Did you love Link’s Crossbow Training? A Fan of Namco Guncon titles? Still playing Duck Hunt? A simple “yes” would mean Gameloft’s WiiWare title, Wild West Guns, is one game you should check out.
You play as a no-named gunslinger, tasked with completing several types of quick-draw challenges such as target shooting, capping stereotypical baddies, juggling cans in the air, and shooting down balloons. All challenges are perfectly suited with the Wii hardware. The infrared wiimote acts as an extremely responsive aiming tool, giving classic games like Time Crisis and Duck Hunt a run for their money. As a side note, this game is compatible with the Wii Blaster peripheral.
At its core, Wild West Guns is a very simple game. With a cel-shaded look similar to Wild Arms 3, this WiiWare title has a pretty solid overall presentation but lacks options. The six stage game span is somewhat limited as quick players will finish it in about an hour. But to increase the game’s short life span, the developers created an achievement system. In the options menu, players can see what percentage of things they have shot, medals they have earned, high scores, etc. Although I would have rather have seen more levels, this achievement structure does give the game some extra legs.
Visually, the game looks surprising good (and it should for taking up a hefty 300 blocks of Wii flash drive space). Characters are actually 3D models and environments are incredibly interactive. The main mission of a stage may be to shoot down a bunch of floating balloons, but the real challenge is shooting down wild life, bandits, and parts of the environment while still focusing on the main mission objective. The player never has to worry about reloading, but being trigger happy has disadvantages. More often than not, stringing together multiple headshots in a row racks up way more points than just blasting everything away as if holding a machine gun. Add in the fact that the game only lets you progress after you reach a certain point total (you can only access level 3 after you complete level 2) so precision and patience should always take center stage.
The game has a settling musical score, well suited for the wild western theme. However, the over-powering shooting sound effect emitted by the wiimote grows quite annoying by the end of the first stage. I wish there was a way to turn the volume down on the wiimote’s speaker, or to turn this option off completely. Yes, it gives an added sense of depth, but I had to turn up my televisions volume beyond normal measure just to hear the sound track over the wiimote’s speaker. But once I was able to actually listen to the music, hearing the same voice over quotes repeatedly also grows annoying quickly.
Again, Wild West Guns is a simple and straight forward game. You will never get a power-up, there are only 6 stages, and you will shoot the same stereotypical enemies over and over again. The two player option, either co-op or versus, does give this game some extra life and should be an enjoyable experience when hosting a casual get together with some friends. But for the large price of $10, I would have liked to have seen more levels, online leaderboards, and maybe even online play. Although this game is enjoyable, I feel there just isn’t enough content here for warrant a $10 purchase. Take in the heavier price point, the shorter game time, and a whopping 300 blocks of storage space, downloaders of this title might not have it on their Wii hard drive for long.
Looking past the lack of options, Wild West Guns has an entertaining core. With responsive controls and highly interactive environments, players will definitely enjoy their time with this title. It is just a bummer than the experience will be short lived. If this title sold for half of the download price, then every Wii owner should purchase this game, hands down. Otherwise, Wii players might be satisfied playing the shooting mini game on Wii Play.