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Enter the Gungeon Survival Guide

Enter the Gungeon Is a Hard Game

Enter the Gungeon is not an easy game to beat. You must fight many enemies and difficult bosses. This article will teach you tips to survive longer and beat the game more often.

Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon
Developer: Dodge Roll
Price: $ 4.49
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Know Your Enemies

Know What Your Enemies Do

One of the first steps to taking less damage is knowing what each enemy does. It is hard to avoid getting shot if you are not sure what is coming.

Every enemy in the game has a pattern of some kind, and it is important to pick which targets are the most important. Some enemies are much more annoying than others.

When bullet kin are red look at! They are cursed.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Decide Who to Fight First

There are many factors to consider when deciding what enemy to go after first. Some enemies shoot bullets at nothing, while others try to shoot directly at you.

Usually, the ones that chase you are much more dangerous. I tend to go after the most aggressive enemies first. Certain enemies make others stronger. You want to defeat them first, when possible. Of course, everything is situational.

Depending on the layout of the room and where everything is, you may do things differently.

Know the Differences Between the Characters

Each character in Enter the Gungeon is unique and feels different when you play them. It is important to learn these differences and to find the character you like playing the most.

There are multiple Enter the Characters. Marine, Pilot, Hunter, Convict, and two you unlock.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Be Defensive

Remember to be defensive while playing the game. You cannot win the game if you lose. You may be thinking that it is obvious and that you already know that. But there is more to it than saying it and knowing it.

You need to do things to help in your survival, as there are hordes of enemies to battle. It is important to do what you can to avoid damage.

Take your time when fighting enemies, as there is no time limit when clearing rooms. I try to take on enemies one at a time. Always have an area to fall back on or use as cover. Also, remember to use blanks.

Use blanks when enemies surround or corner you. Don’t forget to flip tables and use them as cover. You can also roll over flipped tables if they get in the way.

Taking cover behind a flipped table.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Know Your Health Pickups

There are two types of heart containers in the game. There are half and full-heart containers. These heart containers are bullet shells, and a full heart is two shells. Using heart containers is the main way you will heal yourself in Enter the Gungeon.

A heart container. It looks like a red bullet shell.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

You will find passive items that give your extra heart containers. You can also buy some of these items. If you beat a standard floor boss without getting hit, you will earn a Master Round. These rounds give you one heart container.

When you have full health, pick up any extra heart containers you find. There is a machine that stores these extra heart containers. Don’t forget to get these extra hearts if you need them.

At certain spots on the map there are places to hold extra heart containers you find.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

You can only store heart containers for the current level you are at. You can see how many heart containers you have currently collected on the map screen. There will be a tiny icon near the bottom showing you.

About Armor

In addition to heart containers, you can also find armor. Armor looks like tiny shields. The game adds armor to the end of your current heart containers when you pick them up. When you take damage, you lose one armor and also trigger a blank effect.

Having a lot of armor is just as useful as health, and you will want to get as many as you can.

Be Careful of How Much Curse You Gain

Curse is an invisible stat you gain from certain items and game events. Curse changes the game in many ways. Curse becomes more noticeable when you have a lot of it.

I wrote a very detailed guide about curse in Enter the Gungeon. You can read it here.

When you pick up the huntsman you get curse.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Information About Stores

I always buy certain items when I see them in stores. For example, the game has various heart containers that increase your life points by one. Having extra life points is huge, and I focus on buying these.

Before bosses, I sometimes spend my currency on blanks, health, and armor. It depends on the floor and how much currency I currently have. For the later floors, I do this most of the time. Especially the floor four bosses.

The main Enter the Gungeon store. There are multiple things on sale.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

There are other stores in the game other than the standard store. You will need to find and save these NPCs first before you can buy things from them.

An extra store in Enter the Gungeon. This guy sells more realistic guns and items.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

You Can Sell Items (Sometimes)

Sometimes, on floors and in stores, there will be an NPC (non playable character) you can sell items to. This NPC is the Sell Creep.

You can sell items by dropping them on the grate near it. This is a great way to get rid of guns you don’t want. You can also sell junk for a tiny bit of currency.

You sell items to a certain NPC that hides in certain grates found on the map.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

You Can Steal Items

If you feel like being naughty, you can steal items in the game. There are multiple ways to do this. This often involves using items that make you invisible or grabbing things very fast.

Stealing items gives you curse. Also, if you get caught stealing an item, that NPC will never sell you items again! Well, until you start another run, anyway.

I will often avoid stealing from the main store until the fourth floor. This is because after this floor, there are no more standard stores anyway. So if he gets mad and leaves, who cares?

Also, if you are not going to buy items from a store anyway or can’t afford them, stealing something is not too bad. Keep track of the curse, though!

Information About Items

Don’t Avoid Cheaper or Common Items!

So there are two ways of thinking about items. One is to go for the best and rarest items only and avoid any common or cheap items. The other is to get all the items no matter what, even if you mean spending all of your shells early on.

My personal strategy is to just get as many items as possible early on. I have found that having extra ammunition, a weak gun, or armor on the first two floors helps a lot. I try to avoid fighting the first boss with the starter gun if possible. But sometimes it happens.

You can save up all of your money until later floor, as items are expensive. But I hope you are good enough to get that far without any extra guns, items, health, or whatever else you need. I know I am not good enough to do that.

Often, by the third floor, I will have found at least one gun I have liked anyway. Also, stores might not even have anything good either.

So my strategy is to spend the money and items I get early on. I would rather have something to use now than wait and save for something in the future. Unless I am going for a specific unlock, of course, things change somewhat.

Passive Items Are the Best

Passive items are some of the best items you can get in the game. With enough passive item boosts, your character will be strong even with weak guns. I buy items that boost my character passively whenever I can.

The coin crown Enter the Gungeon item.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Use Active Items Often

Use active items often. 

These items are no good if you never use them! I used to think it would be best to save these items for “the right moment”. I learned after hours of playing the game that the best time to use these items is right away. Some items have a very low recharge time. So you might as well just use them a lot.

Of course, any items that can only be used once are an exception. I suppose you should be more careful with items that charge very slowly, as some do.

The supply drop active item dropping a green ammo crate.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

If you start as the pilot or find certain passive items, you can hold two active items. If you have two active items, don’t forget to switch between them.

Item Synergies

Certain guns and items are much better when you have both of them. These bonuses are called synergies. Some synergies affect both items when held, and some only affect one.

The King Bomber synergy example.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

There are many synergies, and they do many different things.

Some synergies make sense if you understand what the items or guns in the game refer to. If you have ever played a Legend of Zelda game, the bomb and bow synergy should make sense, for example.

I recommend checking the wiki when you are unsure what a certain synergy does. There are many in the game.

Often, synergies can make guns quite strong. Some turn the weakest guns in the game into very powerful items. The best advice I can give is to find and hold onto all items. Only sell guns if you absolutely hate using them, just don’t plan on using them ever, or desperately want some money.

Information About Secret Rooms

Most floors have at least one secret room. Secret rooms often contain items for you to find, or sometimes chests.

If you use a blank or have an item that triggers a blank effect in a room, then the entrance will open up. Certain explosive guns can also open the entrance. How do you find the entrances? Shooting at walls with guns with limited ammo will make a crack in a wall if it leads to a secret room.

I don’t worry too much about finding these rooms. Not all floors have them, and they can be in some very hard to find spots. I often only find secret rooms by chance.

Information About Chests

There are multiple types of chests in the game. Chests are ranked by color. Brown is the most common, and rainbow is the best.

I often win runs without having seen a single rainbow chest. They are rare enough for finding one to be a huge deal. I often find at least one black or red chest each run.

There are brown, blue, green, red, black, and rainbow chests in the Enter the Gungeon.

There is a very small chance that a brown chest might actually be a rainbow chest. The only way to know is to open it. I wouldn’t worry too much about this, though. I have only seen this a few times the entire time I have been playing the game.

Spraying water or liquid-type stuff on brown chests supposedly reveals them too. I am not sure why this information was removed from the wiki, but it used to be there. This happens so rarely that I can’t confirm it myself.

There is also one more type of chest in the game. Synergy chests. Once a certain NPC character is freed, these chests will show up in the game.

As the name implies, these chests often give you an item or gun that completes a synergy. It will check your current items and guns to try to complete something. But not always, though.

I don’t worry too much about opening these chests. They can be nice, but since they don’t even always give you a Synergy for something you have, they are very random.

There are a few other chests in the game. But since they are very rare or involve fighting secret bosses, I won’t mention them. You can always check the wiki to learn everything, if desired.

Oh, yeah. There is a very small chance you might find a glitched chest. You will know it when you see it. Don’t touch this chest unless you want to fight two bosses at the same time. It is a very hard encounter.

When to Open and Destroy Chests

I open chests every chance I can. On the first two floors, I often even open up brown chests. I just want anything and every item or gun I can get. But later on in the game, I will start to be more selective. I will at least start to avoid brown chests unless something else is available.

A room with a blue chest.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Before destroying a chest, wait and see if you find a key on the floor. Beating bosses is a way to find keys. You can buy keys from the store as well. If you have an item that unlocks chests for free, consider waiting for it to charge and using it after fighting the boss or clearing more rooms.

As long as you remember, there is nothing to lose by leaving chests unopened to wait and see if you find a key.

If a chest has a fuse, it will explode when the fuse runs out. You can put the fuse out if you have some method of getting liquid on it. If you don’t open it before it explodes, you get nothing. So while this might seem counterintuitive, destroy the chest yourself first if you don’t have a key or way to open it. You might get something other than junk.

If you do decide to destroy a chest because you can’t find any keys or just don’t care, keep in mind most of the time you will get junk. To be clear, the junk item in the game. From what I read on the wiki, the game checks to see if you have any keys when destroying chests. So you will get even worse items if you destroy them then.

Junk can be sold. So I suppose it is not completely useless. There is also a certain item that gets stronger if you have more junk. There is a chance you might get health or even a gun. So I guess if you just don’t have any keys, there is nothing to lose.

Also, chests can explode when destroyed. So don’t stand too close when you shoot them.

There Are Items That Open up Chests Without Using Keys

There are multiple ways in the game to open chests without using a key. Some methods are more reliable than others.

For example, the Pilot’s lockpick is pretty meh. I suppose it is better than nothing. But the Drill item is amazing. With this item, after clearing a small room fight, most chests will no longer need any keys.

There is also an item called the Shelleton Key. It lets you open up any lock for free.

Be Careful of Mimics

Mimics are a common enemy in fantasy games. They are often creatures that pretend to be treasure chests and attack the players. Enter the Gungeon has multiple types of mimics, and they are all very annoying. I am going to explain how to deal with them all.

Before approaching a chest, look at it for a few seconds. If the chest moves, it is a mimic. The main way to detect a mimic is to notice the mouth move as it breathes. 

I shoot the chests, to be sure. One shot with a weak gun like the starter gun doesn’t risk accidentally destroying a chest. If the chest is a mimic, be ready for it to start shooting!

Mimics will try shoot you when they appear.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Better quality chests are stronger mimics, and defeating a Mimic gets you an item just like opening a chest. So, in a way, mimics can be good. Since you don’t need a key, to defeat a mimic to get the items.

Boss loot pedestals can also be mimics! These mimics are partially sneaky, as I often forget to check for them. The main way to tell is to shoot the pedestal. Mimic pedestals have different patterns and are a different size than normal.

They are very rare to see, but there are wall mimics. During fights, a piece of the wall might break off and start fighting you! These mimics are hard to detect because of how random they are.

There is also a mimic gun. Sometimes, when picking up guns, they will turn into this gun. The mimic gun is an annoyance because you can’t drop it until you do enough damage. At that point, you get the original gun you picked up back.

The Door Lord is the most annoying Mimic of them all. The Door Lord is a very rare boss that can replace any floor two, three, or four bosses. There is about a 1.3% chance of this boss appearing. So don’t feel too bad if you lose the first time you see it. I did because the fight was hard.

About the Mimic Tooth Necklace and Ring of Mimic Friendship

If you have the Mimic Tooth Necklace, every chest and item pedestal will be a Mimic. This can be a good or bad thing. It is good because you never need to use a key to get chest items again. It is bad because now you need to fight every chest and boss reward pedestal.

If you have the Ring of Mimic Friendship, there will be no mimics in a run at all.

So you might wonder what happens if you have both the Mimic Tooth Necklace and Ring of Mimic Friendship? In this case, there are no mimics, and every chest is unlocked. This is a very good combination.

Information About Guns and Ammo

The Types of Guns and the Guns I Like

According to the very helpful wiki, there are five types of guns. Automatic, semiautomatic, charged, beam, and burst. 

I like guns that have high ammo and don’t need to be reloaded often. Some guns don’t need reloading at all. Beam weapons are my favorites. I will use even the weak water gun over most other guns just to push enemies around, and to me, that is just fun!

A good strategy is to keep using a gun if you like it. Don’t worry about reloading and using every gun you find. Often, I find it is better to use a favorite gun over the rest if you do well with it. I will sometimes use weaker guns because they inflict strong stats effects or are easy to aim. It very much depends.

It is important to remember to be familiar with all guns, even if you don’t like them. That way, if you do feel stuck or pressured to use them, you won’t feel confused when shooting them. Of course, if you play the game long enough and unlock everything, eventually you will see everything.

How Guns Reload Themselves

There is also a semi-secret method for reloading this is not explained anywhere in the game. If a gun is out of ammo, when you switch to another gun, that gun will reload in the background after a set amount of time. I think this time is based on how long it takes your character to reload it.

So if you have a gun with a very long reload time, like the RPG missiles. Shoot, then switch it out. Eventually, it will just be reloaded when you switch back to it. One tactic is that if you only have two guns, deplete all the ammo, then switch to your starter gun and switch back after the first gun is reloaded. This works very well for some guns.

Don’t Feel You Need to Conserve Ammo or Guns

When I first started playing the game, ammo was somewhat rare. That meant it was a somewhat good strategy to save good guns to fight bosses. Now, with the current state of the game after all the content has been released, I feel this is no longer necessary. Don’t feel like you need to save guns for later.

Some people might debate saving stronger guns for boss fights. I suppose that is still a good idea. But I would rather just clear the floor easier, even if it means struggling against the boss. On the final floors, you might struggle to get the boss trying to save ammo.

Some very high-damage single-target guns are slow, but they work better when fighting bosses. Things that explode, like missiles, and grenades, also tend to be good boss fighters, as the explosions can remove some bullets.

All I can say is that it very much depends. I know that is a very wishy-washy answer. But this game has over 200 guns. I recommend finding your favorites and seeing for yourself what works best in certain situations.

How Ammo in the Game Works

There are two types of ammo pickups in Enter the Gungeon. Red and Green. Red containers refill all your gun’s ammo a little. Green containers completely refill the current gun you are holding.

Items dropped from a boss are shown. A green ammo box, armor, and a gun on a pedestal.
Screenshot of Enter the Gungeon from Steam.

Red ammo containers make using multiple guns more viable, I suppose. But since it refills only a little of every gun you have, it won’t last too long.

Remember to use any ammo you find right away. The Resource Rat always steals ammo if you leave it alone for too long. This means you can’t save ammo to use later in the level. Even if it means using it on a gun that is already 90% full, it is not a waste because, like mentioned before, you can’t save ammo.

You can save ammo until the end of clearing a room. But if you go off-screen or hold still for more than a few seconds, the rat will teleport in to steal your ammo. I should mention that the rat steals items and guns too. So grab all the guns, even if you might not use them.

A message warning you that a certain rat NPC steals your items.

About the Pots in the Game

So, one last bit of advice about the game. You might wonder if the pots and boxes lying around the game ever have anything inside them. They don’t.

But they do very rarely have an enemy. A very fast-moving fairy shoots at you! This happens so rarely that it might shock you the first time you see it.