Gunslugs: Rogue Tactics – “When an arcade shooter goes rogue”

Just how far do we want our favourite developers to push things? Oh sure, we all say that we want more ambitious, more adventurous, deeper mobile games.

But do we really? Or rather, at what cost?

Gunslugs: Rogue Tactics follows on from two highly entertaining action platformers that placed dumb fun front and centre. This third entry tries to push the formula forward, and rather trips over itself in the process.

Sneaky blighter

Ostensibly, Gunslugs: Rogue Tactics has you doing the same thing as before – running from left to right shooting goons. Occasionally you’ll encounter a building to raid, where you can sabotage stuff and shoot more goons.

But Gunslugs: Rogue Tactics throws in a bunch of extra things to do. You can approach each stage in a stealthy fashion, sneaking up on enemies before stabbing them in the back, and taking out security systems.

It’s nice in theory, but the stealth system feels clumsy and ill-defined, and you invariably end up in frantic melee scraps – or, more likely, resorting to your gun.

The game is full of ideas, though. Rogue-lite elements keeps things fresh, while there are constantly shifting missions to embark upon – hacking terminals, cutting shipping containers down – and a roster of different playable characters to unlock.

Metal sluggish

What really undermines the game, though, is its controls. There are just too many buttons: five action compared to the previous game’s two, in addition to a pair of directional keys.

In a fast-paced arcade game like this, it just doesn’t work. I found myself constantly missing or mis-pressing buttons and looking down to get my bearings.

There’s the ability to resize and reposition these buttons, but I could never quite get it to feel natural and instinctive. It all feels, well, sluggish.

Unfortunately, Gunslugs: Rogue Tactics simply doesn’t flow as it should. Progress feels too awkward and stilted where its immediate predecessor was immediately gratifying.

While it’s got way more ambition and potential than its predecessors, it’s simply not as fun.

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