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PAX East 11: Hands On: Gunstringer

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If you're a regular reader, you may recall my recent complaints about the drought in Kinect game releases. Well, at PAX East 2011, I saw a few upcoming titles for the Xbox 360 add-on, but none were more impressive that Twisted Pixel's The Gunstringer.

You play as a marionette on a mission of vengeance against his old posse who has betrayed him and left him for dead. But because it's Twisted Pixel, it's not nearly as straightforward as that. No, you're a puppet, but there's also an audience. A live-action audience who applauds at the beginning of a level, and then again at the completion of it. And there's even a system that will give you a good/mediocre/bad/scathing review at the end of the level grading your performance! Just like the real stage!

The portion of a level that I was able to play through set the skeletal cowboy marionette against hordes of enemies along a desert road with Wavy Tube Man as the final boss at the end. You know, like those giant inflatable tubes with the arms you see at used car lots. At its core, The Gunstringer is a rail shooter, and he moves forward at his own pace. But you hold your left hand up as though you're controlling his strings, and can move him left and right and up to jump in order to avoid obstacles in this path.

The right hand is used to aim your six shooter. All you have to do is gesture at up to six different targets to select them, and then you pull your hand up to your shoulder to fire the bullets. It's surprisingly intuitive, and a heck of a lot of fun. During the battle against Wavy Tube Man, you hide behind cover, and use your right arm to tag as many targets as you can before using your left to duck out from behind the rock and then fire quickly before ducking back out of the way of his wavy arm smashing.

The Gunstringer still doesn't have a release date beyond 2011, but we here at the castle suspect that it'll easily be part of the Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade. Which means that hopefully it won't be too far off!

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