addicting way to continue to play the game after the main story mode was completed.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Gun Slugs 2 and had tons of fun. Gun Slugs 2 is a very simplistic game but kept me entertained from beginning to end with varied enemies, weapons and environments. The glitches are minor, but at its core, it's a very fun action game that I can recommend you download from the Nintendo’s 3DS e-shop.