Gauntlet – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG, Co-op, Dungeon Crawler, Hack 'n Slash
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher: WB Games
Platforms: PC

Gauntlet – Review

Site Score
Good: Each class has their own type of gameplay, great visuals and subtle audio design, core elements of the arcade game are present
Bad: No story-driven campaign, dungeons are repetitive
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Gauntlet is the modern remake of the classic arcade Gauntlet game and is the latest game in the Gauntlet series brought to us by the developers of Arrowhead Game Studios. Since the game is a modern take on the arcade game, the arcade feeling has somewhat vanished. However Gauntlet remains to be a top-down hack and slash video game with some of the core elements from the arcade game being intact.

gauntlet banner


Gauntlet is not a story driven game. In fact, there is not much of a storyline to be found in the game at all. The game does start out with a cutscene where you meet Morak, a powerful wizard with enough juice to summon the Gauntlet. The dungeons you will be venturing in is part of a trial, where the player must find the three Lost Shards of Tyrfing. Once these are found, Morak promises you power and richness. The question is if you’ll be able to outsmart Death.


The visual design in Gauntlet is great and each world has their own type of design. The first world has a more sandy-feel to it, the second world is more cave-like while the last world is more fire-and-brimstone themed. Each of the worlds look carefully designed by hand. The visual effects are all colored to avoid confusion and they tend to resemble some of the visual effects that one can find in Diablo – especially the warrior’s whirlwind ability. While the overall visual design may look somewhat Diablo-esque, especially the visual effects, the gameplay does not.

Somewhere hidden in the settings is an Arcade mode. It does resemble somewhat retro-styled visuals but it doesn’t really resemble the arcade mode of the classic Gauntlet at all. The arcade mode is, simply explained, a pixelated version of the modern Gauntlet game. 8bit and even 16bit graphics are nowhere to be found in this mode, nor is the classical top-down view. The game does have a view that resembles the top-down view but this more modernized with added 3D-effects.

Left: Arcade mode off / Right: Arcade mode on

Left: Arcade mode off / Right: Arcade mode on


The background music is subtle yet present and tends to build up some of the tension, especially when a tower is about to spawn or when Death is chasing you. The other sound effects such as breaking jars or fighting the incoming hordes of creatures are just as subtle which makes the game so much more enjoyable. There are voice-overs present in the game, although you won’t hear them often but each of these are equally brilliant. Some of these lines will make you nostalgic, especially when you hear that “Warrior needs food, badly”.


Connecting to a public game can be somewhat of a hassle. More often than not, you’ll see any of the following lines: “This game is private and you weren’t invited.” and “You’ve joined too late – the game is already underway.” – all of these make me wonder why the game wanted me to join that lobby in the first place, especially if it’s a private game. While I understand that they’ve broadened the search distance of potential games to join, I cannot help but feel that they may have overdone it.

Gauntlet scr01

When I wrote up the review, the keyboard mapping was horrendous and felt like a game breaker. Shortly after that, patch v1.02 released. Now players can change their key bindings (keyboard and mouse only) to their own liking thus making the gameplay even more enjoyable. The controller works like a charm although it isn’t always easy to ‘aim’ with – which is why I prefer the traditional keyboard and mouse for ranged classes.

Other than these hiccups, the gameplay is quite good. The player can choose between four classes: the Warrior (Thor), the Valkyrie (Thyra), the Wizard (Merlin) and the Elf (Questor). The warrior is your standard melee class with whirlwind abilities while the Valkyrie is more or less your warrior with a shield, which you can swing towards enemies Captain America style. The elf is basically a hunter with a regular bow and arrow. Lastly we have the wizard which is, as the name suggests, a wizard – note that the wizard has the most array of spells. In fact, Merlin has up to nine different spells which is a great number compared to the other class’ abilities. The classes are quite balanced but many feel that the warrior is the underdog, especially when it comes down to damage-dealing. Personally I’m fond of the warrior although this is mostly due to the fact that my aim with the controller is way off.

Gauntlet scr02

When joining a game, the player spawns in a room with many doorways one can choose from. In total, there are three different colored doorways which can be considered worlds. Each world has four dungeons. The first three dungeons of each world is split up in three levels or floors – find the exit, run from Death and an arena-like level where you have to survive the several waves of hordes. The last door of each world contains a boss. While the other levels do not necessarily have Death chasing you, when the timer runs out you will have Death chasing your tail. Since the floors are not exactly randomly produced, the game feels like a rinse and repeat. There is still room for more content that would up the replayability of the game.

A shopkeeper is located in the room where all the doorways are. Here you can buy relics which can be upgraded twice to improve the relics abilities. Each relic has their own lore although it feels more like a description of the items. These relics are a great addition if you want to make your character even stronger but you can only equip two relics. To activate the relics you would also need to have potions available which can be scarcely found in the dungeons. Furthermore, the shopkeeper also sells equipment, although there are no stats attached to these items which makes them more of a bragging-right.

Gauntlet loudout

As I mentioned before, you can find gold, potions and food throughout the dungeons in every floor, including the boss-floors but when playing in a large group, these can be scarce. Playing with friends via the local or public multiplayer while running voice communications is your best option to optimize the potions and food you can find. There is no way of communicating with players other than the character emotes and most tend to ‘steal’ the items which can be frustrating since the loot is not shared. Additionally, if you manage to die, part of your gold will be dropped. This only ramps up the frustration level of players being selfish.

There are four playable classes but the gold is not shared, which means that you would need to start from scratch with every class. This is also true for the masteries of each class. Masteries can be looked at as the levels of a character but in reality they are achievements which grant bonuses when unlocked such as reduced cooldowns or a damage increase. Most tend to lean towards one specific class but more often than not, you will join a public game where your favorite class may already be taken. Of course you can always start a public game yourself or if you are brave enough, you can solo the dungeons.

Gauntlet scr03


When looking at Gauntlet as a modern take of the classic game, it tends to fall short even if the core elements are still there. However, when looking at Gauntlet as a separate game, it is simply great. The gameplay feels repetitive, especially when you’re able to memorize all of the floors once played but there is still room for additional content to be added, including a story driven campaign. A minor detail that is a great feature in the end is the fact that each class has their own type of gameplay, adding enough variety in the gameplay itself. All-in-all, Gauntlet is a great hack and slashing game and is recommended for anyone with love for the genre or its predecessor.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Gauntlet - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

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