Originally designed as a download-only title destined for Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft’s The Gunstringer is now a fully-fledged retail product.
Not only that, but as the first action shooter on Kinect, the title is a pioneer for Microsoft’s motion accessory, leading a new wave of games that cater to more traditional shooter fans.
That’s not to say the game isn’t for the more casual player. Far from it. With its colourful cartoon style and easy-to-pick-up gameplay, along with its core shooter mechanics, The Gunstringer is a Kinect title that offers something for all kinds of users.
It’s also safe to say there’s nothing else quite like this on the market. The action game is presented as one giant stage show. It blends third-person shooting with platforming, and includes a Spaghetti Western-themed soundtrack as well Clint Eastwood-style narration. Plus, the protagonist is a zombie cowboy marionette.
Gameplay consists of 2D and 3D sections, run-and-gun shoot-outs and boss battles. There are plenty of items to collect along the way, but it’s the motion gameplay that makes it stand out.
While aiming at the screen, players can flick their right hand up to their shoulder to fire the in-game gun, and use their left hand to move the Gunstringer character around. The storyline is as unique as the gameplay, too. Players take the Gunstringer on a revenge mission against a posse that abandoned him and left him for dead.
All the enemies have a comedic nature, from the standard outlaws to one of the game’s first bosses, Wavy Tube Man, who imitates the inflatable mannequins used at outdoor festivals. The game includes four main plays, with two acts each, as well as an intro and a finale.
Billy the quid
With its attractive £29.99 price point and a wide range of pre-order incentives (see ‘Fruity bonus’ and ‘Pre-order props’ ), The Gunstringer presents games buyers with an enticing proposition.
Additionally, those who pick up the game at release will be able to download a free add-on pack called The Wavy Tube Man Chronicles. This puts players up against the son of Wavy Tube Man, who travels through time to prevent his father’s death at the hands of the Gunstringer. If it all sounds a tad crazy, that’s because it is.
The Gunstringer is an ambitious motion-sensing shooter and one that has the opportunity to perform well ahead of the major Q4 releases. Crazy? Yes. Stupid? Definitely not.
The Gunstringer comes with a code that lets buyers download Fruit Ninja Kinect for free. This is a motion-sensing version of the hit iPhone game Fruit Ninja. Players must swing their arms to slice up fruit as it falls from the top of the screen. The game was released as a paid-for Xbox Live download earlier this week.
Customers who pre-order the game will also receive two bonus download codes. These can be used to access Gunstringer-based avatar props on the Xbox Live marketplace for free.