Developer / Publisher – MIROWIN
Price – US $9.99 / EU €9.99 / UK £7.99
Release Date – August 25th, 2017
Input – Tracked Motion Controllers
Play Area – Seated, Standing
Store – Steam
Reviewed on – HTC Vive
Guns n’ Stories is a wild-west themed wave shooter, imagined through the nostalgic stories of a grandfather’s past. While it’s an overall fun and well-designed game, it’s very generic and grows annoying throughout. Centered around a retired cowboy’s desire to seem cool to his grandson, you must hunt down two bandit gangs that kidnapped his girlfriend.
You must blast your way through six maps, using a variety of unique weapons, each with exciting alternate-fire options. In addition to dual revolvers, which are used throughout the game, the player is intermittently given tools such as a tesla-rifle, a gatling gun, a dynamite crossbow, and many more. Many of them are held with two hands, making their use more immersive. There are skill-based kill accolades, motivating the player to replay levels and achieve ever-higher scores. Enemy attacks are varied, with different caricatures shooting you, throwing dynamite, or using melee attacks. The game’s two boss battles are also well-designed and exciting.
Despite its uniquenesses, Guns n’ Stories is a generic wave shooter. It’s a fairly good one, but doesn’t do too much to separate itself from all the similar games on Steam. Enemies swarm directly in front of you, moving between a set of cover-based locations. You remain stationary, making the game feel like a shooting gallery. While the variety in enemies keeps action exciting, I couldn’t help periodically getting bored by the redundancy in gameplay style. Since it’s so simple, this game’s user interface is easy to navigate, with overall straightforward gameplay. Guns n’ Stories also has decent, cartoony graphics and runs well. Explosion effects, and body ragdolls, are all very satisfying.
This combat is extremely difficult, killing you at a moment’s notice. Enemy bullets can be shot back, or knocked away with your gun, making Guns n’ Stories a physically-active, skill-based game. There are a wide variety of difficulty settings that have a dramatic impact on gameplay; “normal” mode was a standard challenge, while “hard” was tough enough to prevent me from beating the first boss. The only issue with this is that higher difficulties noticeably increase the health of enemies, which makes dealing with large crowds almost infeasible at times.
With “stories” as part of its name, Guns n’ Stories puts emphasis on a cutesy, cartoony style of narrative. In between levels, the player listens to a grandfather talking about his past as a wild-west cowboy hero, after his curiosity-stricken grandson found his old revolver. You watch a brief cartoon about what’s happening, while eating popcorn. The story inserts itself into gameplay as well, with grandpa regularly making one-liners and explaining new weapons to his grandson. This can get extremely annoying, however. These statements are not only repetitive and overused, but often overlap, with the protagonist saying multiple things at the same time.
Strangely, some specific statements are blatantly offensive, using antiquated caricatures of Mexicans with the protagonist pointedly mocking their nationality. One quote, making a Brokeback Mountain reference, also felt tastelessly homophobic. I realize these may be intentional cliches about wild-west films, or racist grandparents, but these jokes felt out-of-place and awkward.
Split into two, three-level acts (with a third act listed as “coming soon”), Guns n’ Stories took me around two hours to complete. This was, however, largely due to the game’s difficulty. Upon death, the entire level restarts. Still, it has a solid content value, also including an “arcade” mode that lets you replay a level with any weapon. The only other difference in this mode is that the grandfather no longer makes annoying statements, which is really something I’d have preferred anyway. Nonetheless, between both game modes, Guns n’ Stories has a well-rounded amount of content and solid replayability.
What would I pay for it? A generic, but overall fun and exciting wave shooter, I’d probably pay $10 for Guns n’ Stories VR, which is its retail price. Its story elements can be annoying, and it doesn’t do much to stand out from other wave shooters, but I nonetheless enjoyed my time played. I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys wild-west themed shooters.