Published on September 21st, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
The Gunstringer Review
Platform: Xbox 360 Kinect
Price: SRP USD 39.99
Release Date: Out Now
The Gunstringer is back from the dead and loaded with enough salsa picante to fire up a whole crew of pistol packin’ heathens. Get ready for the sorest right arm that you’ve had since you hit puberty. This tale of the Old….errr..Undead West.
The Gunstringer tells the story of, well, the Gunstringer. The backdrop of the game’s storyline takes us on stage with a performance that could literally wake the dead. Who might the star of this epic tale of revenge be? In this case, it is ‘you’ the player who is taking on the role of the marionette master and leading this puppet, known as the Gunstringer, on a trail of rampage and retribution.
from left to right: The Gunstringer, Lady of the Dead, Beard Master, Wavy Tube Man, Oil Baron, and Brothel Madam
Your role is further professed by the inclusion of your ‘gamertag’ to the script featured on screen. As you grab hold of the marionette strings, and the two most dangerous blistering pistols in all of the Wild West, the tale of revenge becomes even more clear when an old photograph of all those who betrayed him are remembered. Get ready to take on a cast of characters that holds true to the quality of Twisted Pixels’ creativity. The same can be said about many of the designs and mechanics that can be seen from level to level.
One of the best parts about the game is its variation of gameplay. The level designs are filled with bright vivid colors and doused with obstacles and textures to show of the scale of a marionette stage. There were a few instances where up close views of the Gunstringer’s pistols did reveal some unsightly textures, but in no way did it alleviate the focus of the games storyline. Even without all of these other qualities, the idea of a shoot’em up spaghetti western that pits you in the position of head gun slinger sounds like a great adventure in-itself. This is especially true when taking out that rootin’ tootin’ Wavy Tube Man.
There are often times where the games view changes from a 3D head on view, to a 2D side scroller. These moments are taken one step further when taking on other outrageous endeavors-such as flying on a Chinese bottle rocket and then battling it out in an explosive sky scene. This is particularly important for a Kinect title, being that mobility usually means ‘on-rails’ and developers must get creative in the route that they take to make your character simply move.
The controls of the game were very responsive. If you were thinking that you could get away with the old six shooter rapid fire tactic, you thought right.
The first notable movement, which is similar to the same movement you would do with a yo-yo when bringing it up, brings the Gunstringer to life. The left hand also allows you to strafe your character from left to right. Making the same slightly upwards motion allows him to jump gaps and obstacles during these runs.
One of the best ideas introduced into the game was the gun firing. Everyone knows how to make the shape of a gun by extending your index and thumb. Making the movement as if you were firing off your hand pistol is exactly the way in which you shoot off rounds from your arsenal of weaponry. This is yet another area where the game brings variation and creativity to the forefront. Whether it’s blasting a few paper-mache townspeople, or wrestlin’ a half-human-half-gator named Gator Jack, it is a guarantee that you will be sore from pulling the trigger, but liking it the whole time.
These moves were simple enough to pull off. Although these motions were almost seamless, there were times where the Kinect’s limitations were noticed.
At certain points of the game, the reticles of two pistols were displayed on screen. This also called for the use of both hands to commandeer them. The Kinect sensor did suffer from both hands using each reticle and sometimes became confused and would even make it frustrating to hit your target. This was also the case during busy levels with multiple enemies on screen. While aiming with one hand, you were also weaving in-and-out of traffic while making the Gunstringer dodge other jumping obstacles. While it was never over the top displeasing, it did keep you from those perfect runs and could cost you an achievement or two.
The game hosts quite a few unlockables, as well as some nifty modifiers to the game. There is also an opportunity to unlock some extended play. This is particularly important due to the games short storyline. Even so, the game kept my attention and was something I really did want to get up to play.
Twisted Pixel continues to do something that particularly sparks my interest when playing their games. Sometimes, there isn’t a need for a serious storyline, or an over the top cast of voice actors and animations. Picking up a particular game in order to smash some buildings, become a super hero bearing a giant smiley face, or wrestle a creature that is part gator, part human, can prove to be just as entertaining.
I can’t say that I would have picked up The Gunstringer on launch day. With that being said, if you own the Kinect sensor, you should own The Gunstringer. It provides a fun and unique experience and is good for more than just a few laughs. The live-action inclusion to the game provides a creative and immersible experience, which is something that the Kinect was is intended to do. There are also plenty of unlockables, modes, and leaderboards that should keep your guns un-holstered.
+ Unlockables/Avatar Rewards
+ Weapon/Level/Enemy Variation
+ Fun Factor
+ Includes Fruit Ninja Free Download
– Short Story