A Fistful of Gun on PC
Ah, the Wild West. A land of lawlessness, opportunity, and crazed railroad barons building tracks to Hell, prompting shamans to raise psychotic gunslingers from the dead to stop him. At least, that’s the idea in A Fistful of Gun, developer FarmerGnome’s take on the genre. Players take control of one of eleven unique characters, cutting a path of vengeance and blood across the dusty plains. With several game modes and plenty of action, let’s take a look at the Spaghetti-Western arcade frenzy.
A Fistful of Gun is a unique title in many ways. The most obvious and difficult to adjust to is the fact that, on top of possessing special skills, each character also has their own control setup for play. Some characters require the use of either a gamepad or keyboard/mouse combo, while others can be played with either. Even within the input style, each of the eleven playable gunslingers has some unique qualities to how they’re used, and it takes a considerable amount of practice to get the hang of them.
While I can appreciate the distinctive flair that A Fistful of Gun is trying to create with its variable controls, it ends up creating a confusing experience that requires swapping between input devices and trying to remember how to actually use any given character. It’s a nice gimmick in theory, but the practical side of it plays out much less cleverly than I imagine was intended. Players can, of course, simply find a character that matches their play style best, but then they’re missing out on a pretty deep roster of curious possibilities.
Once you’re past A Fistful of Gun’s interesting take on gameplay mechanics, it can be pretty fun. The game plays as a frantic top-down shooter that can be approached alone or with up to eight other players in local and online multiplayer modes. Along the way, players will face a slew of Western-themed enemies and racial stereotypes including bad-apple Sheriffs, bomb-toting Mexicans, and magic arrow armed Native Americans. The action, once it begins, is pretty non-stop, and you’ll have to stay on your toes to avoid the onslaught of bullets, arrows, and explosions if you hope to press onward.
From a style standpoint, A Fistful of Gun is rock-solid. From the first frames of intro material to the dying breath of each attempt, the game oozes a campy, pixel-happy look and feel that’s consistent and well-polished. While there’s the quirky underlying mechanics to work through, players who’ve found their character fit will have plenty of bullet-blasting, tumbleweed-blowing levels to work through in either Story or Arcade modes, or hop into the action with friends to take down the hordes of foes that stand between you and your revenge.
Altogether, A Fistful of Gun is a stylish and fast-paced game that’s got plenty going for it, yet suffers from some lack of consistency. While the unique spread of characters and controls could be an innovative spin on things, it ends up distracting from the otherwise-solid play and creates needless frustration. Beyond that, though, there’s certainly still something here for top-down action fans to eat up, and online play with friends is a frenzy of mostly-fun insanity. For $12.99 on Steam, I can’t say it’s exactly far overpriced, but holding out for a sale may be the way to go if you’re not ready to wrestle with the confounding control design.
• Great pixelated look and style.
• Confusing, inconsistent control schemes.