19th Jan2018

‘Guns, Gore and Cannoli’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Emma Rees

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Guns, Gore and Cannoli is a 2D side scrolling shooter with lots of platforming. Set in the fictional Thugtown during the 1920’s era of prohibition, illegal alcohol trades are taking place and a series of gruesome ‘murders’ have been making the headlines.

You play as headstrong mobster, Vinnie Cannoli, who is assigned the task of going to Thugtown to find a missing guy called Frankie. He boards a ship and chills out in his cabin, but no sooner than the ship arrives at its destination zombies swarm aboard and devour the crew. Not one to wait for answers, Vinnie whips out his gun and starts blasting his way through doors and flesh eaters, leaving a trail of gore and destruction. However, zombies are not the only enemy he will face; gang members will war with him, and even the army as he comes closer to uncovering a sinister government conspiracy.

You can play cooperatively with up to four players and there are four difficulty settings ranging from ‘easy’ to ‘impossible’. There are also a variety of characters to choose from although it is only Vinnie who will speak and trigger cutscenes. The voice acting itself is great and there are some amusing one liners from Vinnie.

An exciting array of weapons are littered throughout stages including a Shotgun, Tommy gun, Magnum, Flamethrower, Molotovs and grenades. They all sound realistic and are great fun to use. The magnum and flamethrower are particularly powerful, burning and making a mess of anything or anybody in their trajectory: heads squelch, bodies explode and gore splatters the ground.

You always feel powerful and armed to the teeth but enemies have the advantages of speed and sheer numbers. There are several zombie types roaming Thugtown – some charge at you, others belch toxic gas, some are soldiers who still remember how to fire a gun. And there are leprechauns… Yes, leprechauns.

Ammunition eventually runs out, therefore, it is wise to reload frequently and not get carried away with using powerful guns on a few shamblers. The handgun has unlimited ammo but is no match for a ferocious crowd of the undead. If you do find yourself in a pinch, barrels and cars can be shot and will explode, causing large amounts of damage. Zombies will also move to attack human enemies if there are any in the same area.

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Health is regained by finding and eating cannoli along the way but if you die you’re never too far from a checkpoint; which is a a relief because the stages can quickly become chaotic. Boss battles are equally as challenging but are never dull. The stages themselves are nicely varied and include escaping an overrun ship to travelling through rat infested sewers and storming an army stronghold.

If you don’t want to play the story there is also a versus mode where you can play against friends or AI controlled opponents. You can customise your sessions with weapon types, timer and kill limits. This mode is manic but very enjoyable, especially when played with friends.

Guns, Gore and Cannoli looks fantastic. The 1920’s setting is perfectly reflected in its soundtrack, vehicles, fashion and locations. Sprites and backgrounds are hand drawn and animations are impressive; characters will grimace as they get hurt or use a weapon. The gameplay itself is fluid with tight controls. The only annoyance is how you have to keep pressing the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons to cycle back and forth through your guns. During combat this feels fiddy and inconvenient, especially if you want to change quickly to a specific gun. Storywise, the game is short but engaging with a humorous and likeable protagonist.

Even though the video game market is saturated with zombies, Guns, Gore and Cannoli delivers a fresh, action packed experience which is a blast to play by yourself or with friends.

****½  4.5/5

Developed and published by Crazy Monkey Studios, Guns, Gore and Cannoli is available to download now on the Nintendo Switch.

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