Hats off to the Gunstringer (Review)
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Dust off the six shooters, folks, and pull on your cowboy boots, The Gunstringer is out on Kinect and he’s got a score to settle! Buried and left for dead by his old posse, this anti-hero is out to take them out and everyone who steps in his way. This is, without a doubt, the most innovative Kinect game to date! It spouts a unique set of controls, Kinect tracking for sitting as well as standing, and a story that will have you, at minimum, snickering the whole way through.
Following along with Twisted Pixel’s usual quirky humour, The Gunstringer is presented as an actual stage production, with a “live audience” to show their disdain or amusement throughout the piece. Some of you may remember a call sent out last year for people at E3 to participate with Twisted Pixel, well this was it. Video footage from that show has been spliced into the game, as well as audio that will either cheer you on when you’re doing well, or boo you when you get hit. The narrator is another nice touch; not only telling the story as it unfolds, but commenting on your performance as well. Getting beat up too often? He’ll have a jibe for you!
As the main character is a marionette, players will learn some, albeit rudimentary, puppeteer skills. The left hand controls side to side movement and a sharp upward tug will get him to jump. The right hand is used to aim your gun ( target locking up to six enemies) and whipping your hand back to fire, like a real gun’s recoil. One of the interesting features is that, unlike other Kinect games, you’re not required to stand. You’re quite welcome to (and even encouraged to through loading tips) sit on your couch and direct your vengeful puppet from a more relaxed position.
Gameplay is broken up in to several different activities. The standard is an over the shoulder camera, where you can side shift with the marionette as well as jump and target lock/fire with your gun. In an effort to prevent repetitive gameplay, these are interspersed with side-scrolling action sequences, shootouts where you’ll duck and cover behind barrels, dual wielding pistol, unlimited ammo, Rambo style shooting sprees, cliff jumping free falling, or horseback riding on the Gunstringer’s trusty steed.
Although co-op play doesn’t change very much, it is a nice touch having a second player able to join anytime to wield a second pistol. I can see that helping a lot in Hardcore mode.
I do have to take my hat off to Twisted Pixel; there is one shootout that is quite memorable. What starts as a standard gunfight turns into ducks flying out of bushes. This will leave newer generation players confused, but everyone else will get a good laugh remembering back to the old Duck Hunt days. My only regret is that the dog didn’t come out laughing at me for missing – then I could have shot it.
Everything about The Gunstringer’s graphics feels like they were put together in someone’s basement. Clouds are made from cardboard and painted, your steed is constructed from a used spool of thread and a pencil, and the cattle is all made from beer cans which shoot off like rockets when you put a hole in them. That last, I never get tired of.
As if you couldn’t pack any more fun into a title like this, Twisted Pixel has brought it upon themselves to give us additional theatrical goodness in the forms of the Extras menu! If you navigate through to the bonus content, you’ll be able to purchase different items with the currency you earn in game. These goodies include different modifiers to play with, behind the scenes movies and photographs, the soundtrack, and more. One of the most creative features I’ve seen is the commentary reels; different sets for each stage. Once purchased, you can elect to have a running commentary in the background as you gallivant across the desert. If you find the voices to be familiar, it may be because a good number of the commentary reels are from none other than the gang at Roosterteeth Productions, makers of the insanely popular Red Vs. Blue!
Overall, The Gunstringer is a nice addition to anyone’s Kinect library. Although your arms will probably get tired after a while, I won’t hold this against the game as most Kinect games aren’t meant to be played for an hour straight anyways.
Wanderson75 gives this game 4.5/5.0
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