In the world of 2D, scrolling platform games, it’s not very often that you get treated to a sequel that follows on from where the first title left off. However, that’s exactly what Crazy Monkey have done with their latest title, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2; a follow-up to their well-received shooter, yes you’ve guessed it, Guns, Gore & Cannoli. This new release upon the Nintendo Switch, also boasts a whole range of new features, including upgraded moves such as double jumping and roll-dodging, three-hundred and sixty degree aiming and a selection wheel for up to thirteen different varieties of gore inducing weaponry.
Following on a couple of decades from the original’s twenties setting, we now find Vinny Cannoli knee-deep in trouble during the forties; just as the war in Europe is entering its final stage. The game begins with our hapless gangster tied to a chair as two rival thugs re-acquaint us with the events that have led up to where we find ourselves know. This recap produces a nice intro to the game, making it a standalone title that can be played without going through the original title. It isn’t long before you manage to break free from your restraints, embarking on a violent journey that takes you through the city, the zombified remains of the Thugtown from the first game and on to the battlefields of war-torn Europe.
There’s a nice variety here in the presentation of levels and environments, just as there is with the array of weaponry on offer to creates all manner of mayhem. Ranging from baseball bats to the good old-fashioned tommy guns and from rocket-propelled grenades to the satisfying spread of the flamethrower; you can even dual wield to give your fire-power a boost. It all adds to produce a rather gratuitous splattering of blood induced gore, as well as some satisfyingly explosive levels as you interact with the environment by shooting flammable barrels, gas pipes and wrecking balls, to name but a few.
Couple this with Vinny’s upgraded mobility and it produces a very tight mechanic in the games run-and-gun play, producing an enthralling series of levels which fills the screen with all manner of goings-on, from blood splats, explosive damage and a variety of bad guys and bosses on which to unleash your bullet-hell fury. These extra elements to the gameplay has also allowed the developers to produce more variety in the level design. Although primarily a 2D side-scroller, level structures can also be traversed on a more vertical axis, allowing you to jump up to roofs, girders and scale the sides of buildings. It all adds to a satisfying mechanic in level design that sees you running, gunning and jumping in all manner of moves and directions.
Although the game follows along a story of sorts, the plot is relatively weak and at times, frankly weird; not that it really matters though, as the main premise of the game and, ultimately, the enjoyment comes from the platforming and shooting mechanics. However, the production levels really do stand out here, with nice looking and highly detailed levels and character models, an ever-changing musical score that matches the on-screen action and environments in which you find yourself and constant voice acting throughout; although Vinny’s, as well as other henchmen’s one-liners do begin to grind after a well. They may start out lightly funny at first, but they soon tire themselves out with a repetition of quotes.
Another nice feature that the game incorporates is the ability to play multiplayer, both locally and online for up to four players. Working co-operatively, you play through the game’s campaign. This extra fire-power is a welcome addition, as Guns, Gore & Calloni 2 is no walk in the park; even on the easiest difficulty setting. Saying that though, it’s not impossible either; in fact, I’d say that its got a nice balance and generous health restorations dotted around each level, but it’s still challenging nonetheless. Anyway, playing with friends locally, or online, is a blast, literally. The on-screen action is chaotic at the best of times, yet satisfyingly fun as you all work together to advance through the levels and onslaught of enemies trying to stop you. However, with four of you now producing all manner of one-liners, their grinding nature bites even deeper than playing in its single-player mode.
Despite housing some tight gunplay, solid level designs and a smoothness in its executions, this isn’t a game that is without its frustrations. You’ll find yourself at times, especially on the later levels, where you find yourself dodging and rolling all over the place. However, performing such an action doesn’t render you invincible and getting yourself caught within a hail of bullets will cause damage. The problem here, lies in the quick-movements that the game forces you into, often leading to gunfire being impossible to dodge. Saying that though, should you reach a grisly demise, the game doesn’t punish you too much with its restart values. However, I found the biggest frustration being the selection of weaponry from an on-screen wheel. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t pause when selecting weapons, leaving you vulnerable to enemy attacks when you need a specific weapon on-the-fly. It’s also quite fiddly and not very accurate, at least not until you learn the layout of the wheel and where your preferred weapons are positioned. There’s nothing game-breaking here, but it is still frustrating at times when the going gets tough.
Overall though, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is a pretty solid game. It’s platforming and shooting mechanics are sound, producing a fun and challenging game, but also one that looks fantastic with its highly-detailed levels and smooth animations. Even as a single-player experience, this game is a lot of fun to play. However, its multiplayer offerings ramp the game up significantly in its fun factor. Saying that though, I did find it difficult at times to find a populated server and available lobby on which to play. Although it presents a nice challenge, it is a game that can beaten in around four or five hours. However, it has a high replayability value, mainly because of the fun you can have, but also through playing with friends or from having the option to play from a roster of different characters. Don’t want to be Vinny anymore? Fine. You can even play as Father Christmas if you want. Despite a couple of nuances, mainly with a couple of mechanics and voice-work, the production values of this game are very high and if you fancy a good, old-fashioned run-and-gun style of game, then you can’t go far wrong with this solid and very playable title.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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