Luckslinger – What We Think:
Luckslinger is impressive; side-scrolling shooters aren’t exactly prolific these days, however this one not only nails the classic overall feeling but also goes the extra mile to innovate and add something new to the genre. Luckslinger combines classic side-scrolling action with some light adventure elements and an interesting luck system to add some intriguing variation to the challenges you’ll face throughout the game.
Luckslinger features a gun-toting cowboy as its protagonist, but expecting generic western concepts here would be unwise. Developers Duckbridge have successfully married the Wild West with hip-hop through the game’s soundtrack and the main character’s predilection with collecting vinyl records. This mixture of concepts makes for a refreshingly offbeat but welcoming world that is appealing despite the difficulty of the game.
Luckslinger’s particular brand of action has you gunning down villainous cowboys as you travel the traditional 2D path of left to right. Platformer-style hazards litter the environment, and enemies will deploy a variety of weapons to take you down.
A Fistful of Shamrocks
The luck system is even more intriguing; killing enemies can sometimes yield luck points which are temporarily stored on your bracelet. The more luck you have, the higher chance that beneficial random events will occur. For example, if you fall in a pit, but you have a lot of luck stored up, a platform may spawn to save you. If you have low luck, enemies might spawn more often or rocks may fall on you from above. Getting injured will also cost you luck, so playing carefully is crucial to retaining your good fortune.
Luck can also be spent to provide short bursts of almost guaranteed good fortune. Altogether, it makes for a system that employs gameplay mechanics reminiscent of trapformers when you’re running low on luck and reverses this when you’re stocked up. The added tension of watching out for additional threats when you have no luck is juxtaposed well with the similarly tense feeling of trying to keep your luck when you’re fully charged up.
Luckslinger’s use of minimalist pixel-based graphics helps to support the unusual style of the game. This basic aesthetic won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s certainly functional when it comes to conveying the gameplay while showcasing the unique mechanics at play. The music is also important to this vibe; hip-hop-styled tracks frame the action of Luckslinger and help to cement its genre-bending style.
Luck Gives It Pluck
Altogether Luckslinger is a strong example of the side-scrolling shooter genre that manages to set itself apart through its odd combination of spaghetti western settings and hip-hop music and its truly unique take on the the luck mechanic. While Luck has been a stat in many RPGs, it often isn’t as successfully implemented.
Here, actual gameplay repercussions based on the player’s ability to accumulate it are clearly present. As a result, the appearance of threats and rewards hidden throughout levels actually feel like the random work of chance. This alone is quite an accomplishment and makes Luckslinger worthy of your attention.
Watch the trailer for Luckslinger below: