Impressions: Super GunWorld 2 – A place where guns grow on trees.
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but I really enjoy opening the PlayStation Store, finding a game that peaks my interest (preferably something I’ve never heard of before), and just taking a chance on it. Sometimes I discover a bit of a hidden gem and in other cases I find a dud, Super GunWorld 2 fits somewhere in the middle. After a strong opening it’s a game that’s only able to get so far before bizarre design decisions started to ruin things for me.
The setup here is simple, the Exaction Faction has invaded GunWorld with their eyes on arresting President Eagle. It’s up to Dwayne, retired GunWorld hero, to take out each member of the Exaction Faction and save the day. The game is essentially a mashup of Mega Man’s levels/boss encounters and Zelda 2’s overworld, with some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. Did I mention that, in this world, guns grow on trees? Because they do, it’s absolutely absurd, and I kind of love it.
The gun-plant dynamic at play is the main thing that really sets Super GunWorld 2 apart from other Mega Man clones. Specifically, Dwayne can throw down a seed that will immediately sprout a gun-plant or, if the button is held down, the seed will sprout a mini-turret. In its simplest form, it’s easy to imagine how one could use turrets alongside their own weapons in some interesting ways. I’m not sure that the mechanic is fully utilized, there are times that I just straight up forgot the turret function existed, but I do really like the concept.
Like Mega Man, Dwayne will go after each member of the Exaction Faction, run through their stage and eventually fight them one-on-one. Emerging victorious grants Dwayne the ability to purchase the boss weapon from an item vendor back in the main town which leads to one of my hang ups with Super GunWorld. Every gun in the game has to be replanted periodically whenever it runs out of ammo. The starter gun comes with unlimited seeds, but all boss weapons must be purchased one seed at a time. The amount of ammo in one gun is pretty limited and so it’s likely that you’ll burn through those boss seeds at a pretty rapid pace if you’re not careful. This felt like an odd choice to me at first, but it was something that I was willing to roll with for a while. Early boss weapons are inexpensive and it’s easy to stock up on them almost immediately. It also helps that the early boss weapons aren’t required to progress through levels, so it’s better to save them for the boss or special puzzle rooms (located in the overworld) that require a specific gun to access the treasure.
My opinion quickly soured in the later half of the game when it became apparent that late-game boss weapons would absolutely be required to finish the last few stages. Example: One boss weapon gives Dwayne a triple jump. This specific gun expires after two jumps and isn’t exactly inexpensive. I got half-way through a level, ran out of extra jumps, and didn’t have enough money to purchase any new seeds from the shop at the start of the level. So, I had to go back to the main town, explore the overworld and grind enemies before heading back to try the level again. This proceeded to happen a few more times in later stages of the game before I eventually quit.
What’s frustrating is that I really like a lot of things about Super GunWorld 2. The humor might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I actually quite like the writing and some of the puns in the game are just too good. Planting guns and turrets is also an interesting mechanic and I really appreciate the desire to make guns useful for more than just boss fights. Unfortunately, the need to purchase seeds and very limited ammo for each gun leads to the kind of situations that I ran into multiple times. Having to quit out of a level that you’re over half-way through, just because a certain weapon’s seeds are depleted, sucks.
I really, really wanted to like Super GunWorld 2. (And I actually did for the first half of the game!) Currently, I’m sitting at stage one of what I assume is the equivalent to Wily’s Castle in Mega Man, debating if I want to give it another go or not. Maybe I will once I get through the many other games I’m working through, but for now those are my *mostly* complete thoughts on Super GunWorld 2. It’s currently on PS4 for pretty cheap (around $8) and, at that price, might be worth looking into. Despite my own frustrations, I think there’s some legitimately cool things going on in this that are worth seeing.