Joining the recent company of Axiom Verge and Ori and the Blind Forest, Greedy Guns taps into Metroidvania-style 2D exploration, offering its own twist to the equipment-gathering formula with the manic shooting of Gunstar Heroes and Contra. A very short take with Greedy Guns shows its potential as a fun distraction, but perhaps nothing more.

Players control a mercenary hired by an organization called HOLOCORP to harvest the fauna of distant alien worlds. The Metroid half of the equation assures new areas remain walled-off until certain power-ups are acquired from the DNA of bosses. The Castlevania half dictates players collect money in order to purchase new guns to better combat the local population. The short bit of gameplay shows off a single boss and sees us enter a new part of its world before ending.

Greedy Guns’ mix of styles certainly works well enough, but fails to realize the heights of its influences. The shooting notably lacks the rapid pacing of its luminaries. Whereas we dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge in Contra so as not to graze one of the deadly little pellets littering the screen, we are generally fine to stand and shoot in Greedy Guns. The boss offers some respite, requiring us to mind enemies rolling towards us from either side while bullets rain down from the ceiling.

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Unfortunately, the journey to the arena lack the same inventive combat, made more distressing as the exploration also feels sparse and marginal. Unlike Super Metroid’s planet Zebes – its many nooks and crannies hiding valuable treasures – Greedy Guns’ alien planet features only a few locked doors to be later opened with a power-up. Optional areas not only incentivize some independent snooping, but also add a bit of mystery and depth to every newly-opened level.

Therein lies Greedy Guns’ most troubling aspect: its bland world. Running and jumping feel fine, I just don’t feel compelled to do much else after the first boss. The world never hooked me, or even tried for that matter. While the game never attempts anything so original, it also fails to use its exploratory elements or minor backtracking to give life to the world. It doesn’t help that the intro opens similarly to Super Metroid, a game that immediately seeped you into its off-putting moodiness and twisted it with a bit of backtracking. The narrative also falls by the wayside, painting a shade of distrust between the mercenaries and the corporation and lacking either the humor or gravitas to make it work.

Greedy Guns’ flash-style visuals look pleasing, just missing the distinct, instantly tantalizing style of Super Metroid, or even Ori and the Blind Forest. The same could be said of the soundtrack, which nicely add instrumentation the further we explore. But again, nothing — not the gameplay, nor the atmosphere — really pops and demands our attention.

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Greedy Guns also features two-player co-op.

Perhaps Greedy Guns gets off to a slow start and soon reaches its ambitions as we climb deeper into its world. We can see pieces of something more than just serviceable during the early look, but the game unfortunately seem satisfied simply being adequate. Greedy Guns has been Greenlit on Steam and is expected to arrive later this year.