Gunkid 99 PS5 Review: Lock, Stock And Try Again

A suitably challenging twin-stick shooter fused with platforming action where you have to collect guns before the time runs out: Gunkid 99 on PS4.

Kids and guns don’t mix but throw in some platforming action, and you have a pretty challenging experience in Gunkid 99. Developed by Yongjustyong back on Steam in 1999, hence the title (I made that up), it’s now available on consoles.

What platform you play this game is irrelevant as it’s a low-fi visual experience, but with all its stats invested in brutal gameplay. If you read the news bit from a week ago, you might recall there are only 30 levels. First of all, they’re handcrafted, so there’s some thought involved. Second, you won’t be flying through each level with ease.

Unsurprisingly, Top Hat Studios are publishing for consoles, having released the equally difficult SHEEPO. Difficulty is a matter of opinion, but comparing the two, Gunkid 99 is much more energetic and quick-fire – literally, as you’re up against the clock and only have three health points by default.

The concept is unusual: collect guns before the time runs out. In practice, this works great. A firearm will spawn each time you collect the one before it, and you only have ten seconds to pick it up. The level design isn’t that elaborate, but enemies continuously spawn to the point that getting past them is a feat in itself.

Gunkid 99 Release Date
Source: PR

For each gun you collect, you’ll automatically switch to it. Say you had a revolver and collect a shotgun; you’ll stick with the latter until you pick up the next gun. You can’t manually switch through guns, but when you complete a stage, it’s possible to select the weapons that will spawn on that level, pending you have unlocked the guns in the first place.

My strategies shifted back and forth, but it became apparent that collecting the guns was the top priority

With the platforming side, you can jump through ledges, wall jump and perform a double jump. The controls throughout are pretty tight, but I struggled a bit with the wall jumping. In the end, I conceded that it would be best to run for my life and stick to basic jumping. Besides, the evasive roll is the true godsend in Gunkid 99. Pressing the L2 button will make you temporarily invulnerable, allowing you to glide past enemies and traps.

My strategies shifted back and forth, but it became apparent that collecting the guns was the top priority. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get carried away and blast at the enemies. The thing is, they’ll continue to respawn endlessly, and they don’t affect your score. They do drop coins, which will play a role in upgrades; otherwise, it’s best to keep tabs on them and always have an exit path as it can get overwhelming.

And that is perhaps the biggest flaw of the game. Well, not necessarily a flaw, but the difficulty level will instantly kick casual gamers to the curb. Heck, it’ll test the patience of most gamers, but never really at the point of rage quitting – writes the person who rage quit the last time they played it. No controllers or egos were hurt in the rage, well, perhaps my dignity as it was in front of the kids. To be brief, the endless respawning can be very problematic if you don’t have a strategy.

Gunkid 99 Review - To the death
To the death. Source: PR

Coming back to coins, when you accumulate enough, you can buy goodies in the shop that include the likes of bonus coins, extra health and more. The essential items to buy are weapons. Once you have them unlocked, they’ll randomly drop in each wave, but you can configure three of your favourite weapons to drop in the endless modes. With the added leaderboards, there’s a massive incentive to improve your scores.

Gunkid 99 is a good game – both in concept and playability. Like the very recent Circa Infinity, I’d recommend short bursts, though it’s hard to put down – especially when you’re so close to completing a stage. While anybody can pick this up and play immediately, the intensity of enemies makes it one to rule out for casual gamers or those wanting a chill experience. That said, the urgency adds to the thrill, and I’d encourage you to check it out.