By Tyler Lubben / June 6th, 2016
Between stages, you’ll be able to rest and restock in Clovercreek. After dropping off your quarry (either at the jail or the graveyard, based on how you decided to deal with each boss), you can go to the store to buy items like extra health or upgrades to your throwing knife (if you haven’t blown it all at the Indian casino). The saloon lets you take part in mini-games like drinking contests (a button mashing test), or you can play a few hands of Texas Hold ‘Em. You’ll also sometimes meet people who think they’re quicker than you and challenge you to a showdown. This is a pretty basic reaction mini-game, requiring players to fire their gun when the Musical Chairs-like music stops. Many of these events will give players a gold bar, which you can keep track of in Luckslinger’s room at the hotel. At first, I wasn’t sure what the point of collecting these was, but, apparently, the number of gold bars you collect affects what kind of ending you get. Normally, I’d say this is fine, but without any apparent way to backtrack to previous stages to try to acquire gold bars you may have missed, it means that you’ll have to play each level perfectly the first time to get all 33 bars and the best ending. While by no means impossible, it could still be a tall order to force a completionist to start the game all over just because they might have missed a stray bar in an earlier level.
That said, Luckslinger isn’t a dreadfully long game. It took me about 10 hours to complete on my first run, which I’m sure could be cut down on with practice and just getting better. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the game’s Pitfall-like art style and semi-realistic animations, so needing to play through the game again would by no means be a chore. It’s incredibly satisfying killing a tough enemy, then watching him ragdoll into a nearby pit. Likewise, the music is fantastic. It’s a unique blend of familiar Western themes with a dash of hip-hop for good measure. Probably the most noticeable use of this is in Clovercreek itself, where the music will change as you progress through the game, and the town starts to recover as you bring back their stolen items. The music starts with a somber lone harmonica, but, as conditions start to improve, more instruments are included, and the mood gets noticeably brighter. It’s a great soundtrack that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen in a game before.
I think what I liked most about Luckslinger was the way that it rewarded you if you played it well. Of course, that may not sound like much; any game is easier if you do well and don’t take damage. But there’s another layer to it here. Defeating enemies, picking up lots of loot and not taking damage means high luck, which then means that more outcomes fall in your favor. The game’s difficulty is directly related to how good you are at it. Of course, that could mean that platforming novices may have a harder time, but I would never take points away from a game for providing players with a greater challenge. Don’t let the $13 price tag fool you; prove to Lady Luck that you’re worthy, and she will smile upon you.
Review copy provided by publisher
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