Cannoli is a rather sweet Sicilian dessert filled with cream and covered with sugar. The only real thing it threatens is your cholesterol level, but other than that, cannoli isn’t something you usually associate with danger. Vinnie Cannoli, on the other hand, isn’t sweet and sugar coated, but more like an incredibly spicy chilli that takes glee in his line of work. You see, Vinnie Cannoli is an enforcer for the Mafia at the height of prohibition in 1920’s USA. It is a time of great strife between competing gangs as they try to control the alcohol distribution, and a rising epidemic of zombies.
Yes, Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a Mafia story that involves a lot of zombies, and it’s really quite an amusing experience. The plot has a couple of decent twists and in it, and the voice acting holds true to the stereotypes Hollywood has solidified in everyone’s mind of what 1920’s gangsters sounded like. If you turn on the subtitles, they sometimes act as a translation for the more unusual phrases uttered by Vinnie, though the game does cycle through the same list of quotes as you go blast away zombies and gangsters alike.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a 2D side-scrolling action title where you simply need to get from one end of the level to the other, using any and all weaponry that comes to hand. You’ll start off with a pistol with unlimited ammo, but soon shotguns, machine guns, and flamethrowers find themselves in Vinnie’s grip as the undead close in on him. The game doesn’t hold back on letting you unleash firepower on these hordes, making it an incredibly fun and brutal journey.
While ammo drops are quite generous, there will be times where you’ll run out, forcing you to cycle through all the weapons in your arsenal. Different enemy types take different amounts of damage to put down, so while your pistol may do against one creature, you’ll find you’ll need to get in close with a shotgun to finish something else off. There’s never really a lull in the action as bullets fly, and grenades explode and you’re encouraged to just fire away at everything you see, even if that may lead you to a quicker death than you had planned.
There’s quite the variation in the enemies, from slow moving shufflers to boomers that explode after taking some hits, causing damage to both Vinnie & other zombies. In between these two extremes you have fast zombies and some that are armed with weapons of their own. The variety of enemy types helps to keep things a fresh as you’re never quite sure if you should rush forward or hold a position until the group has been thinned out. Going in all guns blazing usually ends in bad news and some tactical play is required. You have to judge which enemies pose the most danger and kill them as quickly as possible.
The environment design is also pleasing to the eye as it all looks a bit like a cartoon, down to the fires that burn and the cars that sit in Vinnie’s way. Enemies change facial expressions when hit and there is some destructible terrain where windows shatter and wooden towers blow apart. When you get a chain of explosions going it all looks chaotic in a good way, though I did notice some slowdown in the frame rate in the most intense scenes. This also occurred rarely when a large number of different types of enemies were on screen.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a short game that can be completed in around 3 & half hours, though I think that is the right length for what the game is. Any longer and the gameplay would have worn thin and outstayed its welcome. There is the option for some re-playability with up to four player local co-op, but once you’ve finished the game once, there isn’t much to go back for unless you’re looking to complete the achievement challenges.
Considering Guns, Gore & Cannoli costs £6.99, it packs quite a punch for the price. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the time the game lasts, and it looks great to boot. The exaggerated voice acting fits perfectly with the tone of the title and the story is surprisingly entertaining too. There’s never a dull moment in Guns, Gore & Cannoli, and it ends just at the right time too. Vinnie may not be the most likeable protagonist in a game but he knows how to get the job done.
Version tested: PC