Wild West Guns does exactly one thing, and it does it well: shooting! While we don’t think this is one of the best games on the App Store or anything–it’s a bit light on content for such accolades–it’s plenty entertaining for what it is. Action gamers looking for a solid shootout won’t be disappointed here.
Wild West Guns is charmingly set in an Old American West that’s far more celluloid than historical, and it entertained us before we even got to shooting at varmints. The developer couldn’t even let the options screen go without firearms–you select your levels and such by blasting away at wooden planks. But no game can live on charm alone, and Wild West Guns has shooting gallery action in abundance. Each level consists of three stages, most combining a shooting game and a longer shootout, and your combined score must reach a certain threshold to unlock the next level.
The gameplay is extremely simple: you tap where you need to shoot. That’s it. You’re not burdened with reloading or bullet counts, so you can spray as many bullets as you like. However, accuracy counts and streaks will raise your points multiplier, so it pays tread carefully when tapping in a frenzy. Further, you can pick off rats or birds or windows in the background for more points, and headshots are worth double your point take, so aim high. You are also awarded medals for your skills, depending on how well you do.
Wild West Guns gives you a nice series of backgrounds on which to paint your masterpiece in blood. You’re stationery for the most part (with the exception of the train robbery levels), though the scenes are interactive and beautifully done. The enemies are amusing, if not a bit stereotyped, and there are a few on-screen powerups to help you in your slaughter by granting you temporary use of a shotgun or machine gun. There’s also some target shooting games to keep the action fresh, be in skeet shooting sombreros over a river or taking out sheriff-style badges in front of the saloon.
Your on screen display is clean and unfettered, though we’d like the health icon to be a bit more obvious. The sound design is great, from the crisp shattering of the targets to thee vaguely racist screaming exhibited by some of the baddies. We enjoyed the music, too, which is filled with lilting fiddles and other typical Western themes. For example, in the level with the piano player, you get a jaunty honky-tonk piano tune.
We do have a few bones to pick with the game. The enemies are nicely animated–they’re clear and individualized–but they could use a little more variety, as there’s only about a half dozen of them. There also aren’t very many levels (although they are choreographed very differently), and short of earning the high score achievements, there’s not too much reason to revisit them.
Nevertheless, Wild West Guns is a very tightly integrated, enjoyable shooter, and the price point is moderate at $4.99. Go get ‘em, pardner!