Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Preview: The Gunstringer

2:20 PM on 02.25.2011 // Max Scoville

Twisted Pixel is easily one of my favorite studios these days. With titles like 'Splosion Man and Comic Jumper, what they’re currently doing with videogames reminds me a lot of what Nickelodeon and MTV were doing with cartoons in the early nineties: making them audaciously weird.

When I first heard that The Gunstringer was a shoot-’em-up starring a bandito marionette that you controlled with the Kinect, I just went, “Oh, okay."

Because really, how else do you react to that kind of concept?

The Gunstringer (Xbox Live Arcade)
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
To be released: Spring 2011

The game opens with a live-action sequence of people entering a theater with “The Gunstringer” on the marquee in big letters. We then see footage of stagehands carrying a puppet up to the main stage, where he’s put down next to a fake tombstone and covered in dirt. Then, the curtain goes up, and this puppet -- now computer-generated -- is dragging himself up from the grave.

All this sounds very ghoulish and creepy, but I assure you, it’s done with quirky charm. This whole introductory scene is narrated, but since I was playing at a press event, there were about fifteen other loud noise simulators being played within the immediate vicinity. The Gunstringer is a classic revenge tale: our hero was a member of a Wild West posse, but was betrayed. Now, he’s back from the dead to seek vengeance on the other members. 

And also, he’s a puppet.

The lights come up and The Gunstringer drags himself into a sunny corral full of cacti and hay bales covered with beer cans, and we’re put through a painless little tutorial session on the game’s controls. Now, considering there is no controller involved, “controls” seems like the wrong word. Semantics aside, the game teaches us how to shoot things.

Hey you. Yes, you. Right there, on the computer reading this. Put your right hand out in front of you like you’re holding a pistol. Now, move it around. There, that’s how you aim in The Gunstringer. Now, hold your left hand up like you’re holding a yo-yo. (Or a marionette, if you’re familiar with the feeling.) There. Those are the controls. 

By aiming with your right hand, you move around a large crosshair shaped like a the cylinder of a revolver, or perhaps a ring of caps for a cap gun. When this passes over enemies, they become highlighted in red, meaning they’re targeted. By flicking your forearm up (as though a pistol’s recoil had moved it), The Gunstringer will quickly fire off rounds at these enemies. It’s like like dead-eye mode in Red Dead Redemption. Except you’re playing as a marionette. And you don’t have a controller in your hand.

Movement controls are equally simple. By lifting your left hand up, The Gunstringer will leap into the air. Moving your left hand from side to side will make him run to the right or left. At certain points in the game, you’ll take cover behind objects while enemies shoot at you, or hurl sticks of dynamite. While taking cover, you’re able to target enemies, but must blow your cover to fire. This entails moving your left hand left or right, and flicking your right hand up quickly.

I spoke with Twisted Pixel’s Jay Stuckwisch, who told me about other weapons, activated by different gestures, that you’ll see later in the game. One example he gave was if you make a punching motion, The Gunstringer will do a whirlwind roundhouse-punch-type special move. At another point, a man’s arm -- a live-action arm, I mean -- will enter the frame and squash enemies or put down explosives in helpful places for you. Jay mentioned that it becomes possible to control this mysterious Monty Python-esque hand.

After playing through the prologue tutorial -- which involved jumping over fences while shooting vultures and mountain goats -- I was treated to a nice training boss. “Wavy Tube Man” is a former member of The Gunstringer’s posse, his title being “posse secretary/events coordinator.” He is literally a wavy tube man, the kind seen outside car dealerships and furniture stores. To fight him, The Gunstringer hides behind crates and hay bales, ducking out to shoot him as much as possible without getting slapped by hiss wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing armtubes.

After defeating Wavy Tube Man, The Gunstringer produces a photograph of the posse, and crosses Tube Man out. Based on this picture, the posse’s other members will probably pose more of a challenge. A couple of examples would be the man with a mustache who looks like a robot, and the ancient sagely Pai Mei lookalike.

On paper, The Gunstringer is a simple on-rails Wild-West shooter. In the hands of the curious individuals at Twisted Pixel, however, The Gunstringer is a lot more. It looks like Team America: World Police crossed with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and doused heavily in some kind of tangy southwestern flavor-sauce. 

Photo Gallery: (4 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Max Scoville, Video Warlock
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
I'm Max Scoville, and I'm in charge of making videos for Destructoid. Videos is when you have a camera, but instead of just doing one picture, it does a lot of them, and there's also noises. ... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Omg i love the internet
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Iron Paladin avatarIron Paladin
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I can't wait to mute Niero. #NoRules #ThePurge
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
I spent all last night playing Day of Defeat: Source. If only Valve gave it even half the attention it did to TF2 or CS:S...
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Nearing Platinum status.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
THIS IS THE BEST EMAIL I'VE EVER GOTTEN HOLY SHIT
Parismio avatarParismio
Sheesh i played metal gear rising before and Platinum ruined the franchise.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Toonami is running a poll right now at [url]www.toonami.com/poll[/url] where one of the questions is which show you'd want un-cancelled. Oh, Teen Titans is included? That's curious...
SlyTAdvantage avatarSlyTAdvantage
"The Ravagers dropped the giant insects and waited for them to evolve ... it's clear. This is their plan from the start" -EDF 4.1 scientist So dragons are evolved forms of ants, spiders and/or wasps ....... what?
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
Every time I hear "I don't understand why people like _____ game", I get annoyed. Of course you understand, if you've listened to what those people were saying. You just don't agree, and that's A-OK. I HATE Twilight, but I understand why people like it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just tried playing the first Bayonetta game... it was really bad. Honestly I don't understand why Platinum games are so well regarded. None of them are really worthwhile.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
The first person I block is the person who talks shit about Platinum
Torchman avatarTorchman
Even though your waifus are shit
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
Finally, a blog that I can call my own, I feel accomplished somehow.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Gonna be honest; this really made my day.
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
I doubt I'll use it much but I'm totally fine with a block/ignore feature. Everyone has a right to speak, but I don't think anyone has a right to be heard. If this place played country music I'd want a mute button, basically :p.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Mall haul today (plus I split a BEAUTIFUL Star Wars Slave I with my brother). Any thoughts on Haze? Wanted to play it back when it came out and I had no PS3. For a dollar you can't go wrong!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
Gundy avatarGundy
Oh man. Those Next Gen transformations in Megadimension Neptunia are legit as fuck!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -