Gunfire Reborn: Wild FPS roguelite

I like roguelites. And I love FPS.

So I always wanted a good FPS roguelite. Given how popular are both genres (several roguelites have already sold more than 1M copies each, and I shouldn’t explain how FPS are still as popular as ever), you would think some company would produce a FPS roguelite and get rich.
Although I guess a properly developed game would be more expensive than similar 2d games (like Hades or Dead Cells), also games like Borderlands already feed the need of “FPS with rpg progression” although the condensed nature of doing it in a one hour game and having very varied, random builds isn’t at the same level.
So in this landscape, an unknown Chinese indie developer comes and makes what I dare to say it’s the first good FPS roguelite, at least much better than games like Immortal Redneck or Strafe. And for $10.

Gunfire Reborn is perhaps the only game of its type that is solid in both FPS combat and in the roguelite aspect. It is a Early Access game, which should been releasing their 1.0 version around Fall 2021, so people who wants the complete experience, still needs to wait a while.
The content of the game right now is three locations with 3-4 levels each and a boss fight takes place, 4 character classes, 47 weapons and more than 100 ‘scrolls’ (random passive perks/items you find while you play). Oh yeah, and 4 player coop too.
The roadmap says the planned updates will bring 2 more character classes, 1 more location, the final boss and alternate bosses, in addition to more weapons, scrolls, challenge areas, and more/reworked? metaprogression. So right now it seems the game is 60% done.

The current characters are

“A mysterious visitor from Spirit Realm who is proficient in alchemy and the elemental arts. With his alchemist expertise, the Crown Prince is able to trap and freeze the movement of his enemies with the Energy Orb. His hidden background has made him even closer to the elements. He combines various elements skillfully to create extraordinary effects.”

“A master of explosions and firearms. Ao Bai’s expertise with firearms allows him to control two weapons at the same time. Also, due to his passion for explosions, he has always been able to make powerful explosives.”

“Qing Yan is a skilled martial artist who moves like the wind and is as elusive as shadows. Unlike others, Qing Yan has a dislike of alchemy and Shield and chooses instead to indulge in martial arts and Armor. With his martial art prowess, Qing Yan likes to leap into the fray to cleave enemies. That being said, he also likes the smoke and sound of shotguns.”

Lei Luo, who is born with thunder tattoos, can easily manipulate thunder to hit enemies. Through continuous training, he can integrate his talents with firearm skills to make an amazing shot.

Normal runs are around 60-90 minutes, I think (I still have to reach the final area!). It offers boths solo and 4 player coop adventures, and there is a daily challenge option with special modifiers but in that mode you can’t unlock anything in the metaprogression so I suspect only veterans will use it.
I’m still playing in Normal mode, but once you beat the game, you unlock a Elite mode where I have read there are more traps in the levels, and elite enemies can appear with more advanced skills.

So why I’m liking it?

Solid combat:
-The gunplay is very good for an indie game, all weapons feel snappy and powerful. The sounds contribute a lot to this, in comparison with other indie games (like Immortal Redneck) where the sound aspect has been more lacking.
-There are 45 weapons and more coming, and apart from diffferent stats/projectiles, each one has a different quirk/characteristic. I have seen the comparison with Borderlands, saying in this game all the weapons are legendary. From a smg that slowly autoreloads on its own, to another one which can be thrown as a grenade, to a energy rifle that can deploye a energy sphere that boost damage, to the UT shock rifle with the secondary/primary fire combo, to weapons whose bullets split in mid air.
-You have a active skill and a secondary skill. The active skill goes from a AoE forward leap to dual weildinng to an imbolizing energy shot, and the cooldown is shorter than in Borderlands, so it feels more part of your regular gameplay. The secondary skill is usually a type of grenade so it’s reloaded as you find its ammo. As explained below, these skill can vary a fair bit depending on your build.
-There is a very good enemy variety, each of the three areas has near a dozen unique enemies. And there is enough differences between them, from archers whose shots are guided towards you, to spearmen who can do an aoe attack, to foot soldiers who can sidetep, to grenadiers launching projectiles in arcs over cover, to horseheads with a protective shield, to tough enemies with special weak points. It creates a dynamic, fun battlefield.
-Movement is somewhat slow, but the action feels smoth. Some characters use regenerative shields, others have an armor which you have to replenish through your attacks. Health doesn’t regenerate and you have to receive a health item randomly/buy it/gain a perk able to heal you.
-The difficulty curve is mooth but constant. The first two levels are very easy, in the third one you should be careful or you will be hurt in some ocassions, on the fourth level you can be killed in the harder rooms, and later you really need some good combo obtained by your built to progress and your reflex skills has to be decent.
-The weapons are divided in three categories, and each one has a different ammo type, so there is a bit of ammo management, although not a lot (mainly, trying to pick weapons of different categories).

Solid roguelite:
-This is a FPS game so all classes use the same weapons, but inside that concept, the games gets to make different character classes with different primary skill, secondary skill, character progression, slightly different stats and a few passives you can get in the metaprogression.
-You gain a perk when leveling up, each character have three categories for them (first character is elemental damage, smoke bombs and energy orbs, for example), and most perks have up to three upgrades. These perks allow you to customize your character in different ways, you can make your active skill more about damge or about CC, or you can make your smoke grenades to be more about DOT or about support.
-They really feel like you make a different build with them, as they are hefty bonuses. This game isn’t one that uses little numbers, nothing about +3% damage or +4% ROF, but a magnitude bigger, or more.
-Same with the scrolls, they are not shy on how they can shake up each run. From ‘gaining lifesteal when you are in fire’, to ’ able to dash 3 times in a row’, to ‘50% damage when being in air’, to ‘Max HP is fixed at 1, but Max Shield/Armor is doubled’ to 'Consume 2 coins for each hit and +60% weapon DMG. If you kill the enemy in five hits, you will be refunded with coins spent on that enemy. ’
-Weapons have different upgrade tiers and random inscriptions (which also have rarity, can be upgraded, be exclusive for the weapon, or be a special Gemini inscription)
-There are random stuff you find on the levels to help you: Shopkeepers to buy items, Craftmans to upgrade the weapons, and random chests which give you the option to get something (gain hp, max shield, upgrade inscription, reroll them etc) in exchange of something (get a cursed scroll, pay with money, life or another scroll).
-There are also special modifiers applied to some rooms, called challenges, but right now there are very few of them, they have to expand this area. Same with Vaults, that are optional areas found in the levels, that can be combat arenas or platforming puzzles, they need to add more.
-There is a complete elemental damage system, with different elements being better against flesh/armor/shield, and there is a combo system when you get to apply two elemental effects to the same enemy.

Progression:
Being a roguelite, there is also metaprogression. It isn’t as good as in Hades in interesting things to buy, but it’s better than Rogue Legacy or Immortal Redneck, so in a middle point I guess. The pace is good for now, after 10 hours of play, I get one or two upgrades after every run. I estimate in around 35 hours you can get most stuff. The last talents are notably more expensive but also you should win more currency once you are able to reach the later stages.
There is also an unlock system, as you play a do some goals (usually kill x of this enemy) you unlock a new weapon or scroll in the random pool, and also you are given it on the spot.

Oh, I found this series of hints and advice, outdated at this point but it’s better than nothing
https://pastebin.com/raw/6ct45BQx

The wiki https://twitter.com/GunfireReborn


Game has a 20% discount for a few days, because the Chinese New Year.
Right now it’s less than 8€.

edit: Oh yeah, they announced they have sold one million copies past November, and this is the current roadmap

Just today we had the spring 2021 update, although maybe we will have some smaller content updates while we wait for the next big update.

edit 2: One more thing, a problem with the game is the English translation, which clearly isn’t very good, some of the skill descriptions are… clunky.

Steam emailed me about this game earlier today and I picked it up. I will have a chance to play it over the weekend. I’ve been in the mood for a new shooter, and a roguelike could be right up my alley as long as my bullets hit what I’m aiming at.

Bought it last year when it had just two characters, was already pretty good.

The game design promotes hitting the enemy weak points (usually the head) a lot, and yeah, I’d say the bullets go where you point out. Except maybe the sawed-off shotgun :P

Cool. RPG/skillcheck elements can sometimes screw with accuracy, which is what makes games like Prototype hard to enjoy.

How does it compare to risk of rain 2?

Much less random, closer to a Borderlands in gameplay.

Yeah, it’s more Borderlands condensed or distilled into 70 minutes of play, with metaprogresion.

RoR2 is more… it’s a weird game to be honest, focused on doing synergistic builds with random items, and the late game is pure spam, hitting someone and seeing 50 special effects to apply to 20 nearby enemies; while at the same time you have the constant time pressure. Gunfire is more traditional.
Apart from third person vs firsts person here.

Great game, need to try it in co-op.

I’m also enjoying the low poly environments that you fight in - makes it easy to pick out your targets rather than dealing with ‘clutter’.

Not those freaking small gray rats though. They have cost me more than one run. I hate them, always sneaking up on me.

I just unlocked the 4th character. The… tiger? snow leaopard? Not sure.

In any case, he ends up being more a lightning wizard than a sniper, as he has 3 that synergize well with fighting from afar, and 15 that are more about his lightning skills. He is squishy, but in exchange he is fast and had an incredible potential for damage, so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if he is nerfed a bit.
He also has a pair of interesting abilities based on gaining stacks and buffs with them, but losing when you are hit.

It’s funny we made a comparison before with Risk of Rain 2, as it actually reminds me a bit to that, with skills that are able to proc other skills or call lightning around you automatically.

I don’t like to buy early access but grabbed this a while back due to favourable comparisons with Borderlands and the general positive buzz.

Only played it a bit because I’m mainly waiting for v1. It’s a promising game but I found the controller tough to get feeling ‘good’. Maybe because axis sensitivity seems weirdly tied to refresh rate.

I’m finding it pretty promising after a few runs but I think I’ll also wait until the full release to really dig my teeth into it.

This is something I hadn’t thought about it, but you are right, it reminds of those esport progamers who lowered the visual quality at minimum to have clear silhouttes of enemies.

Which ones are small gray rats? There are beetles in the first area and coyotes and miniboars on the second, but no rats…

I like the player page, you can see your past runs and what items you had.

In my last run I was doing it pretty well as a sniper, I had the ascension that gives 100% damage to sniper shots on the same target, and thunderstrike with the 300% dmg ascension. In fact I found a scroll with a clear synergy for it, as it protected me with -90% damage for enemy shots from more than 15mts away, in exchange of receiving +90% damage for enemy shots.
This said, this kind of glass cannon build crumbled the moment a shark enemy with a hook caught me. Suddenly I was in close range and received the extra damage. :(

The grey ones that show up in swarms of 5 or 6. I have bad eyes so maybe they aren’t rats.

Blue beetles then :P

Yea, those chompy little balls of polygons.

Thank you for the detailed write up. I had this wishlisted but am mentally moving it up the list. How is Coop?