Reviewed on: Xbox One

Back in the good ol' days, we could rely on a side-scrolling shoot-em-up like Contra or Metal Slug to test our mettle, facing unprecedented evil forces while, at the same time, trying to stay in one piece with a little help from mega firepower. Those days are kinda gone now, but it's great to see teams like Crazy Monkey Studios still care, as it does with Guns, Gore and Cannoli.

This oddly-named title takes place in the golden era of gangsters, where “a kind word and a tommy gun got you a lot further than just a kind word” (The Untouchables, baby). But thanks to the developers at Claeys Brothers Arts, you're not just dealing with the usual tough guys. You also have a variety of zombies going up against you, and you'll need every bit of guns you can muster – magnum pistol, flame thrower, what have you – to mow them down.

The principles of the game are basic – it's a run and gun shooter in its rawest form, without online interaction – but if you're a fan of the genre, you won't hesitate to jump in.

Lock and Load

Claeys has put together a wonderful gameplay system that provides Guns with plenty of momentum, even if it seems like the forces against you are vehemently building up. There are times you'll want to unleash your best weapons just to stay in one piece, especially as you deal with aggressive football player zombies or "exploders" that can make your life a living nightmare, as they've done in previous zombie-blasting games.

The difficulty can definitely get up there, but the game is more than fair about putting you back in the thick of the action, and better yet, it supports co-op, so others can jump in and join the firefight. Having four players participate in a zombie-killing masterpiece can be quite fun, although, sadly, it's all limited to off-line only. Can't invite any online buddies for the ride, I'm afraid.

That's all right, because it provides a good reason to set up a good old-fashioned couch session to blast enemies to bits. If you prefer, there's also a fun versus mode in which you can turn the guns on other players and see how they fare. It becomes a little one-note over time – Smash Bros., it isn't – but it's still fun to try for a few sessions.

A Presentation That's Fun? Don't Fahgeddabout It

The presentation is definitely in the style of classic side-scrolling shooters, but with artistic touches that keep it in the modern day – a nice trick executed by the developers. The animations are pretty cool, especially when you blow a zombie or rival gangster to bits and watch them crumple over. The backgrounds offer some good diversity in terms of ‘40s settings as well, whether you're on the docks or blasting your way through a shut-down factory. And it all maintains a pretty good speed, even with four players jumping into the fray.

The sound isn't bad either. The music definitely sounds inspired by the era, even though it tends to repeat on occasion. In addition, the voicework is solid, with great character work done by the cast. Lastly, you'll get your fair share of authentic sound effects and splats, just like a good zombie game should deliver.