Time to don your cowboy hat and boots!
Blast your way through the bloodthirsty critters of the Wild West in this explosive 4 player co-op shooter, Scalpers: Turtle & The Moonshine Gang from A Sweet Studio.
There are 3 gun-slinging bounty hunters to choose from, each with their own special animal ability (such as the skunk stink bomb attack), and a number of different guns to trial, giving players the freedom to pair a primary and secondary weapon of their choosing for maximum carnage. Traverse a vibrant and dynamic western setting fraught with peril to defeat waves of enemies, barge through chaotic objectives, and capture the dastardly wanted crime bosses to progress, but beware it is more challenging than the cartoonish style lets on.
One of the biggest draws to this title is the difficulty, for even though my gang could barely clear normal mode there are three more levels to this beast! Be prepared to die a lot, but each time players are given the choice to change characters, weapons, or the difficulty itself to re-strategise and plot the next move. Or just charge back into the fray with katanas and watch the blood fly, whichever. Each weapon has its own appeal and caters to different gaming styles, such as the machine gun (my weapon of choice) for mowing down varmints with little precision, unlike the revolver that packs a bigger punch but a lot less ammo to pour out. Then there is the secondary weapon, acting as a less violent aid to the campaign, such as a much-needed healing ability, but after defeating bosses upgrades are unlocked for all weapons and characters as well, so there is always more to play for, especially if you are a bit of a completionist. I would have liked more of a 'tech tree' here to really ram home the customizable nature of this game, to make the ultimate character who fits your play style, but this is still a great addition and gives the game more replayability.
The game controls well using the basic WASD keys for movement and mouse for targeting and more importantly shooting, even to the point where using a weapon affects the players' motions. Holding down fire on the machine gun will slow down your character, whereas swings from the katana thrust them forward in mini speed boosts. I love this game mechanic as it gives more weight to the movement and provides yet another option to consider when choosing how to approach the next obstacle. The levels themselves are brimming with hazards, try not to wipe out your friends with explosive barrels, unless you're that guy, and more than once I found myself trapped on the scenery and at the mercy of my much larger foe. Not only do teams need to fight through enemies, there is also a huge element of teamwork in the map objectives, specific areas where players need to complete a task together before moving on to the next area. Personally, this was one of my favorite aspects as we had to devise tactics on how to tackle the challenge, but every time inevitably ending in an adrenaline filled chaos of running around screaming.
Meeting the Challenge
Speaking of which, the bosses are something else. Playing through the first level it was a disaster with so many bullets it was hard to tell which way was up, however, the game surprised me when the second boss we faced was totally different with a largely Bomberman vibe to the setup. Unexpected but definitely not unwelcome, and really worked to break the game up and make the final bosses seem much more unique like the bounty hunters, not just in moves but the entire battle arena. I am now eager to see what the rest of the game has hidden away beneath its hat. Although one mechanic that does seem a bit on the unfair side is the occasional cool down when a character is slain. Mostly they can be revived straight away, but if you are that bad there is a thirty second cool down, and when 3 are dead with 1 left running around like a headless chicken, there is a timer as well before game over. A lot of times we were defeated by the death clock tolling before any of our cool downs had ended, so left no chance to be revived, but I guess the answer is to get good scrubs!
There are some terrific character designs for this game, a huge amount of detail being put into each bounty hunter to beef them up for the insane world they live in, and the art style itself is an awesome blend of pure cartoon violence, with a true western soundtrack to have anyone tapping their foot while not hammering the trigger. It certainly does the job of setting the scene as soon as the game opens, feeling like a bad ass cowboy ready for a sunset hell.
So grab your crew and dive into this insane multiplayer, see if you can survive the harshness of the desert without 20 deaths under your belt, and go all the way in Scalpers: Turtle and The Moonshine Gang!