Gunslugs 2 [$0.99] is a really sloppy game that revels in that fact. It's fast, you might not be able to tell what's going on all the time, and it just feels unrefined. But the game caters to the fact that it's chaotic, and makes for another great run 'n gun from Orangepixel, the veteran iOS solo developer who keeps putting out solid stuff.

The run 'n gun genre has seen few original entries: the genre has basically peaked with Contra and Metal Slug [$2.99]. However, there was Gunslugs [$0.99], which applied a mobile-friendly take on the run 'n gun. Gunslugs 2 does a lot of the same things, and it's the kind of sequel where unless you go back to the original, you might not know what exactly is new. Well, Gunslugs 2 is a lot faster of a game. The game goes at a lightning pace, with explosions and enemies all over the place. There's an ammo meter for even the basic gun, but ammo pickups are common, as are new guns and different characters, which restore your health and give you their default weapon. Coins are collected while playing, and can be used to buy powerups like armor – this isn't an IAP thing at all, don't worry.

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Gunslugs 2 winds up being a bit different from other run 'n gun games, where one slip-up was swiftly punished by the gaming gods: here, health is lost quite often. But health pickups are common. As such, taking damage isn't good, especially in the arcade mode, but it's not bad. This is where the sloppy feel comes in: you can be really reckless in this game, just as long as you're constantly killing and picking up health packs, and rescuing characters, you're usually good. Just be careful when health is low, or if you're in the one-life arcade mode.

I've mentioned the arcade mode, but the brunt of the game for most players will be the Story mode, which goes through the game on a level-by-level basis, with your choice of starting character, new ones unlocking after each world. There are the three beacon towers in each of the normal levels, and while they basically were destroyed instantaneously in the original game, here they serve as little mini-levels, which are randomly generated each time you go into them. At the end of each world is a boss fight, which tend to be affairs involving either "find the weak point when revealed" or "unleash the entire armory on the sucker's face."

Gunslugs 2 Review 2

The arcade mode is unlocked when the story mode is beaten for the first time, which isn't a difficult affair. Arcade mode runs through the entire game in one life, tracking high score along the way, so you have to be careful to play through this: it's a fresh challenge, but I'm glad it's split from story mode. The game lets you see everything it's got, and while it's not overly long, I think it also gets its point across in the time it does. This is part of why I marked down Gunbrick [$2.99] – I felt like its length was lacking, that it could have been more ambitious. This game does a good job at being scoped just about perfectly, though it can feel repetitive as the levels follow the same structure each time out, just introducing new wrinkles in each world.

Orangepixel's house style is in play here: the pixel art with squared-off characters is ever-present. It's very distinctive in part because it's so consistent throughout Orangepixel games to use this style of pixel art. The dialogue is very quirky, and there's loads of references to action movies past and present that are barely obscured. It's unmistakable. Regular music contributor Gavin Harrison provides the soundtrack. The game uses the familiar simple control scheme of two buttons on each side that other games from Orangepixel have, with MFi gamepad support as well.

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I think that the fast-and-loose pace of the game and the health may sink this game for some: people who like precision in their games will find it very sloppy, and hard to manage not taking damage without being very careful. And even then, there are many threats later on that essentially force you to take small amounts of damage to continue on. It's just the nature of the game, and it is balanced out to where you have plenty of opportunities to stay alive, so it's fair. It's just a matter of feel, and I'd suggest giving the desktop demo a shot to see if it's right for you.

I kind of like the system of give-and-take with the health because I tend to be very bad at not taking damage in games (this may make my Wayward Souls [$6.99] game of the year pick seem baffling), but the game could do a better job at perhaps signaling when damage has been taken. As well, while the coins are hardly a scarce resource, keeping armor for more than a few seconds can be difficult! Also, the character changes, while welcome ways to regain health, also mean that it's possible to lose a great weapon in exchange for earlier characters' default pea shooters. Dual guns or rockets? I'll take the rockets, thank you.

Gunslugs 2 is a unique run 'n gun game, for better or for worse, but considering that not many developers are trying to take the modern run 'n gun crown, if shooting enemies by the hundreds sounds like a rollicking good time, then check this out.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Speedster117

    I disagree, I've been having a blast with it, I'd give it 5 stars.

    • Alex Wolf

      I think this reviewer gave gunbrick also 3 or something stars ... I disagree too! No point in reading his articles anymore

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        We really can't win. Rate games highly, "TouchArcade gives out good reviews like candy on Halloween." Don't rate games highly, "No point in reading his articles anymore."

        I'm doing everything in my power to remove ratings from the site so comments can be discussing the game instead of a number. It's just going to take a while because the app complicates things.

      • coolpepper43

        This is very disappointing. I really enjoy the ratings.

      • Speedster117

        I love your guys reviews and ratings, I just disagree with this one.

      • Based Xatu

        Can we please get bullet points? Sometimes I just want to see pros and cons.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        You're going to need to spend two minutes reading some text, I'm afraid. πŸ™

      • spader623

        Two whole minute?!?!? PSH. That's two minutes I could be spent playing a game. It's so much time. Gosh, this is why people hate these reviews. No ones got that sort of time. /s

      • Based Xatu

        It's not the amount of time it takes to read, it's just the reviews are boring . I read pretty fast, and even then I hate trudging through most of the reviews.

      • VirtualBoyFreak

        Articles = opinions. Come on guys, take them for what they are. Check pros and cons, reviews from different sites and make a decision towards buying the game or not…

      • Andy C83

        It's cool to disagree, but instead of making silly comments how about letting us know what was written that you disagree with. Of course, that's assuming you've read the review. πŸ™‚

      • Anotherkellydown

        Oh snap!

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    This is obviously an hardcore shoot em up action arcade game, a metal slug reloaded, so it has to be this way and that's what makes this game different from regular ones, review is too personal" should be more objective related to the game style, not agree also of the 3.5 score that would be of a really mediocre game.
    Of the best game Orangepixel has release so far and just love it's hardcore style.

    • God's Grundle

      Here's an objective review for you: Gunslugs 2 is a video game with characters and guns you can shoot.

      • your personal robot

        You can shoot characters? Sold!

      • VirtualBoyFreak

        Nailed it! πŸ™‚

  • sivad

    Omg, Carter is forever going to be hated... If I was him, I would give all games 3.5 stars for the rest of the year regardless of how good or bad they may be because I enjoy seeing the whining personally

    • Exact-Psience

      Win post. LOL

    • your personal robot

      But it might still be possible that some people are not the best in writing good reviews. It's neither black or white here. So, blindly defending any of the two sides isn't the only option.

  • demod1

    The review was fine. The scoring piece really is personal. You like a lot. You like it somewhat. Or you don't like it. There is no perfect scoring system. That's why we get to score it as well. Let's not sweat the small stuff. But also, don't take it personal if people disagree with a score. It's bound to happen. Just remember, we're playing games here. Keep it fun!

  • vic_viper_001

    The review is spot-on as far as I'm concerned. This game moves WAAAAY to fast for you to actually be careful and dodge things. You just soak up mostly unavoidable damage.

    • your personal robot

      Nope, you alone decide how fast the game is.

      • vic_viper_001

        Taking it slow or not, there are too many unavoidable ways for you to take damage, and the fact that the game is stuck in "fast forward" doesn't help. Unavoidable damage = poor design in my book... whether or not it's done in 16 bit pixel art.

  • XperimentalZ Games

    What Pascal is doing is amazing and with its multi-platforms launch it's obvious that the game will do well.

    About the ratings controversy, it is normal to have fans of a specific genre/game hope the best possible score and I'm not so sure I see a problem about the score, the score system or the resulting discussion. It's so cool to have such a great meeting place where gamers can express their opinion and debate. My impression is that removing the score might makes the articles a bit less spicy and interesting. Potential buyers most surely also read the comments, which should balance things out in the end.

    Of course, if the discussion degenerates, perhaps it results in a heavy moderation load which can be hard work.

  • XperimentalZ Games

    It's great to see Pascal work unravel. He's been on an awesome streak over the last few years!

  • Himanshu Modi

    The review was fine. A shoot Em up game with damage that has to be soaked in takes out the skill element entirely. And 3.5 ties in perfectly with the shortcomings that have been highlighted in the review.

    Also. I like rating system. Makes it easier to go through stuff when I feel like I want to buy an old game which was great but I missed out back then

Gunslugs 2 Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 3.5