- Kinect Sensor Required
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Twisted Pixel
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Shooter
- Pros: Tons of content; great story and characters; voice acting; Wavy Tube Man Chronicles; Kinect controls work great; can play while sitting
- Cons: Sore arms
The Gunstringer is actually a play where you control a marionette puppet undead skeleton cowboy out for revenge. The story is hilarious and the dialogue is really great. Similar to the recently released Bastion on XBLA, there is a narrator talking about everything you do which also leads to some laughs. There are multiple parts to the play, each with several levels and a boss fight at the end, and the main game itself offers a solid 4-6 hours of solidly replayable content. The game also offers co-op which is a blast as well.
The Gunstringer also offers two pieces of additional free content you can download. The first is Fruit Ninja Kinect for XBLA (a Kinect fruit slicing game ... trust us, it is way more fun than it sounds). The second is an extra act for The Gunstringer called The Wavy Tube Man Chronicles. Wavy Tube Man Chronicles is an interactive FMV game where you move a cursor around the screen and can shoot enemies as they pop up by raising your hand like you just fired a pistol. Honestly, it isn't much of a game since you don't really need to aim, but it is absolutely hilarious with some great dialogue and completely crazy storyline.
And you get all of this content for $39.99. Not a bad deal.
The gameplay consists of a few different scenarios that change in and out as you play the game. Most of the time you control The Gunstringer as he automatically runs forward (or rides a horse, or drives a wagon, etc.) by moving your left hand side to side or lifting it in the air to make him dodge objects or jump. Your right hand controls his gun where you paint targets by moving a cursor around and then pull upwards like you're shooting a pistol, and then Gunstringer shoots all of the enemies you marked. Another scenario has Gunstringer hiding behind cover and you have to mark enemies and then lean him out of cover to shoot. Other gameplay modes are things like simple side-scrolling platforming sections or occasionally picking up an extra gun and getting to shoot with both hands, just to name a couple. There is a lot of variety here, which is great, and the boss fights are also all unique and very cool.
Visually, The Gunstringer is a nice looking game. It isn't stunning or anything, but it is clean looking and has a definite appeal thanks to a quirky art style. The environments are rather plain, but the character designs are pretty crazy and really stand out. It is sort of like a Western-themed cartoon designed by a mental patient.
The sound is very good overall. Great music. Great sound effects. And incredibly good (as good as cheesy over the top Western dialogue can be) voice acting.