Twisted Pixel lives up to their name and reputation by releasing a Kinect game that is not only humorous in a lowbrow slapstick kind of way, but probably one of the few Kinect games that actually has an intuitive and simple control scheme that works. Bottom line, this game is just plain entertaining.

The Gunstringer was the leader of an outlaw posse that decided to pack him with lead, and leave him for dead, but this old outlaw has such a taste for revenge that he has risen from the dead to take out those who betrayed him. Sounds like your typical old west third person shooter doesn’t it? There’s where you would be wrong son, this ain’t your pappy’s ol’ time shooter, this be a puppet show scrappy!

Twisted Pixel is known for not taking themselves seriously and their games are full of offbeat humour and this is no exception. From the moment the game starts, and the curtain opens, you are given a glimpse of the behind the scenes hijinks as well as introducing the live audience. Some of the funniest parts of the game are the audience’s reactions to the insanity that occurs during your performance. Don’t let the simple cartoony graphics, or the fact that you are controlling a puppet fool you though, this game has some riske moments that you may not want your younguns to see (lumberjack on gator foreplay anyone?).

As far as the control mechanics goes, it’s obvious that Twisted Pixel put a lot of thought into the controls. This is one of the best uses of the Kinect to date. The controls are simple, and effective without making you look too silly. Thankfully there is no running in place or flailing your arms around like a lunatic. Simple small movements of your arms are all that are required. You can even choose to sit down if you like. My only complaints are arm fatigue which is almost unavoidable and a necessary evil for this type of game, and the dual gun wielding scenes do not always track properly. Other than that though, the controls are spot on. Finally a Kinect game that does immerse you into the game as Microsoft has promised it could do.

The game is primarily a shooter, but it does have some platformer and fighting elements. For control, you lift your left arm up to raise the marionette, move it to the left or right to doge and quick upwards motion to jump. Use your right hand like you are holding a gun and “paint” the targets on the screen (up to six at a time ala six shooter) similar to the control mechanics used in “Child of Eden”. To fire your gun and put those lily lickers down, arch your arm up as though your gun just recoiled. That’s pretty much it.

The graphics are simple, and cartoony as any good puppet show should be. The sets are made to look like they were made out of cardboard and clay, the raging bulls have beer cans for bodies and the bosses are just plain ridiculous whether it be the Wavy Arm Man, LumberJack/Alligator Offspring, Big Busted Madam or the Oil Tycoon. Humour is a big part of the game and the graphics truly do add to the atmosphere. You can even call upon the hand of God to take out your enemy in some scenes which is very reminiscent of a Monty Phython cartoon.

Audio is also done very well. The music sets the tone, and although your character never speaks, the narrator more than makes up for it calling the play by play for the audience throughout the entire game. This rusty voiced old timer spews out more clichés than an 80’s action hero which does get the odd laugh out of the audience. Speaking of the audience, depending on how well you perform, you will get cheers, boos and laughs.

The show (or game) has four acts and four scenes per act for a total of sixteen levels. Each act can be completed in just under an hour so unfortunately the game can be completed in around four hours total. The difficulty builds at a very good pace as you progress, and never gets too difficult all at once, or remain too simple.

The Gunstringer is a fun leisurely stroll through spaghetti westerns that will appeal to anyone who appreciates good low brow humour. The game may be a bit too short for some, but the addition of higher difficulty settings, plenty of unlockables, multi-player, free downloadable content (Wavy Man Chronicles) and even a free code to download the full version of Fruit Ninja make this $39.99 title a great value and a game that I highly recommend.

  • Excellent use of the Kinect. Controls are simple and effective
  • Good story line with plenty of off beat humour
  • Great value. $39.99 gets you the Gunstringer, Wavy Man Chronicles DLC and a free copy of Fruit Ninja
  • Lots of achievements and unlockables (including behind the scenes footage) and power ups
  • It’s just plain fun
  • Arm fatigue. After about 30 minutes or so you will be ready for a beer, I mean a break
  • You can finish the game in around four hours total
  • Arm tracking in the two fisted shooting rounds are a little inaccurate
Quote: "Twisted Pixel lives up to their name and reputation by releasing a Kinect game that is not only humorous in a lowbrow slapstick kind of way, but probably one of the few Kinect games that actually has an intuitive and simple control scheme that works."
Reviewed by Jim Holiko | 11.21.11

Similar Games: The Shoot (6.6) | Fable: The Journey (7.6)


The Gunstringer


Twisted Pixel


US Release
September '11



Players 1
Co-Op 1-2
Kinect Required
Dolby 5.1
HD 480-1080p
D/L Content