Merging together an already marvellous shoot ’em up with a meaty piece of DLC, Rolling Gunner + Overpower essentially feels like two games in one.
Taking place in a future where the controller of an advanced form of energy called BAC has turned on humanity, it’s up to you to take a stand. Wielding a Rolling Gun – a craft that comes in three distinct flavours, each one capable of taking down the BAC – it’s time to take action. The future depends on you. Good luck and all that.
Rolling Gunner originally launched in 2019 on Switch, and it garnered quite the critical acclaim. It’s easy to see why. With its range of difficulty settings it’s one of the most accessible shoot ’em ups available. It looks great, too, with chunky, colourful visuals. And it has a cracking soundtrack. But it’s the gameplay that really wins you over – it’s just so exciting to play.
Through six stages, it’s your job to avoid a cavalcade of enemy bullets while showering them with your own. But what makes things interesting here is the gunner unit that orbits your craft. With the push of a button you can lock it in place, adding an element of strategy. When being attacked from both sides it makes sense to lock it behind you to protect your rear. And when you’re facing off against a tough boss, why not position it front of you to provide more firepower?
There are more intricacies, too, such as being able to focus your fire. You also have an emergency bomb you can use to clear the screen. And if you collect the points tokens that spill out of enemies when you defeat them, you can power up a special attack that has the ability to do massive damage. If you’re skilled, you can make it even more potent by triggering it yet again. Ultimately, Rolling Gunner rewards you for being aggressive and getting close to your enemies.
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It’s the Rolling Gunner + Overpower mode that’s the default here, though. You can switch between the two quickly and easily on the game’s menu. While most things stay the same as you move from one to the other, new mechanics are introduced that make Rolling Gunner even more accessible and exciting to play.
The biggest change is that you get to take direct control of the gunner that orbits your ship with the right stick. It essentially makes the game a traditional scrolling shoot ’em up and twin-stick shooter in one. You’re also given an energy shield that can soak up some attacks. And your gunner not only spews standard bullets, but also a large plasma bolt that eats enemy bullets in its path. The result is that you can play even more aggressively, and it rocks.
How you choose to play, then, is up to you. But either way you’re going have a blast. It’s just a shame there’s only the campaign to go at and no additional modes; we’d have loved to see a score attack or boss rush mode. Thankfully there are online leaderboards, though, giving players the impetus to keep trying for a high score. And to help improve your skills, a training mode is available, as well as the ability to save replays to observe your form.
For shoot ’em up fans, Rolling Gunner + Overpower truly is a treat. Everything about it – from visuals to gameplay – is top-notch, ensuring that you have a big grin on your face from the moment you boot it up until you decide to turn it off. But the amount of difficulty options here, and the features introduced by the Overpower DLC, make this accessible to newcomers, too. We reckon this will be remembered as a classic in years to come.
Rolling Gunner + Overpower Review – GameSpew’s Score