Developed By: Brainwash Gang Published By: Digerati Categories: Roguelite, shooter Release Date: 05.06.21
Nongunz: Doppleganger Edition is a very vague, confusing game. After a very brief tutorial, you’re thrown into the world, with no explanation, left to learn yourself. After playing the game for hours, I still did not quite understand what was going on or how mechanics worked. I do know that Nongunz is a roguelite however.
Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. You’ll notice a counter at the bottom going up. That’s your currency. Keep shooting and it raises. Shoot the monsters you see and you can get a combo going, multiplying your earnings massively. This currency can be spent on a handful of things. The most obvious is the shop you’ll find in each floor of a run. The shop holds the roguelike staples of powerups in the form of cards. What these powerups actually do isn’t immediately apparent and at first, I constantly just used these powerups for a secondary use, destroying them to heal.
You start with a standard pistol and then can pick up stronger weapons with limited ammo. The pistol can mostly get the job done and feels good to use, but those other weapons just feel great to mow down enemies and the difficult bosses with. Especially the grenade launcher, which is great for getting those enemies just out of reach below you, letting the grenades bounce down the walls. I believe you can use your currency to power up weapons in a not so subtle station outside of runs, but the game never explains it, so I’m not sure.
Reminding me of games like Dynamite Heady or Puppeteer, you can get new heads which grant new powers. A double jump and air dash are the most helpful, but some give new alternate weapons or ways to protect yourself. Finding these heads seems a tad rare, so it’s always a joy to get them. The use of your currency can also be used to power these up.
Of course, buying everything isn’t the only way to get what you want. Rooms will occasionally have smaller treasure chests holding cards. These require a small health sacrifice to open. What you get is random, so you’ll need to decide what is worth it or not. Each floor also has a room dedicated to just having one chest. This holds an even stronger powerup, no string attached.
Nongunz is a hard game. Partially because of how little you’re told. Roguelikes/roguelites being difficult is standard. You learn how enemies movie, how hard they hit, boss patterns. You’ll need to learn what these powerups and heads do, because outside of a book in front of a church/castle you won’t be told. A certain enemy leaves a trail of goo, which does damage, but that is something you’d have to learn by actually touching it. Some enemies don’t even damage you, they just fling you up, mostly near spikes. You don’t really aim, so it can be difficult to really shoot a handful of enemies unless you bait them to you.
I have gotten into certain situations where I needed a certain head to proceed and got trapped with no way to escape. Death is only temporary at least. If you perhaps find a window in a run, you can escape with your cards, weapons, head, and currency intact. You’ll have to restart a run, but perhaps this is what you’ll need to help, as you can just stack and stack more powerups with more cards. If you want to save anything, they can all be placed in a tomb for future use.
With the meat of the gameplay being on the right side of the world you inhabit, the left side hosts an arena. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly just to practice against different obstacles and enemies. This is new to the Doppelganger Edition. Also new is two player local co-op. Definitely a welcome addition.
Like MadWorld, or Sin City rather before it, Nongunz is in black and white, with the rare color. It’s a striking artstyle and since it’s seen to rarely, I’m always pleased to see it. Makes blood and all of that gross stuff pop out. There’s a creeper vibe that just lingers the entire game.
The music is odd to say the least. It has an acoustic, folky feel to it. It definitely fits with that creepy mood that the game has.
Nongunz is fun, it feels good to play, but I’d be lying if I said that how purposefully vague the game was didn’t bother me a little bit. This is definitely the kind of game I’d love to get a physical release and have a manual that’d be like a tome in game or something to explain mechanics or the like. I wouldn’t keep playing if it bothers me that much though.
Buy Now: $14.99
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review