How quick is your trigger finger, cowboy? High Noon, a Western-themed freemium game that’s been on the top-grossing games list for a while now, seeks to put your shooting skills to the test against some of the fastest guns in the world. Do you have what it takes to make mincemeat out of these old-fashioned outlaws?
Compared to some of the beefier freemium games on the App Store like Smurfs’ Village, there’s not a whole lot going on in High Noon, which actually might be a good thing. When you begin, you embody a bland-looking cowboy and start honing your skills in the game’s target practice. Here you learn how to become a dueling master: you’re shown how to holster your gun (turn your device upside-down), draw (flip it upside-right), aim at your enemy (tilt), and fire (tap). This phone-as-gun idea is a clever use of the device, and it makes for some tense confrontations once you start dueling against real people online.
The near game-killing problem here is that the controls are awful. Your crosshair wobbles beyond your control, and shifting your aim left and right feels like you’re drunk and half-blind. Worse yet, your opponents don’t stand in one spot; they move around. Since these one-on-one duels constitute the bulk of the gameplay, this is a problem. The fact that everyone’s at an equal disadvantage gives some consolation, but it doesn’t excuse the developers from building a control scheme that works.
Hang me out to dry.
Successful gunslinging levels you up and earns you gold, which you can spend on items in the in-game store. For sale you’ll find new haircuts, hats, facial expressions, skill upgrades, and limited-use items, like a safe that keeps your money secure from thieves for several hours, and a lasso you can use to disorient your opponent briefly during shootouts. And it wouldn’t be a freemium game if there wasn’t a currency that costs actual money and unlocks the best items in the game. Here it’s called Wampum, and you can buy it in packs that cost between $5 and $100. Yes, $100.
Additionally, they give you gold and a prize every day you sign into the game, and you can organize a ‘shitlist’ (which other games call a friends list), and communicate via telegrams. You can also try to steal money from people but, like dueling, stealing costs energy, and when you run out of energy you either have to wait for it to replenish or buy more using Wampum.
Aside from the control issues, this is a pretty decent and standard freemium game. There’s not much gameplay variety, so most people won’t feel the need to spend real-life money on it. But if you find that you love it, be careful or you might become a Wampum-buying fool.