I‘m fresh off playing my first two hours of Luckslinger, and though I’d like to still be playing it, I had to come let you know just how rad this spray paint tagging, b-ball shooting spaghetti western is. Luckslinger is a hardcore platformer with tight and addicting game-play, and has a theme and style that, while great-looking, never takes itself too seriously.
Though perhaps not a spaghetti western by the original definition of the term, Luckslinger’s record-scratching, hip-hop influenced sensibility definitely sets it apart from a traditional American western game. You play as Luckslinger, a character that is specifically designated to “be you”. And even if you aren’t a cigar-smoking, bearded, African-American man, I implore you to step into Luckslinger’s cowboy boots and see life through the eyes of this badass of the old west as he takes down whoever needs taking down.
Graphics are as pixely as they come, and though we see a lot of that sort of business these days, Luckslinger’s graphics take on an almost self-aware irony in that the player is occasionally treated to an extreme close-up of a character’s featureless, blocky face as if there is something to make from it. It’s hilarious, especially when Luckslinger randomly has a cigar sticking out of his square, brown face. And music-wise, the game takes its cues from the bass, drums and jazzy samples of a hip hop vinyl record, and fits right in with the urban swagger of Mr. Luckslinger.
Playing Luckslinger is deceptively simple, as quantitatively there are not that many actions at your disposal. But this isn’t Metroidvania. You will not be getting a new move after every section of the map that you only end up only using on a handful of contrived puzzles. You shoot, roll, throw your knife, jump and reload. Simple, right? Yeah except that the game is hard as hell, just like it should be. (What, you think being a grisly gunslinger is easy, kid?) But next to all that shooting and dodging, I actually left out the one element that truly makes this game unique. The luck!
Luckslinger is a dude that seems to be very much at the mercy of his environment, and it all comes down to how much luck the man has picked up on his journey. If you have low luck, a windmill might just decide to fall on you as you walk past, or a farmer might dome you over the head with his shovel for catching a glimpse of his daughter in the window. And if you have good luck, some of those bullets flying at your head might in-explicitly make a hard turn into the sky instead of into your skull. It’s pretty cool, and you can even give yourself a luck boost when in a pinch if you have any spare luck to use.
Oh, and I almost left out my favorite part—Duckbridge. Yes, that is the name of the company that made the game, but it is also the name of Luckslinger’s pet duck! Duckbridge is your faithful companion during your missions and can come to your aid in several ways. He might land on an enemy’s head, distracting them. Or other times he finds you hearts to rejuvenate your health. And if you toss your knife too far, he dutifully picks it up for you and brings it back. He’s pretty much the cutest thing ever, and the best friend a hardened anti-hero could ask for.
If you’re a fan of games that are pixely, western, and/or platformers, I’ve got your next purchase for you right here. The only thing I have to warn you about going into this one is that the difficulty is fairly high. If you get frustrated by many repeat tries then keep in mind that this is quite a tough game. But if you are good at platformers and love a challenge, then by all means jump on it.