Developer Chunkybox Games and publisher Daedalic Entertainment have a new game out. Do you like guns, do you like shooting things with those guns, do you like kittens? If you answered ‘yes’ to all three of those questions, then Wildcat Gun Machine could just be up your alley.
“Wildcat Gun Machine is an explosion roller coaster ride! Enter a bullet hell dungeon crawler where you take on hordes of disgusting flesh beasts with a wide variety of guns, giant mech robots, and cute kittens.”
What you get here with Wildcat Gun Machine is a real mish-mash of game ideas. Maze-like dungeons to explore. Plenty of guns to find and upgrade. Ugly bastard monsters to kill. Giant mechs to use. Upgradeable skills. Wonderful 2D art… and cute kittens. This is a bullet hell shooter that starts out tricky and just gets increasingly more difficult the more you play. The game’s basics are stupidly easy to follow and understand. You run around the maps, shoot enemies, earn bones (coins), use those bones (coins) to buy upgrades for both your (many) guns and skills, kill the boss and move on to the next level. Rinse and repeat.
If you are looking for depth of gameplay and story, then you won’t find it here with Wildcat Gun Machine. This is pure, balls-to-the-wall action with simple controls. Using a twin-stick shooter control method, you’ll be dodging bullets and shooting monsters in the face over and over. Think something along the lines of the classic shooter Doom, only not as appealing. You’ll be running around the map, which consists of large rooms connected via corridors. Enter a room and the doors will lock and you’ll have enemies spawn. Kill the enemies, the doors unlock and you move on. Along the way, you’ll find coloured coded doors and areas that you’ll need a corresponding key to access. Need to get to the red coloured area, then you’ll need a red key… again, very basic, very Doom-like.
That really is all there is to the gameplay. Enter a room, kill all the monsters and move on. There is no real story to speak of, it’s all about having bullets shot at you and you shooting bullets at enemies. The numerous guns have various attributes. From your standard and unlimited ammo pistol, to more impressive weapons such as lasers, rockets, pulse rifles and such, which do have an ammo limit that you need to keep an eye on. Kill a lot of monsters and you’ll fill up your special meter and you can unleash a bullet orgy of an attack, of which you have several to choose from, once you unlock them. Oh, and as for the cat theme that features in the game and marketing, cats are basically extra lives/checkpoints. That’s about it.
Available to buy now on PC and all the consoles, Wildcat Gun Machine will set you back £13. This is a tricky game for me to pass judgement on. If I really like a game, I can very easily put into words why you should buy it. Same with if a game is terrible, I can convey why you should avoid it. With a title like Wildcat Gun Machine, it’s okay. This is far away from being a terrible game but it is just as far away from being a great game too. It’s just a game that exists, it’s perfectly fine and very standard. It’s alright. Is it worth the £13 asking price? To be honest, it’s a fair-ish price point but I would’ve felt disappointed if I had paid for it at that price. Perhaps if you can get it on sale for sub £10, this may be worth looking into.
If you are a hardcore shooter fan, you may get more enjoyment out of this than I did. This is the first game from the small indie developer Chunkybox Games. In that regard, it does show some promise. They know how a shooter works and understand all the staples. But Wildcat Gun Machine is just a bit too shallow, a bit too cookie-cutter and all too safe. The indie scene is full of shooters, ones that are better than this one. A studio really needs to be a bit more creative. But as I said, this is a first title from a small team and I would like to see what they can do with this genre in the future.