PAX East is always a whirlwind of sights, sounds and smells. It’s easy to get lost in the grand melee of the show floor. Weather delays had me feeling pretty down leading up to our trip to Boston, but stopping by Devolver Digital’s booth was the shot in the arm I needed.
The first game we tried out was the top-down western themed shooter, A Fistful of Gun. Lone developer Paul (also known as FarmerGnome) kept us motivated as we tore through levels of moving trains and open prairies with righteous fury.
A Fistful of Gun sets itself apart from other twin stick shooters by offering up 11 playable characters each with unique weapons and play styles catered specifically to different means of control. That means you and your friends can play from the same PC, or online, with any combination of game pads, keyboard and mouse.
Both Joey Davidson and I were working with controllers for the demo. His character focused on slow but powerful charged attacks, while mine sprayed volleys of hot lead from a minigun. Paul methodically worked the mouse, controlling a wagon full of gunslingers with RTS-style movement commands.
With just three players in the game simultaneously (up to nine are supported), the action got out of hand fast. I had a hard time keeping track of where all the bullets were coming from, but the short level design made dying a little less punishing and often hilarious. Environmental hazards and wild animals are just as deadly as opposing enemies in these scenarios.
Adding even more wildness to the game is the upgrade system. This allows you to use all the whiskey you’ve collected from slain enemies to select new enhancements between levels from a randomly generated list. As long as you stay alive, these upgrades continue to carry over. Penetrating bullets, riding on horseback for faster movement and a free hit point, x1000 damage multiplier, and explosive ammo: they’re all game.
You can imagine how quickly A Fistful of Gun gets crazy. It’s an all-out arms race vs. the progressively difficult level generator. Make no mistake. You will lose eventually, and you will love every second of it.
More game modes are coming soon including arcade, story, and a wild-West quick draw arena.
You can look for A Fistful of Gun on Steam later this spring. Also, do yourself a favor and follow @FarmerGnome on Twitter. To tide you over, you can play an early build of the game over at Paul’s Indie Games. We’ve post some screenshots below.