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Review: The Gunstringer (Xbox 360)

A question exists and answering it may potentially diminish the usefulness of this entire review, but it's important to answer before anything else: "I own a Kinect. Should I buy The Gunstringer?" The quick and simple answer is yes, without question, buy The Gunstringer right now. There is no reason to pass Go—you weren't getting two hundred dollars anyway—and The Gunstringer stands as one of the best Kinect games available. Best of all, it's only forty dollars and comes with a code for Fruit Ninja Kinect.

So, how about the actual game, you ask. Well, The Gunstringer manages to control rather well with the occasional hiccup. Controlling the movement feels natural and is mostly responsive—jumping via jerking the arm can be a tad finicky. There are many moment requiring accurate movement and in most situations, I never felt as if I was being unfairly punished by Kinect—the game is very forgiving and I never had to restart any level. The act of shooting is simplified to an extent that keeps it fun without frustration; simply motioning across enemies to target them and a flick of the hand automatically shoots every target selected. The only time shooting becomes somewhat erratic is during dual-shooting sequences. Both hands turn into rapid-firing machine guns (essentially) and the cursors sometimes get confused as to which hand is which.

When it comes to Twisted Pixel games, gameplay is only half of the picture. Their humor and charm sits at the top, making them one of the funniest studios currently working—Comic Jumper may still be the funniest game I've ever played. The Gunstringer does not fail to induce laughter and I would only ruin the game to discuss specific moments. Being as vague as possible, there is a moment when a bald man reacts in such an over-the-top, exaggerated way that I couldn't help but feel internally the way he looked externally. And if you don't already know, The Guntringer mixes in live-action bits here and there, adding a somewhat self-aware and cheesy vibe to the entire experience. Every moment of live-action is lovingly amateur, and that is all complimentary.

As expected, The Gunstringer is packed with extra content—such as level commentaries, behind-the-scenes videos, modifiers, etc—and thankfully there exists the ability to buy as much as you can in a category by hovering the cursor over a button. I don't know about you, but I hate navigating through menus with Kinect, so not having to buy every item one by one is an absolute blessing. And by "store," I mean the in-game store where you buy extra content with money earned in-game.

At its core, The Gunstringer is a solid game packed with content and a great sense of humor. Does it control perfectly? No, but it controls better than most Kinect games and it can even be played sitting down or with a second player. The Gunstringer is a no-brainer for anyone who owns a Kinect and is looking for a good time. One last note: the music is unsurprisingly awesome and unless you hate yourself, you'll grab it here for free—click 'Downloads.' And don't forget about the free Mad Dog McCree-inspired DLC: The Wavy Tube Man Chronicles. There is nothing to be said about the DLC, other than it's one-hundred percent lovely for those who get it.

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