Games don't always need a serious attitude. They don't need an end of the world scenario or a life-changing decision being made. Sometimes, what they need is the self-assurance to give a bit of lighthearted fun. Tio Atum mixes together Contra, Metal Slug and bullet-hell inspired gameplay elements on an unknown alien world filled with deep chasms and towering peaks to create just that. With progression being driven by a need for bigger and better guns, Greedy Guns works to deliver an enjoyable exploration experience.
In Greedy Guns you play as Bob K. or Kate T, two Greedy Guns mercenary team members hired to invade alien planets via preemptive attacks. Coming from a long line of mercs hired by the nefarious HOLO CORP, they've got nothing but violence and money on the brain. Their mission is to get paid while obtaining a variety of artifacts, researching the local wildlife, and collecting their DNA. This game is a would-be 80's action movie with loose story threads consisting of excuses for upgrades that aren't just bigger guns and a mysterious employer that is only ever called "The Hand". Past the opening scene, Greedy Guns is extremely light on narrative, but adding more would most likely add more confusion than clarity on who the mercs are at what role HOLO CORP plays in the world. The one point of mystery throughout the game is the ghostly thief that always happens to appear as you take on gigantic monsters, but even that seems more window dressing than anything. Not many games are able to tell you that even their main villain is a MacGuffin.
The gameplay in Greedy Guns is where it really shines. After being dropped on this alien world sporting nothing but a blaster, you navigate the large maze underneath the surface. To take on the variety of life on the planet, players need to coordinate both platforming and twin-stick shooter skills. The ability to move and shoot at the same time is a large part of getting through this game. You'll encounter multiple enemies types and environmental obstacles like temporary shields, laser beams erupting from walls, and instakill spikes. There isn't much to fear if you die, as there are no lives in Greedy Guns and a death will only put you back to the start of the room. This works to the player's advantage as it gives you more opportunities to find the perfect loadout.
Unlocking new areas will give you access to a wider variety of weapons which will make different encounters easier to deal with. Only two weapons are equippable at a time, and shops become much more common as the difficulty ramps and strategy becomes a factor. Weapons like the Spread Gun will be your go-to when dealing with a swarm of foes but get caught in a fight with the Grenade Launcher and you might just find that you kill yourself faster than your enemies do. This variety allows you to change your style of play as you move through the alien world. Each weapon you unlock is going to put a larger dent in your wallet than the last, so prepare for a grind if you want to unlock them all.
Along the way, you'll run into rooms that lock themselves upon entering, usually telegraphed by health and a shop beforehand. These chambers challenge you to take on wave after wave of the area's enemies. Staying alive means watching multiple enemy patterns and either taking out the larger threats first or clearing out the small hordes so you can focus. Boss fights take things to the next level, with each boasting their own unique patterns. These massive enemies can take on the forms of floating entities, a single-eyed elevator creature, and even a giant space bug. Environmental hazards are usually included alongside bosses, just in case there wasn't already enough for you to keep your eyes on. Like learning a new enemy, you'll need to spend an attempt or two memorizing each of their patterns slowly and weeding out all your small mistakes to even stand a chance.
It wouldn't be a Metroidvania game without each of these bosses rewarding you in some way, and most bestow player a new ability upon defeat. Each of these adds to your navigation repertoire and gives you a new option in battle, like being able to roll past enemies without taking damage. There's no point in the progression that tips you over the edge of being too powerful, so you're grounded in the knowledge that going back to all those inaccessible locations means a real possibility of messing up along the way and dying.
One of the more interesting characteristics of Greedy Guns is its colorful illustrated art style. Reminiscent of Newgrounds titles back in the mid-2000s, characters have their own somewhat grotesque appearance that somehow manages to stay comedic within the art style. You'll encounter strange walking spiked strawberries, cocoons firing energy blasts, and one-eyed frogs all ready to do whatever they can to stop your journey. Even in death, explosions of blood and coins seem almost welcoming. Each of the environments you travel through has its own style. Natural hazards and obstacles like spikes are present all over the planet but themed to their location, whether that be spiked wheels in buildings or the thorny vines of the jungle.
Greedy Guns works to pair together a great offering of Metroidvania exploration with a host of colorful locales and characters. Where the game falls short is that while each of these aspects are delivered adequately, there's no defining element that only Greedy Guns can offer you. Fans of exploring and shooting aliens will have an enjoyable time with this title but others might not find enough to draw them in.
For our Greedy Guns review, the author spent 10 hours playing on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.
Greedy Guns shines as it throws alien bosses and a heavy artillery at you. This is an experience Metroidvania fans will dig.(Review Policy)
- Knows What it is...
- Cartoony Art Style
- Weapon Variety
- ...Needs to Take it a Step Farther
- Forgettable Story