A noir platformer? Sign me up! Rot Gut puts players into the role of an agent in the traditional trench coat and hat set up to track down the city’s underground menace. Equipped with a cigar, pistol, shotgun, and later the tommy gun, you become an agent on a mission. The black and white aesthetic of the world definitely adds to the noir theme going on. No words are being exchanged between the characters, and adding the 1920s backdrop just equates to an exciting and dangerous world that is Rot Gut.
The controls are pretty straightforward, you can double jump and switch between your arsenal of weapons. The pistol fires slowly, but you have unlimited ammo. The shotgun is an absolute beast when it comes to taking down enemies. In fact, one of the highlights of using the shotgun was the audible kickback you receive after shooting off the gun. Bullets can be seen flying in the cone shape and if you’ve aimed properly, your enemies will devolve into literal clumps of meat. Red flesh, which stands out since most of the game’s colour palette is black and white with greys everywhere. It certainly stands out.
The enemies are varied, coming in different sizes and using different weapons. Once a new enemy is introduced, you eventually learn to counter each one in a smart way. Okay, this guy has a shotgun, so I should stay away from him and shoot at a distance. Oh this guy chargers the player, so I should get my shotgun out and be ready to jump over him. The difficulty of the game seems to gradually become harder and harder, as you’d expect a platformer to be. The enemies are organically placed, allowing for different combinations on how the player can choose to approach them. There are no real puzzle elements, minus the two bosses, which are fairly obvious. The game boils down to navigating through a labyrinth of hallways and paths to the eventual exit.
The music of each level adds a nice bit of flair to the game as you go around jumping over enemy bullets, and putting them down. The real hero are the sounds the guns and bullets make. It really does add some perspective to how powerful the shotgun and tommy gun can be compared to the standard pistol. Other than that, the enemies don’t seem to make much noise, neither does the player character. Which you could argue adds to the noir experience, but it is something to note.
The only real problem I see is how incredibly short the game itself is. This game can be beaten in half an hour, which to certain games, isn’t a problem but it became a bit of a let-down for me. The reason is because the formula for this game is solid. The guns are awesome, the setting and theme are cool, and the megaman-like grabbing new weapons seem good. I just wished it was expanded upon. Two bosses, which both were interesting to fight at first, quickly became tiring and too easy after a second play through. The game allows you to play the game again with all of your money saved, but that’s pretty much it. Again, it’s a solid game, it just would have been nice to see the game expanded upon.
The money you collect from enemies and chests allow you to purchase ammo and health kits at several different vending machines in each level. There’s four different types. The first two are ammo for your shotgun and tommy gun. The third is for a health kit. The last one is a cheaper priced vending machine for a chance at a random item. These items can include, ammo, health or one coin. That meant if you were low on coins, you can risk spending what you had on the mystery vending machine. Often for me this would lead to getting more out than expected, essentially giving me more ammo and health. Other times I got nothing. It was a nice add-on the economy of the game.
Overall I can recommend Rot Gut if you are a fan of the megaman type platformers, and the noir style is differently interesting. The guns are solid, enemies are varied, and the backdrop though sometimes bland, can really add to the experience as a whole. My main gripe would be how short the game is, and adding in a couple more unique enemies or “mini bosses” would have pushed the game so much further. Give it a shot if you’ve got an itch for a slice of the noir theme.