As children many of us spent several lazy afternoons watching old cowboy flicks, so it seems almost criminal that this classic Hollywood genre hasn't been granted a decent videogame adaptation for some time. Last generation's GUN was a modestly successful representation of the movies, but the focus on adventure meant it lacked the all-important gun-slinging. Right up until this day the closest thing we've come to being in a real cowboy gun fight is Wild Gunman on the NES. Is Wild West Guns, an on-the-rails light-gun game, set to change all that?
Actually, Wild West Guns does exactly what the title suggests. The game has you travelling around stereotypical environments taking down bandits and shooting targets. The heart of its personality comes from the way it exaggerates well known clichés. You'll be asked to tackle tyrants on a speeding train, beer-drenched bandits in a saloon, and even to take on a shootout in the cemetery. The characters and environments are all presented in a sharp and vibrant cel-shaded skin to boot.
Wild West Guns has two main modes: single player, where you tackle six different levels alone, and multiplayer, where you play with a friend either co-operatively or against each other. Each level is divided into three parts. Completing all levels will reward you with a “Hard” mode which is essentially the same single player experience all over again but with the difficulty levels raised.
Each level will see you complete two training exercises before pitting you in a real gunfight next to a train track, in a saloon, or at the cemetery. You point the Wii Remote at the screen to control a cross hair and use the “B” button to shoot. There is Wii Zapper support for those who own one, which adds as much to the game as you allow it. If you like playing light-gun games with the Zapper then this game is the perfect accessory to the hardware, though the Zapper is by no means essential. You will do fine with the Wii Remote alone.
The enemies and targets are incredibly responsive to your shots enabling you to go for headshots to maximise your score. Points are awarded for every enemy or target you hit and are multiplied by the number of targets you’ve hit before the last miss. It’s a simple system, which is key to Wild West Guns' appeal; this is a game that has obviously been designed with the Wii’s expanded user base in mind.
Given the simplistic nature of the game, though, it’s not without depth for hardcore players. To achieve the highest scores you will not only have to take down all the targets in the foreground but also hit sub-targets which pop up in the background. These range from frogs hopping across the ground to spade wielding farmers who will run at you and give you a decent wallop. Some enemies will grab onto you, in which case you can shake the Wii Remote to free yourself (or, if you are using the Wii Zapper, you rotate the Nunchuck’s analogue stick in a circular motion). Shaking the Wii Remote induces more panic than rotating the analogue stick, but either way it’s a nice way of mixing up the action.
The range of objectives is somewhat disappointing, however. Early on you must shoot balloons and sombreros but the ideas get tired a little later on as everything gets recycled with more speed and less margin for error. It’s also a shame that the main shootout battles get reused in later levels too: you’ll fight the same bandits on the train in levels 1, 4 and 6. It would have been extremely satisfying to have a different shootout at the end of the six levels but sadly this is not the case.
Even though they get a little repetitive, the final sections of each level are still the most fun with enemies popping up from all over the backdrops wanting to take a pot-shot at you. Sadly there are only a few different enemy sprites which fit in with the intentionally cliché design of the game but given the size limits of WiiWare games this is forgivable. The enemies present are unquestionably satisfying to shoot and your enjoyment is increased when your character somewhat sarcastically shouts out “Rest In Peace” after filling yet another foe with lead.
The music is well suited to this kind of game; Western style country-flavoured themes blare behind the sound of your gun, but be warned – the tinny speaker on the Wii Remote is used to deal with some of the sound of your firearm and while it adds to the interaction the constant repetition of the gun-fire sound effect will eventually grate.
The multiplayer mode, on the other hand, provides kicks for two players as you take on each of the single player levels competitively or co-operatively. More enemies pop up on screen to cater to the extra player and it’s definitely fun stealing your partner's kills to get extra points in the friendship-destroying competitive mode. It’s not going to add stacks and stacks of extra replay value, but it does make for a good time-killer with pals. Having said that, if you’re looking for a serious challenge to enhance the single player game, I found that playing co-operative mode alone is great fun by placing a Wii Remote in each hand and essentially dual-wielding. The game’s certainly playable this way and is a testament to your multi-tasking skills if you can pull it off.
Wild West Guns main shortcomings are its length and replay value. The lamentable lack of scoreboards means record setting comes down to a personal level and the range of activities on offer won’t keep you hooked for long. Gameloft have included “achievements” but these boil down to you gaining a 100 multiplier or earning more than a $1,000,000 on a particular level. It’s nice that they are there but given there is just an image and personal gratification up for grabs there is little incentive to unlock them.
Gameloft has crafted an addictive and attractive game with enough gameplay to keep you coming back for short blasts every once in a while, but there's not really enough meat on the bones to hold your attention for prolonged play sessions. There's little doubt that more modes, environments and enemies could have made Wild West Guns an essential purchase but overall what’s on offer for 1,000 points is a very well executed and likable light gun game that is made even more enjoyable thanks to some robust multiplayer options.
Nice review, i expected lower! It would be a shame if an actually good game, like this, gets lower sales then Spogs.
Excellent review Sammy. I have to admit this really does appeal to me - I too would like a really decent Cowboy game and this looks like it could fit the bill!
Thats about what I expected from some of the comments on previous pages. While it may be somewhat short and repetitive, most lightgun games are. Though the one I really need to get is Umbrella Chronicles, I'll probably get this.
7/10 seems to be the usual for good games on WiiWare, doesn't it? Nice to see a decent game come out in Europe. Now we just need some back in the Americas.
wow this looks pretty fun. Im not going to rush home to get it, but if I need to pass the time with a buddy I will download it. Good review Sammy. Very well worded and thorough. Now I am waiting for a 10/10 wiiware game!
I Want this and i'm getting it tomorrow
looks good but, I don't want another short game like Lostwinds
Surprised about how good you say it is, as I thought this was going to be quite poor. I still won't be getting it but it's good to know it's not a load of cow dung.
@Kreegs07: I bet the first 10/10 WiiWare game will be Megaman 9, if not, Tetris Party
Nice review and a rating that fits the game
I played Ghost Squad and this seems like a very similar game. Ideal for WiiWare
I sure hope so. But something tells me that the supposed hard difficulty of Mega man 9 will get it a 9/10. Tetris party has the potential to get a 10, but I also think that it will only get a 9. I really hope one of them gets at 10/10 though!!
It's a reocurring WW theme. Good, but too overpriced.
First 10/10 is MM9 or Tetris Party. I'll bet anyone 5 bucks.
I hope you're right! Either way I am getting MM9 and Tetris
I was hoping for 8/10 after I played it, but I completely agree with review and think 7 is a good score.I also think that the 1000 points is a fitting price point and providing that gameloft builds on what they have already done with this game rather than remix and rehash these levels/enemies I would happily hand over another 1000 points for a sequel.
Thanks a lot for this great review!
I'll think about spending 10 EUR for WildWest Guns next night o_O
I think that MM8, Tetris and SB will be good but won't reach 10/10. I reckon they'll hit 8/10 or 9/10
Are there any options to adjust the aiming calibration in this game?
Glad to know this game is good. I'm hoping we get it and/or Plaatchen on Monday.
A game would have to be something unreal to get a 10/10 because we are still very early in the WiiWare releases, with many more likely to come. It would be tough to give something a "perfect" score given that we could still see something a lot better down the road. It would have to be absolutely amazing to get a 10.
I think you've got the game summed up spot on there mate. From What I've played of the game it's a fun pick up and play game that is well worth the price (Something that cannot be said of a lot of Wii Ware titles.)
Great Review and I'm happy with my purchase
Good review, it's the right score IMO.
Am I right in saying that you can't turn off the pointer cursor? That's something of a deal breaker for me sadly
Good review i think 7/10 of ten is fair! Personally i think its a good game and when you need to relieve some stress once in a while it will be there to do so! They could have added alot more for replay value just having top scores would have been good!
Still im happy with it! if thought i cudnt really afford it but got it anyway lol
Whoa, that was fast!
Hmmm, I guess this is another Wiiware Game to put on my list "Wiiware Games I'll download when I've completed enough games that hinder me buying new ones".
Actually, I have 3-5 VC Games catching virtual dust in my wii and around 20-50 GCN, Wii and DS Games who I decided to complete before randomly buying new games.
I hope I get through them until the end of summer... At least with the half...
great were getting this Monday i hope we get Plattchen to dont want to wait another week with 2000 points
If you like this style of game, House of the Dead 2 &3 and Resident Evil UC are both good choices if you want a meatier shooter. Both are good games too
Eh...it seems like a good reason enough to dust the Wii Zapper shell for another round or two. Good review.
Has anyone whoplayed this thinks it's worth 1000 points.
Yes I do think it's worth 1000.
Interesting... Sounds like your enjoyment of the game would be largely based on how much you value 1000 points. If that's a lot to you, you won't like this so much. If it's not so many points to you, you'll enjoy it.
I wonder which will happen first... more content in 1000 point games or less than 1000 point prices for games that aren't quite "all there", so to speak.
ONM rated it and gave it 80%. They did think though that it could have been slightly cheaper (800 points was what they thought) and then it would be essential. They also said that it was a bit simple for experts
Anyone here who bought it? I might buy it later (I just bought LostWinds). Also is a Wii Zapper required for this game?
Nope, you don't need a Wii Zapper. Though I'm guessing a Wii Zapper would make things more enjoyable if you had one. It's all your choice.
In fact, the Wii Zapper is just a piece of plastic that holds the Wii Remote and nunchuk, it doesn't do anything new.
Sounds interesting, I actually might have to clear some memory for it when it comes stateside.
Unlike a lot a lightgun games, in this one you dont need to reload so the advantage that you get from using the Wii Zapper is different to what you might find when playing something like House of Dead.
The difference between using the Zapper and standard remote here is that when you have to grapple with an enemy, clear smoke etc... you do not have to waggle the remote in a warioware style way instead you just have to waggle the thumb stick on your nunchuck which you have located at the back of the zapper. Personally I prefer playing this without anyway after trying both.
@zss_shadow & Raptor78: Allright! Thanks for clearing this up.
looks good im picking it up tonite for sure.
I was gonna pick this one up, but I ain't got no money.
I like the way the game looks but I personally think the game is overpriced so for that reason I won't be picking it up. But very good review.
Same as ChocoDK for me. 800 points would seal the deal. I know there will be some people who think its only 200 points more (£1.40 if brought directly from the wii shop) and that I may be a cheapskate but at least for retail games if you remain uncertain or not convinced you can wait til the prices drops, not so with vc and wii games unless nintendo do a vc and wiiware sale which is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY.
I don't think it's overpriced, no matter what I gotta spend $20 on a point card. I'm just saving that $20 for something else.
I would gladly buy this game because of the graphics, gameplay, and the achievements, but I dont have my wii with me (long story). I would download it on my cousins wii if i had any cash.
I bought it and i like it. Its not a megahit, but its fun for about 7 hours, i guess. what i don´t like is that there is just one save slot. my wife likes these type of games too, and on links crossbow you had several slots. heres just one, so she has to wait until i beated it completely and erased my safe game. then she can go for it. i´m asking myself why nobody realized that?
but still its a little zapperfun game. great music. and guys: the game announces "headshot! 1000 $!"
in germany this is normally a reason to bane games.
I'm downloading this right now. I'll edit with my thoughts.
EDIT: It took me 40 minutes to beat the 6 levels on Normal. (I redid one stage.) I look forward to Hard mode, though. While it is short, all lightgun games are (except maybe Umbrealla Chroicles but its $50). If you like this genre, and 1.5 hrs of single-player and great co-op and VS. multiplayer is enough content for $10 (everyone else must be getting more for $10 outside Wiiware then I am) then definately get this. The graphics are good, the presentation is cheesy, (in a good way. It reminds me of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in some moments) and the controls are fluid and accurate. It IS a big download, but I have a SD card.
bahamut and kreegs, i agree, id give tet party a 10, anyday
Now I wish I hadn't gotten this...haven't played it since...
A solid an definate 8/10 for me. I loved this game.
This was actually one of the first games that I downloaded awhile back and I really liked it! I would've rated it at a 7 to an 8 also. it's quite challenging without being too hard at all. In fact I wish it was a little harder and longer. I got platinum (the highest rating) on everything from normal to hard within a month's time or so. I would like to see certain games like this to be expanded on and lengthened to be released on disc form. The only thing I really don't like about it is the fact that on the third stage of each level you get a lot of enemies popping up at the same time. They are easy to pick off if you're playing with a friend but to shoot them all accuratly by yourself is quite tricky.
If you like shooting games and you haven't downloaded this one i do not know what you are waiting for.Reminds me of the games I used to spend quarters on in the old arcade. I give this a 10/10
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