E3 2011: The Gunstringer (Hands On)

by: Chuck -
Game: Gunstringer
Developer: Twisted Pixel
What's polished: Great sense of humor, cool concept
What needs polish: Controls take some getting used to, lot of sore shoulders ahead for gamers

Gunslinger is one a games that oozes charm and charisma. In the game you play the titular hero who is wronged by his gang and is out for revenge. Think Kill Bill but with marionettes, yes marionettes as in the puppets held up by string. The interesting meta game around this is that your actions are being watched by an audience of people (made up of footage of Twisted Pixel fans) who respond to your actions.

As a Kinect game it’s got the wonderful challenge of trying to find a control scheme that actually makes playing a game with shooting viable. You control the Gunstringer’s movement with your left hand like you would a marionette. To jump you pull your hand up and to move him left and right you move your hand left and right. While you’re doing that you move your right hand around to mark targets Dragoon Orta style and when you have your targets selected you pull your hand back like you are fake shooting a gun.

It’s a simple setup by it took me a few tries to get my body to do what the mind wanted was commanding. Getting my arms to move independently was the biggest impedance to success but I got it down after about five minutes. It wasn’t perfect but it was enough to get me past the first boss (Inflatable Wavy Tube Man) at the end of the demo.

I mentioned it earlier but the game has a really fun sense of humor and the writing seems to be good from what I’ve saw. I will admit that my shoulders were a little sore after the demo but I think some of that will go away with practice and me using my arms to lift things other than controllers and soda cans. People are going to enjoy the game when it comes out, I just hope they can get through the learning curve on the controls.
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