Chillingo attempt to combine MiniGore thrills with a Red Dead Redemption like story, with mixed results.
The Kid has to fight the evil Crimson Jackals in true spaghetti Western style. Dual guns, and dual sticks across the hazy desert towns. This is good versus evil, and evil is going down.
It’s a dual stick shooter in the Wild West, but with a more ambitious story than the usual wave-based shooter. This gives the game a greater sense of progression. Having a map that allows you to travel back to previously visited locations gives the collector in you a chance to pick up every star to be found. The usage of the familiar four horsemen of the apocalypse gives the story a bit more punch, and a clear evil to ward off.
Upgrading the Kid is fun, albeit somewhat slow. He moves like an elderly gent early on, but after a couple of speed upgrades he starts to waddle around like the Duracell bunny. More guns would be appreciated, but those available are still enough to kill most enemies.
The music is also a strong aspect of the game, with old-school banjo western antics. The sound effects are also ok, and I highly enjoy the death roar of the Mexican kamikaze bomber.
A survival mode, and a bounty hunter mode add game life. Both modes give action right away, and you don’t have to worry about objectives.
The perspective of teh camera for playing this game is completely wrong, and in fact almost ruins the game entirley. The view is way too zoomed in, and often the Kid gets killed by enemies far outside the visible area. If the game had guns that fired continuously without reloading it would have been fine.(In games like MiniGore it works better just because of the constant firepower). At first I thought it was just because of the small screen that the view was so limited. But to my huge disappointment I encountered the same problems on the larger screen as well.
The dual stick controls are ok for movement, but far less precise when it comes to aiming. Paired with the need to reload, and with enemies often outside the limits of screen, the action feels very hit and miss.
The graphics are ugly. From the cinematics, to the in-game action the blocky characters are poorly executed. There is no softness to the game, and the entire presentation feels slapdash. The more expensive, albeit still universal, HD version looks better. It erases some of the jagginess, and adds softness to edges. It also adds details to the environment, and characters.
A good game lurks within Cowboy Guns, somewhere, but it is spoiled by the camera point of view and lack-lustre presentation. It is a shame, since I really wanted to walk in the shoes of the Kid, and kill the four horsemen of the apocalypse with style. Unfair deaths, and the fact that I have to guess where the enemy is, hurt the gameplay. When the best strategy is to run away, and hope that an enemy gets stuck on a fence, allowing you to fire away at him at will, something is wrong. Hopefully the game gets some serious updates. At $0.99 it is a barely ok dual stick shooter, and you better be prepared for some frustration. The HD version looks more polished overall, but it is hardly worth the extra cash as the view is just as cramped.
Cowboy Guns $0.99
Cowboy Guns HD $2.99 iPad/iPhone Universal
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.