Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Arcade, Action, Multiplayer & First Person
Release Date: 17th of April, 2018 (EU & NA)
Wild Guns Reloaded is a modern port of the classic arcade shooting gallery game from the SNES. While they didn’t update the graphics with hand-drawn art or 3D renders, they did smooth out the sprites and optimize them for widescreen presentation. There is also an option to adjust the aspect ratio and add scan lines, and I found the game more enjoyable at its original ratio with the scan lines turned all the way up.
To jump right in, Wild Guns is a three-button, third-person shooter where enemies pop up on a static screen in various locations and fire at you. You can move left and right, jump, and roll (while shooting). You target enemies by moving a cursor around the screen using the left analog stick, which simultaneously moves your character at the same time. You can shoot your primary weapon with Y, or use a lasso on certain enemies to freeze them in place. X uses your special weapon, and pressing B either jumps or rolls, depending on whether or not you’re holding down the Y button to fire. You can custom map the buttons, but this is the default setting. While learning how to properly utilize the lasso will be very beneficial, I wish that it was on a separate button from your primary weapon. While this isn’t a huge issue while you’re using Clint or Annie, it becomes very troublesome while using Doris.
Doris throws bombs as her primary attack, and while holding down Y acts as a rapid fire for the rest of the characters, it increases the amount of bombs that Doris throws at once when released. This is an issue with the lasso because if you’re trying to just throw one bomb at a time, you’ll often pull up your lasso with her instead of chucking a bomb. Obviously, this leads to a lot of situations in which you’re trying to get some damage in, but you pull up the lasso instead. This is especially frustrating when on boss battles where the lasso is super ineffective. I’d advise against using Doris unless you’re looking for a challenge.
Each stage is structured that there is a countdown timer, and you can choose to blast as many baddies as possible in the allotted time. When the timer is up, you will come up against a miniboss, and sometimes they bring minions along. After wiping them out, a big boss fight will happen, after which you will return to the stage select screen. I said earlier that you can CHOOSE to shoot up as many enemies as possible, because you don’t have to kill a single minion during the countdown timer. Instead, you can choose to jump and/or roll away from all of their attacks until time runs out, and then use your preserved health, lives, and special weapon to take on the miniboss and big boss. Special attacks don’t replenish after use, but the game does provide temporary gun upgrades akin to shoot ‘em ups, where you first shoot a package that floats around the screen, and then shoot the upgrade again to use it. Some of the upgrades are extremely powerful, and if you’re lucky enough to have one active during any of the boss fights, you can make quick work of them.
As is usually the case with boss fights, it is all about finding their weak spots and their patterns. At that point, it’s just a matter of learning when to fire, and when to dodge their onslaught of attacks. Each boss has their own particular strategy for defeat, one of which can be easily taken down by standing directly in the middle of the screen underneath it and firing away with the occasional dodge or jump, both of which render you invincible while in motion. Single and multiplayer modes both have Beginner, Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulty setting. Beginner mode gives you infinite lives if you’re looking to hone your skills or power through the game. Once you beat either mode in Beginner, Easy, or Normal, you will unlock hard mode and Boss Rush mode. Hard mode is definitely not for anyone that doesn’t want to dodge frequently and make liberal use of the lasso.
In addition to unlocking the harder difficulty modes, each successful completion of a difficulty level, will unlock new color options for each of the playable characters. With all of that in mind, Wild Guns was always best played as a couch co-op title with a buddy, and Wild Guns Reloaded adds two additional characters and allows for four-player action. While I didn’t get the opportunity to wrangle up three other players, I did manage to rope in a few co-workers to play two player with, and it was even more of a blast than single player.
I had a lot of fun with Wild Guns Reloaded by myself, but my co-op partner’s enjoyment hinged a lot on how much they already enjoyed difficult co-op shooters in the past. Players that prefer more modern style games weren’t easily won over by the throwback gameplay style, so try to find a retro gamer to take on the villains.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Natsume
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This post was written by sodamancer