Developer: Abstraction Games
Gunslugs on the Vita can best be described as Metal Slug meets Jetpack Joyride. The blocky, retro graphics and fast-paced arcade shooter gameplay call to mind the classic run-and-gun SNK series. Levels are filled with enemies and bullets, and the only way to survive is to be nimble and shoot faster. But the actual progression of Gunslugs is akin to Jetpack Joyride’s objective system and randomly generated design. While the levels follow a formula (every third level is a boss), everything is randomized. All you need to do is not die and get to the chopper. It’s brutally difficult at times and unforgiving, but it’s so easy to jump back in and experience more of the frenetic action.
The objectives challenge you do to complete fun tasks, but sometimes the only way to complete an objective is completely by chance. For example, there are numerous buildings you can enter that will randomly contain different things. One features an arcade cabinet that puts you in a bonus level that looks like Donkey Kong. Another looks like a level from Super Mario Bros., down to the fact that you no longer have a gun and must jump on enemies. The references are cute, but you only have one shot to complete the level. If you die (and you probably will), you need to randomly happen upon one of those buildings again with enough collected coins to try it. The callbacks are clever, but when progress through the game hinges on random drops, it’s unfortunate.
The format doesn’t work quite as well for a shooter as it does an endless runner, but Gunslugs is still a fun experience with a lot of humorous retro references and action. It’s a cheaper game on Vita well worth your time if you’re looking for a different take on a 2D shooter.