OrangePixel’s Gunslugs 2 is a weird mix of elements, but it works

OrangePixel’s Gunslugs 2 is a weird mix of elements, but it works

Jan 15, 2015

Pascal Besteboer, the developer behind games like Gunslugs, Heroes of Loot and Meganoid, describes Gunslugs 2 as followed: “… the result of watching too many 80’s action-hero movies, cartoons, playing retro games, and tripple-A block-buster console games.” But what is it exactly?

Well, it is exactly what you think it might be, when combining the above mentioned terms into a video game: it’s frantic, full of action and explosions and heroes you might’ve heard of but not at the same time, and, of course, OrangePixel’s well-known pixelated graphical style. Oh, and it is one of the most hectic games of the year. Already.

gunslugs2-1I’ve played the first Gunslugs game and it was pretty good. So why did it need a sequel? Well, as it turns out, Pascal did find some thing to improve upon. “I was at the point where I thought I could improve on most of the stuff in the original Gunslugs”, Besteboer says. “I still enjoy playing Gunslugs, but I also see more and more things that could be done better. Like the level progression system.”

Instead of just presenting the next level after the other one, Besteboer came up with a real story to combine those action sequences. “It’s not the most impressive story”, Besteboer admits laughing. “But there is a clear direction the game takes compared to what the original Gunslugs did. Not even sure how that ended up in Hell, or in a steam-punk world… It just felt cool to add those worlds in the original one.”

So there will be a more cohesive story to the game and it’s worlds and why the characters are there. The downside, and problem Pascal did run into, is that the story also kept him from adding the weird but fun mini-stages found in the first one. “There was no room for a Donkey Kong world or a hand-drawn level. Perhaps a Gunslugs 2 – the Lost levels could be a thing in the future”, Besteboer says with a wink.

gunslugs2-2There are a couple of new things in Gunslugs 2. The biggest one is that the signal towers now have an actual building inside. “So when you enter a signal tower, you’ll have to fight your way up the tower in a procedurally generated level. It adds a lot of gameplay.” Besides that the game is rebuild from the ground. Very little code from the original made it into this one.

The special effects are improved, the graphics are much crisper, cleaner, and the game runs at a higher frame rate so everything is smoother. All those elements were initially inspired by the first game and its room for improvements. But 80s movies like Rambo, Commando, Aliens, or simply put the Expendables were an inspiration for the first title, and you can see that influence throughout the game.

But why do you need this game when you can play the first? Because it actually improves upon the first game in the series, in every possible way. Or, as Pascal says in his own words: “Gunslugs 2 is a procedurally generated action arcade game with it’s roots in 80’s action movies, 90s platform games, and current gen “over the top explosive action stories”. All in Orangepixel’s acclaimed pixel art. It’s a weird mix, but it works, why not give it a try!”

We couldn’t agree more.

Gunslugs Review

Gunslugs Review

Feb 1, 2013

The Contra-style run ’n gun game has been rarely attempted on iOS, and it’s in part because it’s a game that’s hard to play on touchscreens – see Metal Slug, for example. It’s just tricky to pull off. However, Orangepixel’s take on the genre, Gunslugs, is the best example of run ’n gun for touchscreens, thanks to its simplifications.

The goal is simple: shoot everything that moves. The game has a lot in common with Metal Slug in that special weapons with limited ammo can be collected, and there’s also a tank that can be driven periodically. However, the game simplifies the action by only letting players move horizontally, with the ability to jump, which also serves as the way to enter doors. Doors lead to the towers with beacons to destroy, along with rooms that contain items, that can be bought with coins picked up throughout.

By keeping the action largely on one plane, with a health bar to make up for some mistakes, makes this game work. It’s still intense and challenging, but it feels like it fits on a mobile platform. There’s even a quirky sense of humor to the game too, with pop culture references (including levels inspired by retro gaming) sprinkled throughout. This is just good old-fashioned run ’n gun gameplay. Oh, and what is a run ’n gun game without co-op gameplay? Well, Gunslugs features 2 player co-op by using a pair of gamepads on one device. Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support would be welcome, but having it on one device works perfectly fine.

Gunslugs can be a bit too chaotic: it can be hard to tell when and where enemy attacks are coming from, and health can just be whittled down. As well, land mines and explosive barrels do so much damage that a life can come to an end just when an unseen explosion happens. And considering that the game basically starts over when dying after only one life to start off with (continues can be occasionally bought with 100 coins), it means one random event can cause the game to end.

Still, it just means that much like the games of old that inspired it, Gunslugs can be unforgiving yet so satisfied when it’s conquered – and the procedurally-generated levels means that players don’t always know what to expect. Fans of the run ’n gun genre need to check this out.