Gauntlet title screen

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Review: This Port Is About To Die

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is a twin-stick, top-down, arcade-style action game boasting three different modes: Campaign, Colosseum, and Endless. Even though the modes are slightly different, none really diverges from the “mash this button”-type of gameplay. Every mode is there to help you grind for gold—and don’t get confused, this game is absolutely about grinding for gold.

Gauntlet steps

Those subtitles are too true…

No matter which character you play as, it’s all about the bling bling. However, because there isn’t anything meaningful to do with the currency, grinding for it isn’t very fun. There are some weapons you can buy and some skills you can upgrade, but it’s mostly useless, unless you enjoy grinding on Endless (in which you fight through floor after floor of enemies until you meet your demise). Without the Endless mode, you would have to be grinding through the campaign mode over and over again, and nothing in the campaign is interesting enough to really feel the need to replay any of it.

Gauntlet Puzzle

This is the closest thing to a puzzle in the game. No problem-solving skills required.

The worst part about the grind? Your characters don’t share a gold pool, forcing you to grind with every character. Counter-intuitive to its purpose, this really deterred me from ever wanting to experiment with the different characters play styles.

Now, about those characters, you’re given the option of a warrior, a valkyrie, an archer, and a wizard. The warrior is just bash and smash, completely uninteresting. The valkyrie is able to block, which is nice, but in the end it feels too similar to the warrior. The two most interesting characters to play as are the archer and the wizard. The wizard plays like a simplified Magicka character, which is enjoyable but only effective if you’re playing with a full team.

My character of choice was the archer, if for no other reason than it plays like your classic twin-stick shooter. Move with the left stick, shoot with the right, place bombs when running away from hordes, and slowly pick off the giant group of monsters. I absolutely love twin-stick shooters, so this character was a godsend for me.

Gauntlet level select screen

The Campaigns level select screen is fairly straightforward, but done competently.

The one thing I’ll say is that playing with friends is the only way anyone should play this game. Playing solo is horribly, terribly, disastrously boring. However, with friends it becomes a decent game. Luring your friends to their death so that you can steal their gold is always a blast. Griefing is the absolute soul of this version of Gauntlet. But alas, after about thirty minutes, even with friends this game wears out its welcome and falls straight into mediocrity. This game, no matter how you slice it, is mediocre.

The best example I can give is how after the second level you have a complete understanding of how this game functions. That may be great for some, but for me it just wasn’t enough. The entire time I just couldn’t help but feel like it was lacking any real depth. Sure, griefing friends is always fun, but that’s not the whole point of the game.

Gauntlet Puzzle

This is the closest thing you’ll get to variety in this. A few doors between you and enemies.

Griefing is an aspect of the game that some may or may not participate in. Not only that, but most of the attacks don’t feel like they have that special oomph behind them, which is even worse because on the default normal setting the enemies take a few to many hits when playing alone, and not enough hits when playing with friends, and it seems to meander.

Gauntlet more stairs

I had heard very middling to negative things about this game when it originally came out on PC last year, but I wanted this port to be good. I wanted to have a great time with a simple arcade-style game.

I’m a huge fan of twin-stick shooters. I love the top-down perspective with arcade-style games. I love being able to kill hordes of monsters and like to feel like the most powerful person around.

You know what I don’t like? Dying in mere seconds if I don’t immediately begin to run in single-player, having to hit small peons multiple times just to kill them, and grinding out gold for a small, almost meaningless, item that barely alters the game.

Sadly, even if it was on sale for a bargain bin price, I would have a difficult time recommending this game to anyone. Even though it does some things right, it just doesn’t do anything interesting with those things.

All in all, I had a little bit of fun with Gauntlet: Slayer Edition, but I could never imagine going back to it. This is just simply not a very fun game to play.


Good Things

  • Great game to grief your freinds with.
  • The sound when you pick up gold and potions is quite nice.

Bad Things

  • Boring soundtrack.
  • Not enough content to justify gold grind.
  • Bland simplistic combat that never evolves past the first stage.