Review: The Gunstringer (Kinect)

Review: The Gunstringer (Kinect)

Sit right down and I’ll tell you a tale…a tale of adventure, brotherhood, betrayal, justice, and revenge. The Gunstringer, the rootinest-tootinest sheriff in the West, was betrayed by his posse. With the spirit of revenge in him, he rises from the dead to enforce justice on his former friends. All variety of bandits and bad guys are thrown his way, but he plows through them all. Nobody can stand in front of the baddest undead marionette sheriff of them all…The Gunstringer.

The Gunstringer starts with a live action crew preparing a theater stage for a marionette show. The Gunstringer is gently buried under some potting soil while the audience waits on the other side of the curtain. The curtain is parted, the audience leans forward in anticipation, and The Gunstringer rises from his grave, transitioning into the beautiful graphical design of the game. Throughout the game, you are never allowed to forget that you are controlling the marionette as part of a play being put on for a real life audience. Your successes are cheered, your enemy’s successes are booed, and the game occasionally cuts to the audience so you can see how they’re reacting to the story. The effect is absolutely wonderful, in the best definition of the word.

Twisted Pixel has brought their quirky humor and style to bear on The Gunstringer, as they successfully did in their past games. The narrator is partially dynamic to your actions, like in Bastion, but it’s a very limited effect because of the on-rails nature of the game. There are some that deride on-rails games, but as a master of the Time Crisis arcade series, a good on-rails game feels great to me. The on-rails element of The Gunstringer is well done, and well paced.

Controlling The Gunstringer is intuitive and responsive. You raise your left hand into the kind of position you would form if holding a marionette, or palming a basketball. Sharply raising your hand causes The Gunstringer to jump, while moving it left or right causes him to…well, you know…move left or right. Movement is simple, and unobtrusive. The real fun comes from shooting. Using your right hand, you point out and mark your targets, with up to six targets per fire. When your targets are marked, you snap your hand up from the recoil of your imaginary six-shooter. Just as you don’t HAVE to form blades with your hands in Fruit Ninja Kinect, you don’t HAVE to make a gun with your right hand in The Gunstringer. If you don’t, though, you’re just…wrong.

The Gunstringer is easily going to go down as one of the defining titles for the Kinect platform. The gameplay, the humor, the style, the polish…the physical exhaustion…this is what the Kinect was built for, and Twisted Pixel has done an absolutely brilliant job in highlighting that. If you own a Kinect, The Gunstringer is a definite buy. If you don’t own a Kinect, but have been considering it, The Gunstringer is one of the titles that should put you over the fence.

Review

ProsCons
Intuitive Kinect controls
Wonderful design and style
Lots of content
Incredible spaghetti western soundtrack
Arms get very tired from extended play
Rating
95 out of 100

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