Anyone who is even remotely into gaming will likely have at very least heard of Red Dead Redemption. This epic western adventure game captured the hearts and minds of millions of console and PC owners across the globe with its open-world format that depicts the struggle of a former outlaw to keep his family alive by becoming a bounty hunter. Anyone that may have ever thought that this kind of grand-scale adventure couldn't possibly achieved on a mobile device however, may just have to put up with embarrassment because Six Guns has attempted to do - and in some ways has succeeded in doing- just that.
It's probably best not to overstate things from the start however, and the sobering fact is no game could ever live up to the grand and brilliant nature of Red Dead Redemption, especially when it comes to doing so on the hardware limitations of a mobile device. Six Guns is a game that's heavily inspired by Rockstar's legendary western game and has you assuming the role of Buck Crosshaw, an outlaw that's most definitely going to come into direct conflict with a variety of opponents as part of the many missions he/you will face in the wild west. These missions involve anything from rescuing people in distress to simply killing certain numbers and types of opponents, from vampires to witches and other evil forces from the beyond.
Supernatural forces come into play a lot in Six Guns; they are effectively the plot device that drives the whole game, but from the outset it is obvious that almost no thought has actually been put into the plot itself on the development end, let alone its presentation or progression as it is experienced by the players. For the purpose of this review, you simply need to know that you're an outlaw that's had to fake his own death, move to Arizona, and take on some evil forces there. And that's about the level of depth you're going to get from the actual game.
Disappointing plot aside, the gameplay itself does have some promise, though nowhere near as much as a game that's inspired by the likes of Red Dead Redemption should have.. It involves a fair bit of adventuring between seemingly unrelated (by any form of plot that is) missions and some decent third-person shooting mechanics. It's just a matter of tapping the crosshair button and swiping your fingers towards your target to get an automatic lock; the attack button triggers your shooting. In true western style you have a six-shooter, restricting you to six shots before you have to reload and make yourself a little vulnerable to attackers. The virtual joystick that controls your movement is much less accomplished, requiring some exaggerated gesturing to move at any decent speed.
The freemium aspect of the game kicks in fairly early on, rearing its ugly head as you become frustrated with slow reloading times, which you can speed up if you upgrade. You can earn coins in the game that can be spent on upgrades of course, but to get any upgrades that really benefit you early on you're going to have to spend some actual money, or spend a long time grinding. There's a healthy wedge of upgrades to dip into when you can afford to do so, with nearly twenty guns and just two shy of ten horses to get your hands on. The game's not too reliant on you spending your money on in-game currency either; you can buy all items or combinations of them directly.
Perhaps one of Six Guns' most obvious redeeming qualities is its presentation. Say what you want about the bug-laden gameplay and the shoddy movement controls, this game's got some serious ammo when it comes to aesthetic value. The 3D graphics portray the fantasy-western world with style, but it comes at a price: performance. Your phone's battery will drain quickly and you'll even encounter the occasional crash as well, marring what would otherwise be a very respectable (and redeeming) presentation and graphics performance. Still, to distract from the bugs and other shortcomings of the game would have taken some serious graphics/aesthetic wonder of the likes of Infinity Blade 3 or the Asphalt series.
It's a shame really, that Gameloft's Six Guns isn't a better game than it is. It has the potential to be fantastic but frequent bugs and glitches, poor movement mechanics, and a lacklustre (or arguable nonexistent) plot tarnish the whole experience. It's not the freemium that lets this game down for once - Six Guns does that all by itself before the money-grabbing payment system even manages to spoil the experience.
Bebop Rating: 6.6/10