Best of all, it seems to work. Levels start out as gentle assault courses filled with the odd fence to hop past, before throwing in prickly cacti, rolling boulders to avoid and explosive barrels to touch off, while every few seconds a herd of bison bound along the horizon, or a troupe of buzzards swing by overhead in a gentle arc, itching to be dispatched. The reticule is large and relatively smooth in its movements, while a handy six-shooter icon around the edge show you how many targets you've already selected. When you finally fire your shots off all at once, the supporting cast erupts in wonderful feathery tatters: there's a great tactile sense of run-down fairground side show to the effect.

Alongside the deadly wildlife you'll brush past, there are all manner of desperados and bandidos to riddle with holes. Some fire slow-moving bullets or lob dynamite sticks for you to either dodge past or shoot from the sky, and at rare moments when the Gunstringer needs to catch his breath, more protracted gun fights erupt as you take cover behind crates, line up targets and then risk a moment's vulnerability to send them thudding into the dust.

Bosses complete the picture, as the vengeful skeleton's list of wrong-'uns is slowly whittled down, one varmint at a time. Expect bright colours and unlikely designs, by the looks of it, with the first battle pitting you against Wavy Tube Man a villain constructed from pipes of garish fabric centred above a large fan with the second calling upon the mysterious Texas Fisherman. There aren't many other shooters out there that take their inspiration from the kind of things you find in a petrol station forecourt. Well, maybe Bulletstorm.

As with previous Twisted Pixel outings, it's all fiercely charming stuff, and a cluster of bonus trinkets to shoot and peppery taco power-ups to chew down on should encourage you to hone your racing line on subsequent run-throughs. With later levels promising everything from cattle stampedes to rideable horsies and even the odd 2D side-scrolling section, The Gunstringer's doesn't aim to be the most taxing arcade shooter you've ever played, but it should provide a pleasant teeth-rattling ramble all the same.

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Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Chris Donlan is features editor for Eurogamer. His heroes include Eugene Jarvis, Errol Morris, and Linus Van Pelt.

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