I love a game that has a deep story, interesting characters, and an emotive core. However, occasionally I enjoy mindless violence! Wildcat Gun Machine focuses on the latter option because of its lack of plot. Moreover, it chucks you in at the deep end with hard-hitting action.
Developed by Chunkybox Games and published by Daedalic Entertainment, this is a bullet hell dungeon crawler. Designed in the same vein as Hades, but without the finesse, this title isn’t as groundbreaking as its rivals. However, don’t let this put you off, as you’ll have plenty of fun and frustration en route.
Wildcat Gun Machine rinses and repeats.
Normally, I’m not a fan of repetitive gameplay. The constant rehash of ideas and mechanics becomes tiresome beyond belief. Yet, in Wildcat Gun Machine I didn’t mind its rinse and repeat nature. Luckily, the developers added enough of a twist to the actions that I never got bored. However, massive fans of the genre may become frustrated by the lack of evolution and depth.
As mentioned, there is no story to talk about. Therefore, you are left to your own devices and imagination as you explore each room. This isn’t an issue, but I would have liked some meat on the bone. The gameplay is broken down into chapters that comprise multiple areas, many locked doors, and gigantic robotic bosses. There are oodles of traps, plenty of guns, loads of upgrades, and cute kitties. Consequently, the blend of elements leads to a confusing experience that supports the bullet-hell approach.
Keys, guns, and death.
I’m conscious that Wildcat Gun Machine could be considered a puzzle title. However, this “tag” is so loose that it’s almost irrelevant. Yes, you have to explore the labyrinthine world to find keys to progress, but this is the extent of that element. Subsequently, it felt more adventure/Metroidvania than anything else. The multicoloured keys send you on a predetermined route, which makes the game distinctly linear. Now, this is fine, but I would have liked a heavier focus on Metroidvania. It would have been fascinating to combine maze-like gameplay with the brutality of each arena.
This brutality is countered wonderfully by a large array of weapons and upgrades. As you explore, you will find bigger and better guns and skeletons to loot. The new weapons balance out the difficulty and give you a unique strategic approach. Whether it’s a high-powered rifle, machine gun, or grenade launcher, they all have pros and cons. Alongside this, you have unlockable perks such as dashing, grenades, and more. You are also blessed with a special ability that turns you into a killing machine.
As mentioned, you must loot skeletons to upgrade your character. This is supported further as you kill each enemy you face. You’ll gather bones that can be spent on new pistols, and increased abilities. These are game-changers and are essential as you progress. If you fail to maximise your hero, you will die! Death is absolutely guaranteed, but it isn’t too frustrating. Unlike rogue-lite/like games, you don’t lose your progress or anything you’ve gathered.
Wildcat Gun Machine looks surprisingly good.
I expected Wildcat Gun Machine to be your standard pixelated indie title. Instead, it’s a vivid and well-polished cartoon affair. Consequently, it is a treat for the eyes and a pleasant change from the norm. Alongside the striking imagery, I adored the variety of monsters, the unique backdrops, the gargantuan bosses, and the interesting stage design. With many of the core elements reused throughout, I thoroughly expected the graphics to follow suit. Luckily, however, they didn’t, and this makes it stand out from its peers.
The action is fast and hectic and so is the audio. The aggressive hard-hitting tunes combine brilliantly with the silly, sci-fi sound effects. Therefore, you experience loud and uncomfortable audio that matches the theme and genre. However, it is not perfect! Many of the noises sound similar and I would have liked more variety. What’s more, it would have been interesting to have soundbites for each foe you faced. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, and this was an oversight.
Simple dual analogue controls.
When all hell is breaking out around you, you need the controls to be simple. Luckily, the easy to master dual analogue approach makes it a cinch. Furthermore, the well-designed UI complements the control layout. Each ability, item, and new weapon are straightforward to use and this was fantastic. Consequently, this is an excellent game for veterans and newcomers alike.
With many mysterious elements and loads of weapons to unlock, this has both longevity and replay value. It would be easy to lose hours in each chapter, and certain areas are tougher than others. Subsequently, completing this is no mean feat.
Wildcat Gun Machine needed direction.
Though I’m comfortable with a free-flowing game, I still enjoy some guidance. Consequently, Wildcat Gun Machine needed more focus and direction. Yes, the action is linear, but I’d have liked to know why everything was occurring. Though these complaints don’t take away from the game’s brilliance, they would have made it so much better. Yet, all things considered, I still recommend you buy it here! Scour each level, grab the skeletons, upgrade your character, and kick some ass.