Wildcat Gun Machine – Review
Follow Genre: Bullet hell, Roguelike
Developer: Chunkybox Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: PC

Wildcat Gun Machine – Review

Site Score
Good: Pleasing visual aesthetics
Bad: Gameplay becomes stale very quickly
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When we noticed that publishing duties for Wildcat Gun Machine were being handled by Daedalic Entertainment, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We’ve taken a look at several of Daedalic’s releases in the past, but apart from a narrative puzzle game, pretty much every title we’ve looked at was a point-and-click adventure. A bullet hell game seemed like a left-field choice for the German publisher. Given their previous track record and the fact that the key art looked stylish as hell, we were eager to give Wildcat Gun Machine a spin, though.


We were unpleasantly surprised to find that there is no narrative present here. We’ve probably been spoiled by Daedalic’s earlier releases, and of course, the German studio is only taking up publishing duties here, with Chunkybox Games acting as developer, but this still feels like a missed opportunity. And when we say no narrative, we mean it: the badass-looking protagonist doesn’t even get a name, let alone a motive or backstory. Unless her name *is* Wildcat, but even if it is, that’s something that’s never mentioned in the game itself. It’s a shame because this is a world that looks like it deserves to be fleshed out a little more, and even a short five-sentence blurb in between each chapter would have done wonders here.


What Wildcat Gun Machine lacks in narrative, it makes up for in visuals. The cartoonish chibi-like aesthetics work wonders here. We couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the art director was inspired by Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40.000 setting, with several enemy designs as well as the environments looking like kid-friendly versions of the inhabitants of said universe. “Kid-friendly” is relatively speaking of course, because there is still plenty of gore and gruesome imagery here, though the aesthetics make this more palatable. The game looks sleek and performance is fantastic as well, even when there are hundreds of bullets flashing across the screen at the same time.


We felt that Wildcat Gun Machine’s OST was missing some ‘oomph’, by lack of a better word. For the most part, you’re getting the classic techno soundtrack most people have come to associate with the genre, though it’s as forgettable as it is generic. For the more dramatic moments, like boss battles, the music shifts in tone and incorporates chanting, in a misguided attempt to add gravitas. Unfortunately, this falls flat against the cartoon visuals. The music is often drowned out by sound effects as well, leading to a soundscape that feels unbalanced. There’s also a lack of voice acting but this didn’t feel like an issue, probably because there is no narrative, and as such, it’s difficult to care about the protagonist in the first place.


At its core, Wildcat Gun Machine is a bullet hell title, but it shares more than a few similarities with roguelikes as well. Throughout its roughly seven-hour run, you’ll take on the role of our unnamed protagonist and make your way through four labyrinthian dungeons until you make your way to the climactic final boss. Along the way, you’ll obtain bones, which are used as in-game currency and can be spent on upgrading your basic weapons and purchasing things like extra lives and grenades. Playing through the game also nets you special weapons, which are more powerful than your basic gear but which are limited in ammo. There are over forty of these, each of which has its own unique ability, whether it’s piercing ammo or bullets that bounce off the walls, killing enemies at different angles. And then, there’s the titular Gun Machine, which is the game’s unique selling point. This contraption needs to be charged before you can unleash its raw power, but when you do so, it dishes out an enormous amount of damage -which means you’re best off using it in boss battles. All in all, you’ve got quite the arsenal at your disposal, so you’d expect there to be a rather meaty challenge ahead of you, right?

Well, not exactly. The game starts out very promising and whenever you pick up a new toy, it’s fun to experiment with it but ultimately, things get stale a bit too quickly. Mind you, this is a game that is only seven hours long, but we were only about an hour or two in before we were starting to feel the lack of depth. It’s as if Chunkybox Games ran out of ideas halfway through developing the game. There is the occasional spark of brilliance, and the boss battles are fun and challenging, but on the whole, Wildcat Gun Machine felt underwhelming, like it was a conceptual demo for a bigger, and more expansive game, instead of something that exists on its own accord. It doesn’t help either that Wildcat Gun Machine simply doesn’t bring anything new to the table -and we’ve seen what it does elsewhere and better.

That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, because it ultimately works as a quick and simple title, but we feel like it could have used better pacing, and more variety. It doesn’t even need a massive rework either: the way the current upgrade system is structured gives players access to all abilities after the first act, after which only minor upgrades to existing stats and extra lives remain. Spreading these out a little more and perhaps introducing a Metroidvania element where certain parts of the levels aren’t accessible until after you’ve unlocked a late-game upgrade would’ve done wonders for both avoiding that early-game staleness and increasing longevity. At this point, we should also mention that the game takes up a whopping 6.5 GB. This shouldn’t be an issue for PC players and even those picking up Wildcat Gun Machine on PlayStation or Xbox should be fine but for Switch players with limited storage, this is something to keep in mind, especially given how short the game is in the first place.


While we can’t say that Wildcat Gun Machine is a bad game, we also can’t say that we were very impressed with it. It starts out promising enough, but the way the upgrade system is implemented inevitably leads to a feeling of staleness and lack of depth once you’ve made it past the first act. This makes for a title that feels like it is overstaying its welcome, despite being on the short side. Those looking for a quick and simple bullet hell title could do far worse than picking up Wildcat Gun Machine, but if you’re looking for a meaty challenge, you’ll be left hungry.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Wildcat Gun Machine - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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