Despite what the game’s title may suggest, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is no bottom-of-the-barrel hack job. But, I suppose you’d already know that if you’d played the mostly enjoyable original, with its trend-chasing inclusion of zombies and perfectly functional gunplay. Crazy Monkey Studios’ follow up effort no doubt takes the softly, softly approach to iterating on its established formula, but it nevertheless results in a visually and mechanically superior title.

Much love and time have clearly gone into this, and the result is flat-out visually arresting, often to the point where I found myself distracted from many of the gore-fest gunfights in my search for neat environmental details, like the world’s most dangerous take on Where’s Wally. I sorely wished at every turn that I could interact with and explore these areas to a much greater extent than what is offered. It feels wasteful not to linger, but at the same time, hanging around to soak up the sights doesn’t make much sense as far as the core run-and-gun gameplay is concerned.

Beyond the visuals, though, any narrative potential remains largely untapped, and the game’s sense of humour eventually runs a little thin, even with its fleeting runtime. I’m not asking for biting satire (lord knows we get enough failed attempts at that in games already), but by expanding the type of humour on offer beyond mafioso punnage and bad (read: very good) Italian American accents, Crazy Monkey Studios could better fulfil its comedic potential.

There’s a healthy selection of weaponry on offer, from chain guns to chainsaws; they’re mostly crunchy and provide a nice visual feedback in the form of copious amounts of gore. Unfortunately, scarcity of ammo means that you’ll need to dart around the weapon wheel far too often. I can understand the mindset behind this decision, forced experimentation and all that, but it often resulted in a lot of my time being spent waiting for the chance to utilise my preferred loadout. This issue is compounded by how fiddly it is to select specific weapons using the Switch’s Joy-Cons.

It started to feel like many of my failures couldn’t entirely be attributed to poor play. For me, the aforementioned Joy-Con controls were less than ideal, often feeling awkward, cramped and uncomfortable – issues that haven’t really reared their ugly heads when playing other, similar titles.

Much love and time have clearly gone into this, and the result is flat out visually arresting

Sadly, I have no doubt that I would have enjoyed my time with Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 a whole lot more if I’d been playing with a mouse and keyboard, or even the Nintendo Pro Controller – a luxury that many Switch players (including myself) simply don’t yet have. It’s an even greater shame because, with its short levels and repetitive nature, Crazy Monkey Studios’ effort would otherwise seem to be a perfect fit for the handheld system.

With a game like this, the question on most minds would be whether or not it’s any fun. And it is, for a time. In truth, I found the introductory levels to be the standout sections of the game. Perhaps this was due to the dreaded feeling of repetition that set in, or maybe it had something to do with these early levels being the most visually memorable and distinct. I can absolutely see myself dipping back into this at some point in the near future, which, considering the sheer amount of quality new releases, is something of a compliment.

All told, it’s a to-the-point side-scroller with visual flair to spare and both feet planted firmly on the loopy side. If that sounds like a good time to you, then I’d chalk this up as a light recommendation – just be sure to think twice about your platform of choice.

 

Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. We played on Switch. Find out more at crazymonkeystudios.com or follow @CrazyMonkeyStu.