Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition is an overhauled version of the popular Nongunz that was released on PC a few years back. The updated version is getting a release across all major home consoles, including the Switch, and promises to provide great replay value due to its roguelike structure. I have generally found roguelike games to be light on narrative and substance which is par for the course for the genre, albeit with the odd exception, of course. However, Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition looks visually nice with slick gameplay and an almost monochromatic colour scheme.
One thing that becomes clear pretty soon after you fire up this game; it does not hold your hand. You are kind of thrown into the deep-end and left to figure things out for yourself. There’s a quick and basic tutorial on what buttons do what but then you get stuck into the procedural action pretty quickly. The character movement plays out like a run and gun Contra type game and each procedurally generated area is swarming with baddies. Each ‘level’ has a finite number of rooms, indicated and tracked in a HUD map in the top right-hand corner, so you always know how far you are away from the end, where a boss awaits.
The action is fun and you soon feel overwhelmed with each screen, which is no mean feat on a small 2D side-scroller like this. Along the way, you encounter demonic enemies of increasing difficulty as well as a number of environmental hazards such as spikes and lava, which all add to the stress of navigating your way through. You are incentivised to keep the number of bullets you fire to a minimum and of course, as you probably guessed, any death means going back to the hub and starting again. However, you build up your knowledge and tactical know-how as well as your gear through RPG-type upgrades, all of which can be put to good use if you want to keep progressing further and further.