Being honest, I almost passed on this game because of its name alone.
Some time ago, at the start of last gen, there seemed to be a trend that games had to be very mature and serious and exclusively display shades of brown and grey on their graphics. Now, it’s almost the opposite. I feel like games nowadays are more colorful than they’ve ever been and, to me, that’s a good thing. As for games taking themselves less seriously… that trend has been hit or miss.
I enjoy humour and enjoy it even more when it’s in games. However, I’m not really fond of this new line of absurd and objectively awful playing games designed solely to become the next hit on all the “let’s play” youtube channels. And that’s exactly the kind of game that the name Guns, Gore & Cannoli pictured in my mind. Fortunately for me, it turned out that there weren’t any goats in this game.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a 2D sidescrolling shoot ’em up very reminiscent of games like Metal Slug. You’ll be running, jumping and shooting left and right to the hordes of enemies and trying to reach the end of the level. It’s not an innovative concept but it is a proved one and it’s pretty fun.
The game has been designed as an arcadey type of game and that’s pretty visible in its lack of character progression. There aren’t any upgrades or experience points to earn, the only improving your character will be having through the game will be on the new weapons he’ll gather as the levels go.
Talking about weapons, the game features plenty. Some I’ve enjoyed more than others but it’s a varied arsenal nonetheless. Unlike in a game like Metal Slug or Contra, they don’t work as power-ups so you will never lose them. Instead, to keep you from overusing the most powerful ones, you’ll have to be picking ammo for them and administrate that ammo wisely by varying your usage of those weapons.
Another difference from those old-school shooters is that in GG&C you have a healthbar which obviously means you won’t be dying in one hit and there aren’t limited lives nor continues. However, if your character dies, you won’t be placed right where you were shot down but on the last checkpoint you may have reached like in most modern games.
The story to this game revolves around Vinnie, a gangster, arriving to a ficticious town with a mission from his boss to save a fellow mobster from an enemy family and then take it to safety. However, before he sets foot in this town it’ll be apparent that the people there has been turned into zombies but the orders are orders and he still has to carry on his job.
In its journey there will be more twists and turns but overall the story is pretty predictable. What dissapointed me however was the lack of jokes throughout the whole game. I found that there were very few attempts at humour in the writting. The story and the dialogs were pretty cliché but it never seemed that they were trying to make a parody out of it, instead the impression it gave me was that they weren’t giving this portion of the game much importance so it turned out that way.
The only funny moments I can recall were some extravagant enemy designs and the banter the protagonist spewed out when killing zombies in a certain way or when he picked those health-replenishing Cannoli, but they aren’t that many so you’ll have heard all of those a few times by the time you finish the game.
The game looks like a cartoon which is what the developers intended so in that sense you can’t ask more. There’s plenty of variety in the way the backgrounds are designed and also in the enemies you’ll encounter throughout the game so that’s all good. I’m not that fond of the way they decided to make the animations for the characters which reminds me of old flash games but I guess it makes the game in motion look more funny so it’s not that bad.
The music completely went for the 30’s and 40’s style and, in that sense, is very fitting. The voicework for the characters, even if given a pretty bland plot, it’s good enough. Also, like I mentioned before, those little expressions your character would say when killing some of the zombies were the funniest part of the game.
Things I liked
- Fun: I simply enjoy this genre and this game is able to provide a fun experience with good controls and satisfying combat. It doesn’t innovate but it also doesn’t screw up any of the important parts that makes a shoot ’em up like this enjoyable and for that I had a good time with it.
- Couch Coop: The moment you set up a match you’ll be presented with a screen that hints you the possibility to play with fellow humans beside you. There’s the chance for four players to join in a match but I could only play with one other player and it was still a great time. The game also has some arena duel mode which I didn’t find that investing but I guess it’s nice that they offer more modes.
- Enemy Designs: A game like this has to provide a ton of different challenges so it doesn’t grow repetitive and this game manages it by creating a wide variety of enemies. Tons of different enemy types and some of them quite funny but there will also be mobsters and army soldiers. One interesting touch is that there’s some faction mechanic working so the human enemies will attack and be attacked by the zombies creating some pretty amusing moments.
- Light Gore: In my opinion the game’s graphics being cartoony really helped GG&C. There will be zombies exploding, people burning, heads blowing up… but it doesn’t feel gross but fun because it’s colorful and unrealistic. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it kid-friendly but they won’t be traumatized or anything.
Things I didn’t
- Bossfights: One of the most memorable parts in shoot ’em ups like this are the bossfights but that wasn’t the case for Guns, Gore & Cannoli. They’re few (only 3) and they’re pretty lazy. The worst example being easily the first one which consists in a simple gangster with a much greater lifebar jumping around and shooting at random inside a warehouse while some other regular enemies spawn in from time to time. Calling it uninspired would be an understatement.
- Weapon Management: The game has plenty of weapons from a regular pistol to a sci fi tesla rifle with shotguns, machine guns and even a flamethrower in between. That’s great. The problem is that you can only change your weapon for the next one in your inventory or for the previous one. There are no weapon wheels of any kind and with such a diverse arsenal selecting some specific gun in the middle of a firefight becomes troublesome.
Who’d like this?
For a game with such a delicious dish on its title, the game feels a little bland. However, it’s a very fun game in its core and even more so with a friend playing beside you in cooperative. If you enjoy this kind of games, this one might not be its best representative but it’s still pretty solid so I’d say try it.