|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gameloft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gameloft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
WiiWare - Nintendo's relatively new service, hosting original, downloadable games for Wii - is a splendid thing. System owners can now look forward to unique, Wii-centric content each Monday, and the price for most games falls somewhere between $5-10.
The WiiWare platform is also quite inviting for developers, since they can sell their wares directly, without the large costs involved with manufacturing boxed, retail games. Gameloft, developer of several other WiiWare titles, including Block Breaker Deluxe and TV Show King, are showing a lot of love to the platform and have now added Wild West Guns - a light-gun game of the uber-casual kind - to their list of offerings. But is this shooter worth your 1000 Wii Points ($10)? Remember the Nintendo Entertainment System classic, Duck Hunt? Well, Wild West Guns doesn't deviate too far from that very same type of gameplay. From a first-person view, players shoot at various targets, including badges, tin cans, suicide bombers, and oh yeah, bandits. As the title implies, the game is set in the "Wild West" - cowboys and Indians - and you're the new marshal, hired to bring law and order to the land.
The single-player offering consists of six levels with three challenges in each. You'll be required to earn a certain amount of money in order to unlock each proceeding level. By shooting well - accuracy over quantity - you'll earn more bounty for the baddies you defeat. A typical level plays out thusly: The first challenge might have you shoot strings of badges without shooting any red ones; the next challenge will perhaps have you shooting as many balloons as you can before a timer runs out; and the last challenge will tell you to defeat the bandits or defend the town (which also consists of you shooting at bandits). Each of the three challenges is about one-to-five minutes in length.
Honestly, the game starts out very predictable, but as you progress, the challenge and requirement to do well offer a good bit of entertainment. While you're concentrating on shooting targets or preventing tins cans from hitting the ground, there will be enemies charging the screen trying to attack you.
There are two levels of difficulty - normal and hard - though you'll only get the normal setting from the onset. But the game does offer a fair amount of challenge, and merely flailing away on the Wii-mote won't earn you enough money at the end of a level to unlock the next portion of the game. The controls, however, are as simple as pointing the Wii-mote at the screen and using either the A or B button to fire. Additionally, when a smoke cloud impairs your view, you can waggle the remote to clear the screen faster, or should an enemy run up and grab hold of you, you can shake him off with the same waggle gesture.
Wild West Guns does have its shortcomings, though, and as you might have already guessed, they lie solely in the repetitive and overly simplistic nature of the gameplay. If you bought the WiiPlay package, you already own something almost comparable to Wild West Guns, though the achievements here do offer a bit more incentive to plug away longer. Additionally, there is a multiplayer option (for two players) that would make a very accessible novelty at parties, but even casual gamers might find the game to be a bit too casual. Multiplayer is basically more of the same, and both the versus and cooperative options have you shooting your way through the same levels and doing the same things from the single-player experience
On the presentation front, Wild West Guns is actually quite attractive. The backgrounds and enemies are fully three-dimensional and there are some touches of cel-shading, which give the game a more vibrant, cowboy theme. The water effects are also very impressive, the framerate is pretty solid (though the game seemed to exhibit some slight lag during multiplayer), and overall it's a good-looking package.