Guns, Gore & Cannoli Review
Publisher: Crazy Monkey Studios
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Release Date: 25th September 2015
Available On: Digital Only
Guns, Gore and Cannoli is an over-the-top, comical, fast-paced action game with hand drawn graphics set in the twenties. You play as Vinnie Cannoli, a wise-cracking gangster who is looking for a missing member of his gang. What he encounters instead is a city full of the undead, who are eager to eat his flesh, and turn him into one of their own.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for side scrolling shooting games, ever since the days of Contra, so I was beyond excited when I saw this announced, unfortunately though this seems to be a case of style over substance. You start by picking an outfit for your character, and while there are some pretty cool choices here (you can be a stormtrooper, or dress up as Rambo) these are purely aesthetic, and make no difference to the way the game plays. Once you start you’ll be ran through a brief in-game tutorial, although there is nothing here that you haven’t encountered before. You’ll come across progressively more difficult enemies as you move through the levels, and you will also occasionally have a boss fight. The boss fights are pretty straightforward, it’s more of a case of unloading as many bullets as possible until they are dead, no special strategy is required, which feels a bit like an oversight as it make the bosses feel like a regular character with extended health. The game itself has quite a few missions to play through, however there isn’t a massive amount of content here, you do have 4 difficulty settings, I tried a couple of missions on the ‘impossible’ setting, and it does significantly increase the difficulty by decreasing the damage your weapons do. The checkpoints in the game are pretty generous though, and dying does have the advantage of making a lot of the enemies disappear once you restart. I also found that at some points in the game it is actually easier to just walk/run through the enemies, instead of killing them, which sort of defeats the point of the game. I also found on occasions that when you do get swamped by enemies you actually move slower and lose the ability to jump, this can be frustrating when you are close to a checkpoint, although this does only happen a few times within the game. For me the biggest oversight in the game is the lack of online co-op. The game supports up to 4 players locally, but it has no online at all, and it’s a massive shame as it would have made this game a lot more replayable.
Graphically the game is pretty decent, the hand-drawn worlds look great, although the worlds in which you fight are a little generic. I would have liked to have seen something a little more varied than a sewer, this is a game set in a world where Prohibition is in full force, we do venture into a speakeasy, but that is about as exciting as it gets. The enemies also seem to lack imagination, there are only a few variants of each, which only increases the feeling of déjà vu from playing this (although I did really like the bomb throwing Leprechauns). Sound in this game is fine, your main character constantly fires off wisecracks throughout the game, but they soon repeat. The music fits the theme, but it doesn’t really stand out. I’ve used the world ‘Generic’ a lot in this review, but there really isn’t much to make the game stand out here.
One thing that achievement hunters will really appreciate is just how quick this game is to get 1000 Gamerscore. There are achievements for killing enemies with certain types of weapons, completing the game on the hardest difficulty (although there is an exploit you can use to do this easily), and there are 2 slightly tricky achievements, where you have to play certain levels without killing a single enemy. This is pretty annoying, and not in tone with the rest of the game, but with a little perseverance it can be done.
Overall I would say that Guns, Gore & Cannoli is something of a missed opportunity. I did enjoy the game when I played it, but I couldn’t help thinking that there was something lacking. It was a little too short for my liking, and the time spent playing the game would have been a lot more fun with the addition of online co-op. Recommending this is a little tricky, I know it sounds like I’ve done nothing but hate on this game, but that is because I feel this game is really close to being great, but for now though I would say to maybe pick it up if it goes on sale.