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Howdy, pardner. We need your help. Something is stirring in the hills of Arizona, and we need you to go there and stop it. Six-Guns might look like just another cowboy game, but believe us, it’s something altogether stranger…

Background

Six-Guns takes you back to the old west, a lawless age where the lone hero must tackle the usual bad guys… and something a little more unnatural. Equipped with just a horse and a gun, will you rise to the challenge?

You are Buck Crosshaw, an outlaw who faked his own death and set out to Arizona, only to encounter a lawless state where something mysterious and unnatural is stirring.

With an open world to explore, you’ll encounter cowboys, bandits, showgirls and more.

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Six-Guns is free and can be installed from the Windows Phone Store, which is the version reviewed here. It is also available for Android and iPhone, and a version has recently been released for Windows 8.

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Storyline and Missions

As the game blurb states, “Buck Crosshaw never shot a man who didn’t deserve it,” which is just as well as there is plenty of shooting to be done in this game. Six-Guns is set in an immense open world set in old-time Arizona and Oregon, where you must act as a hero to uncover the mysteries and defeat the challenges set.

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This free-to-play game features an astonishing 40 missions. These might include horse racing, defending a point from bandits and much more, and with eight horses and 19 weapons to unlock there is plenty to maintain interest as you work your way through the game.

Be aware, however, that this isn’t a flat cowboy shooter. There are beasties in those hills that aren’t bandits or rogue sheriffs, but creatures from legend. Pure evil…

Playability

Getting to grips with the game is easy, thanks in part to a simple, sensible control mechanism with software buttons. The tutorial system also helps.

You may need to spend a short time getting used to riding your horse, but on the whole, everything from summoning your ride to shooting weapons with accuracy is achievable early on.

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Whether those weapons have any effect on your foes is another matter entirely…

Six-Guns is an Xbox Live game, which means you can increase your Gamerscore on your Windows Phone How Xbox Live Users Can Benefit From A Windows Phone How Xbox Live Users Can Benefit From A Windows Phone If you’re a fan of mobile gaming and also own an Xbox 360 console, you might well be aware of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s digital delivery service that also supports multiplayer and most importantly allows you... Read More as you progress through the missions. A multiplayer option is also available, with co-op and head-to-head game modes, text and voice chat. Whether you choose to take advantage of these is up to you – you’ll certainly get the maximum pleasure from a polished and impressive free game, but if you’re only looking to play for your Gamerscore, there are 20 achievements worth 1,885. Achievements range from the simplicity of Western 101 (completing the tutorial) to The Bigger They Are… (killing a Giant Werewolf).

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The game also features a cloud saving option, enabling you to continue playing on other platforms. I’ve tested this with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and it works seamlessly. If only all games had such continuity options!

Graphics and Sound

Six-Guns is published by Gameloft and as such ships with the high quality presentation that you might have come to expect from their other titles such as The Dark Knight Rises and Assassins Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles HD.

Animation can be a little sluggish at times (played on the Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway A couple of weeks ago, Nokia introduced two new devices to the world: the Nokia Lumia 925 and the Nokia Lumia 928. The top notch of Windows Phone 8 devices, these two smartphones will only... Read More ) but on the whole the graphics are well designed and appropriately evocative of the Old West. Some characters could perhaps do with some refining, but as they’re one-shot villains this isn’t a major problem. Curiously, some of the human characters are better-realized than the supernatural ones!

The soundtrack, meanwhile, helps sell the Shane/A Fistful of Dollars/Lone Ranger style setup, with appropriate audio from bells tolling to hooves impacting on long-dried mud and sand. Perhaps best of all are the comic book-style cutscenes…

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Superb!

Conclusion

There are too few cowboy games out there these days. Long gone are 8-bit titles such as High Noon and Westbank, and other than mods for more recent releases (there are several for Half Life 2, for example) and Red Dead Redemption, there is little out there.

Hopefully the success of Six-Guns on Windows Phone and across other platforms can help to – ahem – redeem the genre, as it is one that really needs revisiting, in my opinion.

Available free, Six-Guns is a superb game, highly rated in the Windows Phone Store and also holds pride of place within MakeUseOf’s Best of Windows Phone apps and games.

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