We face the zombie apocalypse in the wild west, in this turn based strategy game
Before I begin please take note that this game is in Early Access and aspects of this review are subject to change. Many thanks to Live Motion Games for providing me the game!
Now if you have read some of my reviews you probably know that I am more of a racing/action/RTS kind of person so taking on a turn-based game is definitely a new experience. Of course, the only 2 other turn-based games I have played are XCOM Chimera Squad and Gears Tactics (mainly because it's from the Gears franchise so of course I'm going to play that) and now I'm taking on my third turn-based game, as a game reviewer it is important to take on games you wouldn't normally play and look at them from a completely different angle and that's exactly what I'm going to do.
Let's start from the beginning, what is Gunslingers & Zombies? It is a humble turn-based game where you are in the Wild West with cowboys and taking on hordes of zombies that have overrun your small town with the objectives to rescue surviving civilians, protecting buildings in your town and looting for more resources to assist you in your survival. The first chapter, which is the tutorial has to be one of the most chilled and simple tutorials I've ever experienced and that is a really great thing because there are quite a few mechanics that you need to get used to but the tutorial stages help you understand these mechanics and walk you through them while letting you play them out, I think more games could use this as a great example to introduce players to numerous mechanics and that is how the game starts for the first few chapters.
You'll find yourself hopelessly and hilariously outnumbered on most occasions so for these instances you need to be really smart with how you position your players because each of them has different weapons (some have numerous) but something I really never knew would be a thing is your ammo is limited! That's right, a turn-based game with guns and enemies where you can actually run out of ammo and with my luck, I only realised this when I was on my last survivor surrounded by 4 zombies.
The selection of weapons between your survivors is definitely varied, going from revolvers to shotguns to rifles and even knives, which with my luck I have fallen back onto my knife numerous times and has saved my butt more times than I can count. Each weapon has more ammo than others and for some weapons after a certain number of shots you need to reload, which then uses an action point so if you have walked a certain distance during your turn and you realise that you need to reload, you've potentially screwed yourself over and made your game a lot harder. The weapon that I have fallen prey to this the most is definitely the double barrel shotgun, which if anyone has played a game with guns......ever you know that a double barrel shotgun only has the capacity for 2 shots before requiring to reload. Each weapon being specialised for different scenarios. The revolver having 6 shots that do medium damage from medium to close distance, the shotgun doing serious damage from close range since it spreads the shots having the possibility to harm numerous targets at once, the rifles have great damage from long range, potentially one hit kill if it's a headshot so its wise to keep your marksman units back to cover and then the knife. Do not take this weapon for granted. 95% of the time the knife will seriously damage if not kill straight away your target but don't forget in any turn-based game the horrible possibility that makes you slap your forehead in shame or frustration when it happens and I think you all know what I'm talking about, the word that we all hate. Miss. Yes, you can miss and it can happen whenever. No matter what weapon but needless to say mainly dependant on the weapon so if you try to use a double barrel shotgun from long distance, not only will it definitely miss but you'll look like an idiot doing so. You can actually miss with the knife....you know, when you are right next to the zombie and when you miss the knife attack that is potentially fatal because that is usually your last stand in a bad situation.
Each level always feels unique but also puts you on your toes and the first missions really show this off the best. Such as how to rescue civilians, grabbing loot and also moving forward while shooting up buildings that spawn zombies constantly until you go inside that building and kill any zombies inside (its basically a short cutscene so you don't use up all your action points in doing so). This game really makes you think when it comes to your actions and strategies, some of your units have the option to heal team mates with bandages, which are limited so you need to make sure you only use them when necessary and on the most injured units, you also have the option to shield your unit, this doesn't make you invulnerable, all this does really is make you tougher so for a turn you can take more damage but lose less health, but this only protects you for one hit so if one zombie hits you one turn in front and then another to your left (just an example) the first hit will be decreased, the second hit will be full damage so think before you move any units in and check your surroundings first.
The controls are nice and slick, I found it really easy to get used to all of the options straight away, the HUD isn't overwhelming and the feel of the game is nice and welcoming. The graphics style of the game is rather humble and a mix really, it is kind of like Minecraft had a baby with the guests from games like Planet Coaster/Zoo. It is really nice and I'm a big fan of the art style chosen for this because you don't see it that often in turn-based games.
I'd say right now my only criticism of this game is sometimes it feels too slow paced. You can find sometimes that if you are moving up and there are not many zombies it can kind of drag on a little bit, same with the soundtrack. The music does not really fit the scenarios at all, so you could be fighting off about 6 zombies and the music is rather chilled and doesn't really suit the environment and can kill the vibe sometimes.
The price for this game is definitely a more than reasonable price. Currently £4.79 (convert it to whatever your region currency is) but remember what I said at the start, early access so the price could change in the future when its an official release title but I'd recommend picking this up. Its not fast paced like other games but its still a nice and humble turn based game nonetheless.