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1 Reviews

The Gunstringer

No pain, no gain... pardner

We have mentioned The Gunstringer before, but it remains a game synopsis that you have to read through a few times just to get it straight.

A sheriff, killed by his own posse, rises from the grave to get revenge by mercilessly blowing the heads off every man, woman and rabbit in sight - and you control this skeletal psycho as a marionette, on a stage in front of a live-action audience of whooping weirdoes.


In concept and execution, this is the closest Xbox gaming gets to John Waters, to Gilliam, the Coen Brothers, and Troma - hence the participation of Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman, who performs as well as doling out snide kudos after every level.

It's possible that some gamers will dismiss this out of hand, in the same way that some moviegoers would rather pay to see the latest Michael Bay Happymeal than watch something weird, with Bill Murray looking morose on the poster.

There is plenty to criticise here from a gaming point of view, of course, with many Kinect moans fulfilled - in-game, there is a tinge of 'late 90s CGI cartoon' about the visuals, while the action is constantly on rails and linear, and it's torturous on the arms.

Precision easily goes to shit when you've spent 40 minutes with your left hand out ahead like a puppeteer and your right arm cocked at a 45 degree angle making shooty-shooty gestures.

Far from stabbing 'Skip' on every cut-scene, with Kinect it's near-impossible for the solo player to get through what is, after all, a pretty slim game narrative without taking five minutes to massage their biceps between levels.

But The Gunstringer remains a truly worthwhile gaming experience for everyone interested in seeing what can be done, and where we're going. Swapping varmint-blasting duties with friends can allow you to rattle through the full rampage in an evening, though it'll be hell to get three gold badges on every challenge.

For what is a slim package, upgraded from Live Arcade at the eleventh hour, there is still plenty of crap to unlock, plus demos for other Twisted Pixel titles and the full Fruit Ninja download. Basically, well worth 30 quid of arm-waving.

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The verdict

Suffers from age-old Kinect problems, but more than makes up for it with a totally unique approach and a brilliant brand of freakiness

Xbox Kinect
Action, Shoot 'em Up