Thanks to Mastiff for the review code
Title: Rolling Gunner
System: Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/20/2019
Rolling Gunner is a horizontal shooter in the vein of classic score chasers such as ones from Psikyo and CAVE. The game uses a 2.5D art style with 3D models over a 2D space, although the models look pretty basic. Still, the enemy projectiles are all clearly visible and your ship even has a glowing orb to indicate its hitbox location, which makes the game easy to adapt to. The music is pretty forgettable, though by default it’ll be drowned out by the sound effects.
Rolling Gunner takes place over the course of six stages, each containing a midboss and a boss to take down between waves of enemies. You have a pretty standard set of controls, with one button firing a fixed shot, a secondary button firing a stronger, free-aiming shot, and a third button for detonating a screen clearing bomb. With these in mind, it’s pretty easy to aim and dodge accordingly, though the main challenge comes less from contact damage and more from the flurry of bullets enemies will send your way, regardless of difficulty.
While it’s a given that a higher difficulty means more bullets, there’s still a ton of fire to dodge regardless of what you choose, although the visible hitbox helps to make the game not nearly as punishing as you might think it would be. Like Danmaku Unlimited 3, the visible hitbox does a lot to make this a beginner friendly shooter while also providing challenge to veterans if they want to play on the harder settings.
Speaking of settings, Rolling Gunner offers a surprising amount of customization to tweak the game to your liking. Alongside your typical shooter options that adjust the amount of lives or bombs, you can customize the controls and each of the three ships have their own stats, some prioritizing speed over strength and vice versa, which means that if you find the ship and options that work for you the game can be a lot easier. If that somehow doesn’t help, then you can even give Novice Mode a try, which makes the game a lot slower and easier to the point that it’s a separate mode from the standard game, and if that somehow ends up being too hard, then you can go crazy in the practice mode which offers a stage select and even more options to mess around with, such as adding a defensive barrier at will.
In fact, if you want to challenge yourself or if you’re proud of a particular run, you can save it as a replay and play it back at several different speeds. Unfortunately, there’s no way to share or download replays online, nor is there any support for online leaderboards in any way. This is a big bummer considering how the big appeal of score chasers is looking at high scores and working to improve them, and with the amount of score chasers supporting online leaderboards on Switch, it’s baffling that Rolling Gunner is restricted to local leaderboards only.
In conclusion, Rolling Gunner is a fairly standard shooter, taking some elements and working on making them polished enough so that players of any skill levels could get used to shooting games, while experts can challenge themselves on the higher difficulties or by limiting themselves to getting as far as possible on one credit. It may not do anything new, but it serves as a fun, solid shooter for score chasing fans who enjoy these old-school games. Unfortunately, the lack of online leaderboards and overall lack of creativity make this a shooter that’s not nearly as engaging as some of the cheaper options on the eShop. Still, if you’re wanting to add another score chaser to your collection and don’t mind these missing features, Rolling Gunner will be a good afternoon.
I give Rolling Gunner a 6 out of 10.