Pocket Gunfighters Review (iOS)
Don't be fooled by the cutesy graphics of Pocket Gunfighters, as this shooter takes aim with a swipe-and-tap control mechanic that will have you hooked in moments. Addiction, however, has its price, even if it comes in the form of a free-to-play app. The devil is always in the details, and although Pocket Gunfighters has tons of bullets to spare, there's one particular showdown that almost ruins the game.
As first impressions go, Pocket Gunfighters passes the eye test, especially if you're a fan of Westerns. Paying homage to such movies as ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ the storyline has a gunfighter trying to rescue his girl from the forces of evil. When a time machine finds its way to a one horse town, a vast array of fighters threaten to disrupt the Wild West. Sometimes a six-shooter just won't do, and when you progress during the game you'll unlock new fighters armed with shotguns and Gatling guns.
Pocket Gunfighters' control mechanic is easy to handle and a totally immersive experience. Even though it takes a directional swipe across your screen to nail the bad guys with your six shooter, you will employ a tap mechanic when using a shotgun or a Gatling gun. It's a simple enough way to control the game, but coupled with the rush of enemies that fly your way, the mile-a-minute action will appeal to the more adrenaline driven gamer. It's essentially a shooting gallery style of combat, but since the app also displays a wide array of environments to match its frenetic style, dull moments rarely exist in Pocket Gunfighters.
The Achilles’ heel lies in Gamevil's use of the freemium model. When your gunslinger perishes in the opening levels, it takes another 30 minutes to restart the level. Since I died twice within the first few levels, I wasted over an hour waiting to clear the first three stages of Pocket Gunfighter. You can always spend money for a few premiums at the app's general store to get back in the mix, but slapping us with the pay-to-play option within minutes of starting the app is absolutely disheartening.
Along with the ability to swap your gunfighters in the middle of combat and a seemingly endless achievement-based system, Pocket Gunfighters should have been a can't miss title. With treasure chests to discover, gold coins to grab and villains to eliminate with a quick finger swipe, this app still has me hooked even with its gaping freemium flaw. It’s a compromise I’m willing to make, but it’s still disappointing that this app isn’t more than just a charming little dog and pony show.
This review is based on a downloaded copy of Pocket Gunfighters for iOS.