The Gunstringer – Hands On

With six shooters blazin’ and marionette strings waxed, The Gunstringer comes out firing this September for the Xbox 360.  As Twisted Pixel’s first non-XBLA release, it will be really interesting to see how the game performs as a full length title.   Originally intended as a download title, it outgrew the size limitations and was moved to an actual disk.  This past weekend, fans were given the chance to shoot the sheep and wrangle with some of the levels at the 2011 Toronto FanExpo, behind the LG booth.

Unlike most Kinect games on the market, The Gunstringer isn’t aiming to have players hopping around their living rooms. In fact, it’s been mentioned on several occasions that the game will be playable from a sitting position (sadly, FanExpo was sans couches) and simply focuses on hand movements.  Controlling the marionette’s movements with the left hand, the player can dodge incoming boulders during chase scenes or lean out from cover during shootouts.  With the right hand, players will target up to six enemies and make a firing motion to blast them all.  Shootouts were set up well; while the Gunstringer would position himself behind a boulder or barrel, it would give you time to target enemies before leaving cover in order to fire – assuming they hadn’t thrown dynamite at you, of course.

I managed to play through a single level at FanExpo before putting it down at no fault of the game – the 3D TV hurt my eyes.  To my delight, the controls responded well in the environment, considering the constant throng of people behind me waiting to see Stargate SG-1’s Michael Shanks. The gun tracking worked well, following my motions to target enemies so they could be blown away with the firing motion of the hand.  I did find that it required a bit of exaggerated motion for the marionette controls and firing of the gun, but I think that’s something that will just require a bit more practice.

All in all, I’m quite looking forward to seeing the full game.  I can only hope that as a company used to putting out XBLA length games, Twisted Pixel will show us an enjoyable story worthy of the $40 price tag.

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August 31, 2011 - 8:30 am