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iPhone Game Review: Westbang
      #34264 - 08/26/09 09:49 PM

iPhone Game Review: Westbang
Reviewed by LordGek

In the old west people often had to wear multiple hats, as it were. I mean, heck, you somehow ended up as the sheriff and banker in this town. You sit behind the counter watching the townsfolk come in to deposit their money (strangely, none of the legitimate bank customers bother to withdraw money) and, well sadly, more often than not bad men come in to try and withdraw ALL of the money over your dead body. This is not good.

Gameplay

This game would appear to be a typical tap shooter like many you may have seen before. There are three doors in front of you that will fly open at random intervals with good townsfolk or nasty bad guys, you know the drill?or do you? This game packs a powerful gameplay twist that, while simple to explain, will make the spazzy action stars out there squirm in their fancy cowboy boots. The gameplay twist I speak of? The simple fact that in the ol? west it was considered bad form to shoot a guy who hadn?t even pulled a gun on you. So there you are watching the doors when suddenly the skuzziest deadbeat this side of the Mississippi is standing in front of you. Is he here to open up a checking account? Not likely. You know he?s come here for no good but if you just blast him right as he walks in it would be considered in poor taste (and you?d lose a shiny badge), at the same time if you just sit there staring blankly at him he will eventually pull a gun out and blast at you (which also would result in the loss of a badge). Lose all of your badges and the game is over. So really the only thing you can do is WAIT for him to begin to draw on you and only then would your shooting of the punk is justified. If you just had the one door to manage this task might be manageable enough but you?ll need to keep your eyes peeled on 3-4 doors flipping open and closed with all likes of bandits and normal townsfolk. If this weren?t enough to keep track of, in all but the easiest difficulties you?ll need to keep an eye on your ammo as you?ll need to reload every six shots (or maybe sooner if you have a few moments to spare in between gun fights). Lastly you?ll occasionally see a crate outside one of your doors that you can try to shoot open for a random prize (or nasty trap). Every few levels you can play sort of a bonus game where you have a showdown with some of the town?s nasty bad folk. These feature a new twist in that: instead of drawing, some opponents will raise a white hanky in surrender (shooting a surrendering opponent, of course, will result in the loss of a badge).



So now that you understand the basics which of the game?s four modes interests you? There is the Good (nice starting difficulty that will even let you endlessly retry your last level with one last badge), the Bad (standard difficulty), the Ugly (starts you right off in the game?s hardest level), or Time (a tough mode in which the bandits can draw on you at ever increasingly ridiculous speeds)? Each game mode tracks its own local and global scores (although to see the global scores you?ll need to jump out of the game and onto your web browser).

Graphics

While the still images of the townsfolk and bandits are decent enough in their 2D splendor, don?t expect any amazing animation as most of the bandits seem to only have three different states (standing there unarmed, weapons drawn, or quickly falling to the ground in a clump).

Sound

The game?s sounds are pretty great. A good western soundtrack (although only for the Main Menu it seems) and all sorts of appropriate sound effects (gun shots, doors opening/closing, bad guys groaning in pain, etc.) in the game itself. It definitely supports playing your own iPod music if you so desire in the game.



Pros:
-A great pickup and play tap shooter with an intriguing (even if frustrating) twist.
-Saves your game state on exit.
-Local and global high score boards for each game mode (even if you need to go out of the game to see the online scores).
-Four game modes/difficulties to fit just the right level of challenge you?re looking for at the moment.
-A wide variety of baddies (21), each with their own personalities, quirks, and timing.
-If not sure you?re ready to take the plunge on the full version, just try out the free demo (link provided at the end of the review).

Cons:
-Waiting for the baddies to draw on you takes a while to get used to and can be extremely frustrating (I often find myself still just shooting instinctively as the door opens to a baddy and am docked a badge accordingly). While it?s hard to call this basic element that makes this tap shooter unique a con, it could frustrate some.
-The game has online scoring (yeah) but expects you to leave the game if you want to see it (boo).

Conclusion

This game hooked me a lot harder than I would have thought. That simple tweak of having to wait for the baddy to draw on you makes this game so intriguing and at times frustrating as it means you not only have to quickly sum up friend or foe as the door first opens, but still keep an eye on bad guys already standing in the doorway as you still need to be ready for what may show up at any of the other doors simultaneously. If even slightly a fan of clever tap shooters at least give the lite version a spin and see if you then NEED the full game for more.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: -3.5- Cartoony 2D sprites with minimal animation.
Sound: -4- The game?s music, while decent, is only for the Main Menu, but the in game sound effects are pretty dead-on and compelling.
Controls: -5- The controls couldn?t be simpler, simply tap on one of the doors to fire at whomever is standing there.
Gameplay: -5- The gameplay is so simple and complex simultaneously. You can never get lazy nor get too gun happy but instead must be ever vigilant and fire at just the right moment. I also loved how they not only keep adding new elements as you continued in any of the game modes but that, with the four game modes to choose from, you are bound to find just the right fit to the level of challenge you are looking for (a long easy game with endless continues or a brutally quick and dirty game).

Playing Hints and Tips:
-Read the tips before each level! As each successive level add new elements and opponents those quick blurbs before the level not only introduce your new opponents but give you a bit of a clue as to what kind of behavior you can expect from them (slow to draw, need to be shot twice, etc.).

-Get those bonus points! If you work it so you shoot multiple legitimate targets in rapid succession, fire on an opponent within milliseconds of drawing, or make it though a level without any mistakes, you can earn yourself some bonus points.

-Careful with those crates! While the crates can give you a big cash bonus or even a life, you?ll need to avoid the bomb and, as the crate takes 5 shots to open, it can act as a bullet sink so you?re left empty when a bad guy suddenly draws on you.

Game Facts:
Developer: Rake in the Grass
Release Date: May 22nd 2009
Version: 1.2 (OS 3.0 Tested)
Genre: Tap Shooter
File Size: 8.5 MB
Price: $0.99
Lite Version: iTunes App Store
Full Version: iTunes App Store


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DevilishlyGood
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34269 - 08/27/09 10:18 AM

That's definitely not cool that they make you leave the game to view the global hi scores.

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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: DevilishlyGood]
      #34271 - 08/27/09 10:28 AM

Yeah, I agree. It's possible the game engine doesn't allow in game scoreboard. Some free or cheap engines take that out so that the developers will upgrade.

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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34329 - 08/31/09 05:43 PM

I can only hope they'll address this in an update assuming they're still actively supporting the game.

You need to at least check out the lite and I'm sure you'll want more!

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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: LordGek]
      #34337 - 08/31/09 10:57 PM

Confession: every time you guys recommend to download a game, I actually do it. And I'm glad that I listened to LG about this game. It's so simple but so addictive!! You will definitely want the full version once you tried it.

Thanks, LG!




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MTR iPhone Game Reviews


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34338 - 08/31/09 10:58 PM

Oh, I never thought that I'd hate the guy who draws too slow, but he messes me up!

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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34345 - 09/01/09 11:03 AM

Heck yeah!

It seems so counter-intuitive that the slow drawing guys can be a much bigger threat than a guy who has his guns drawn from the second you open the door!

To me it's all a matter of the division of your attention. If the second the door opens a baddy has his gun drawn you can shoot him and be done with it. With that slow drawing twit you're forced to keep an eye on him while all sorts of new customers and baddies come and go. Ignore him while dealing with other threats and he WILL eventually shoot you (once he gets around to it), shoot him immediately you'll get docked a badge, but, finally, if you really just focus too much on him somebody else will shoot you in the meantime!

Thankfully MOST of the baddies have a definite rhythm you'll eventually get down, even this slow drawer, so you'll eventually learn to just intuitively know "I'm free to ignore that guy until right about now, oh, he drew finally? BLAM!" As this might make things too easy for you, don't worry, later there are thugs with randomized timing as well as good ol' classic "You won't know if this guy is a thug or customer until he draws on you or pulls out a bag of cash."

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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: LordGek]
      #34346 - 09/01/09 12:44 PM

So far they are only guys pulling guns on you. Do women ever pull guns on you?

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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34348 - 09/01/09 01:51 PM

Good question, not sure. I haven't seen that yet but there are some 21 different bandits, so who knows.

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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: LordGek]
      #34349 - 09/01/09 02:11 PM

It would be stereotyping if women don't pull guns on you. I mean, have they not seen Bad Girls?? (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109198/)


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MTR iPhone Game Reviews


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Westbang [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34351 - 09/01/09 03:29 PM

Word from the developer:

Females are only visitors of banks there, so you must not shoot them


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MTR iPhone Game Reviews


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