Published on January 25th, 2017 | by Andrewsarchis0
First Look – High Noon Revolver
Disclaimer: A preview copy of the game was provided to us.
Additional Disclaimer: Hex said if I didn’t start the article with “It’s high noon,” I’d be fired. It’s been real.
I have a love/hate relationship with shoot ‘em ups. I love them, but hate that I’m awful at them. It’s been a struggle of mine for as long as I can remember. That’s why I was hesitant to take on High Noon Revolver when the opportunity presented itself.
A 2D action shooter, High Noon Revolver features a myriad of the elements people know and love from the genre, including multiple playable characters, unique weapons, and waves of enemies all gunning for you, while sprinkling in some subtle changes here and there to prevent the side-scrolling shooter formula from getting stale.
Right away, upon launching the game, I was very impressed by the soundtrack. Combining the typical fast-paced, action game music with clean baritone guitars and other staples of wild west-themed music was a smart move and High Noon marries those two worlds perfectly. But a stellar soundtrack, though important, isn’t everything. What’s the actual game like?
The gameplay itself consists of run ‘n’ gun, shooter action, but rather than adding platforms you can occasionally jump up to or down from, the game is designed with three levels that span the entirety of each stage. While I was skeptical about this layout at first, I soon realized, while just a subtle change, it provides a nice variation from the standard side scrolling shooter. What I expected initially was something similar to Metal Slug. What I got, however, was something that felt, at times, like a horizontal scrolling shooter.
The three separate levels allow you to escape situations and dodge obstacles, but simultaneously add a certain level of challenge. I often found myself on the run, trying to get away from an enemy that was chasing me, only to be stuck with additional enemies both above and below me. I either had to turn around and face the enemy behind me or use my character’s special attack to take out one of the other enemies to create an escape.
Like other action shooters, High Noon features a cast of characters that each tout their own abilities and benefits. You start with two characters: Wesley and Chik’n. Wesley has your typical cowboy’s revolver and a special ability which creates an explosion when used, allowing you to take out multiple enemies at a time if used correctly. Chik’n, an actual chicken, on the other hand is much faster and has a shotgun which fires 3 projectiles in a trident-like pattern. His special ability? He will retreat back into an egg form and “rehatch” after dying. The only catch is that once you hatch and come back from the dead, you have a lesser health capacity. Die too much and you’re only left with one heart, meaning if you’re hit, you’re dead.
Based on the limited time I had with this game, it seems that you unlock characters simply by playing the game. During the numerous attempts I made to beat the first stage, I wound up unlocking three other characters: a cowgirl wielding a sniper rifle with increased range and homing missiles, a Geordi La Forge-looking son of a gun who totes a futuristic laser gun of some kind, and a witch who has a burst-fire weapon as well as orbs that follow her around and fire shots at nearby enemies. The difference in weapons and abilities shake things up and give you incentive to give someone else a shot if you’re having trouble with one character.
I’m not sure if the actual release will feature challenges to unlock characters or if you’ll need to beat stages in order to unlock them, but I found this method to be solid as is. Rather than needing to push through stages you’re not having any luck with, you’re rewarded with a new character simply by trying to beat the stage, which makes for a less frustrating experience all in all.
As far as the controls of the game, the intro screen recommends using a gamepad. Maybe I’m an idiot, but ten times out of ten, I ignore recommendations like this and head straight for the good ol’ keyboard and mouse. It’s less fuss and, depending on the game, it generally works just as well. In this instance, a keyboard and mouse felt like a completely viable option.
Ultimately, High Noon provides short, quick bursts of entertainment, with most of my attempts at a run lasting around three to three and a half minutes (because I’m bad). Fans of standard shoot ‘em ups and action shooters will surely have a good time with High Noon Revolver. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s got a killer soundtrack.
High Noon Revolver is out on Steam on January 25th.