Like many roguelikes, Enter the Gungeon is a difficult game to get into. Death is a natural part of this game and sometimes (as noted in our review) it's difficult to tell just how far you're progressing. But there are ways to tangibly get better, as well as recognize some of the ins and outs of the Gungeon itself. So today, Shacknews is offering a little help to anyone looking to brave the Gungeon for the first time with five essential tips.
1. Master the Dodge Roll (But Also, Look Out For Alternatives)
This one should go without saying, especially since Ser Manuel stresses this one in the game's tutorial. The dodge roll is a critical maneuver and key to survival, especially once the 'bullet hell' aspect of the game kicks in. Tougher enemies like the Gun Nut, the Gun Cultist, and the Lead Maiden (and that's just in the early levels) will quickly fill rooms with bullets and knowing when to utlize the dodge roll will be the difference between survival and death.
Remember that the dodge roll's first half can avoid bullets, but the second half of the roll can leave you vulnerable. So it's important to recognize where you're rolling and not just blindly flail around. Be ready to come out of the roll shooting, so you can chip away at enemies. The move also has its utility uses, such as knocking rolling barrels forward or destroying smaller slimes entirely. Later enemies can ignite you, so remember to use your dodge roll to put out any fires. And of course, remember that you can leap over pits with this move.
Also, it's important to recognize your surroundings and use the environment to your advantage. If you can roll behind a wall to avoid enemy fire, do so. If there's a table nearby, roll towards the area and kick the table up. Tables can withstand several hits before they go down and many times, they can be a lifesaver.
2. Practice With Each Weapon As You Find It
You'll be encountering a lot of weapons in Enter the Gungeon and it'll be important to recognize how each of these guns works. The Ammonomicon located in the pause menu is a great resource for learning about each weapon. It may offer some crucial information that's not always obvious, such as a special alt-fire or secret that can help in a pinch.
Remember that each gun has a different firing rate, so don't always hold down the firing button. Sometimes, spamming the button will be more effective and get a higher fire rate. Other weapons will require a charge, meaning you'll have to manage your dodge rolls to give you a chance to charge your shot.
Some of the weapons you find will even be of the explosive variety, including some of the aforementioned charge weapons or rocket and grenade launchers. Because you have limited ammunition, keep these weapons in your back pocket. Those puppies are wasted on standard foes, but can help make boss fights a lot smoother. But your 10th or 20th run, bosses like Bullet King and Gatling Gull should be second nature and you'll want to breeze through these guys as quickly as possible to minimize damage taken. Take out your big guns and let her rip, because if you actually survive a boss battle without taking a hit, you'll get a health upgrade. Trust me, an extra heart will come in handy.
3. Poke Around Gungeon Rooms For Secrets (And Save Your Keys)
The Gungeon is filled with secrets and secret passages should be expected. If you find a fireplace, be sure to find a water-based weapon. Weapons like the Mega Douser aren't just good for squirting targets, but they'll put out fireplaces, which hide special goodies, like money and armor. Lanterns that hang above doorways are also a sign of a secret passage, so be sure to find a switch or weak wall nearby.
More often than not, you'll also find chests inside secret rooms. The chests will often be locked and the temptation will be to use your key right away. Resist this urge! Some floors have multiple chests and if you use up your key right away, you're out of luck. The chest rarity order is Brown, Blue, Green, Red, Black, and Rainbow, so examine those colors before you use any keys. Very rare Glitch Chests are also around, but these will take players to a special glitched floor with multiple bosses. If you're low on health, do not open the Glitch Chests! If you're up to the challenge, take it on, because the rewards are great.
Most importantly, once you hit the second floor and you start finding some of the game's first NPCs, you'll need to free them from their captivity. If you don't have keys, guess what? You're out of luck. Do not waste your keys!
4. Manage Your Blanks Carefully
Blanks are a lifesaver, in that they can clear off all bullets from the screen. If you're on the verge of death, there's nothing to lose at that point if the screen starts to fill up with projectiles. But if you've mastered the dodge roll and you've become accustomed to enemy attack patterns, do not waste your Blanks. These should especially be saved for bosses.
Bosses like Bullet King won't hesitate to fill the room with bullets. Yes, it is possible to walk through a lot of these attacks or dodge roll through many of them. However, their later attacks will be a lot harder to avoid. That's when you want to use your blanks and fire away, ideally finishing the boss off. You can also use blanks in mid-dodge roll, so if you've miscued and are on the verge of flying into an enemy shot, use your blank to save yourself.
Blanks can also be used to open up some secret paths. If you see a weakened wall, indicated by a bright crack, and you don't have any powerful weapons to bust through it, a blank can be used in its place. Given that the secret wall might contain another blank, it may be worth the sacrifice. And speaking of sacrifice, if you see a Blank Shrine, be sure to pop a Blank off in front of it to get some quick loot.
5. Treasure Room Etiquette
We've already gone over the treasure chest rarity scale. But here are a few other things to keep in mind when finding a treasure chest. First off, as we've discussed, keys are a precious resource. Don't bother with brown chests that are locked, because the contents are often not worth the effort. That's not to say you should ditch the chest entirely. If you shoot the lock off the chest, the chest will spawn a "Junk" item. The item in itself is entirely useless, but if you find a shop on the floor, you can find a Sell Creep somewhere in the room. Drop the Junk in his grate and he'll offer up some quick cash for your troubles. (You can also sell off any useless guns the same way.)
Even if the intent isn't to shoot off the lock and turn the contents into Junk, it's generally a good practice to take a few shots at any chest, regardless. There's always a chance that a chest will end up being a Mimic, which is an extremely dangerous enemy disguised as a chest. If the chest comes alive, prepare to fire away. Now it should be noted that if you're playing as the Hunter, watch your dog! The dog will always bark at the sign of a mimic, so if he starts barking, walk away.
Finally, don't leave any contents in the treasure rooms or anywhere else, because a dirty rat will attempt to steal your stuff. You can exit the room and quickly run back in to catch the thief in the act. Take a shot in his direction and it'll discourage him from coming back for the rest of your run.