Strap in your boots and load your weapons. A Fistful of Gun is a new indie 2D shooter from Devolver that mixes classic arcade-style gameplay with a Western theme.
The game has two main offline modes so far: arcade and story. Arcade mode is exactly what it sounds like; a more casual and score-driven gameplay experience with all of the characters unlocked right off the bat. You run around a small 2D map filled with enemies looking to pick off all of the baddies and collect their gold. At the end of each stage you are rewarded with a special ability or power-up to give you an advantage as you move forward in the increasingly difficult Arcade mode.
Story mode still has heavy arcade elements but is broken into different acts that drive the plot forward. From what I have gathered so far from the hour and a half that I have played the game, your character is a bandit being chased by a ruthless law enforcement agent. Similar to the Arcade mode, you work your way through each area of the game and clear it out before proceeding to the next stage.
You play as one of eleven unique playable bandits including familiar Western folk heroes like Billy the Kid but also some characters that are not either from Western history or cinema. A cool feature is that each character has their own unique weapon and control scheme. Some of them require an Xbox controller, while others require a mouse and keyboard (or just a mouse).
All of the different styles of play bring something different to the table. You can recklessly wield a Gatling gun with the Xbox controller or you can meticulously fire a one-shot pistol using a mouse. It’s neat to see that they used these different approaches for each of the players. While it is definitely awkward at first getting used to each of these control styles, it makes the game distinct from other 2D shooters and potentially adds several hours of replay value.
Speaking of replay value, A Fistful of Gun is designed to keep you coming back for more. Even when you die — and you die a lot — the game gets you right back into the action. Adding friends to the mix will make things even more interesting. I have not had a chance to play the online co-op yet. There is not actually anyone that I have seen online so I am not exactly sure how that is going to work but I do know that it will support up to eight other players online and there’s also an offline co-op.
A Fistful of Gun plays a plays a lot like an old arcade space shooter with frenzied gunplay and fast-paced action. It’s a very straightforward game with the central premise to kill or be killed. It’s still on Steam Early Access but Devolver is coming out with a full release on September 24. In the meantime, be sure to check out some gameplay footage in the video above. Game Freaks 365 will have a full review in the weeks ahead.