Vigilante Showdown, available for iPhone and iPad from the iTunes App Store, is a western themed shoot ‘em up where the objective is to shoot down as many bad guys as possible while defending ‘Poptown’ from bank robbers.
You are presented with a static western scene, and bad guys will randomly appear and shoot at you, taking away some of your health if you are not fast enough to shoot them first. You do this by simply touching them, which uses up one of the six bullets in your gun. When your gun is empty you can touch it to reload all the ammo in the chamber. You can reload at any time, even if you have only used a couple of bullets, and there is no limit to the amount of times you can reload.
Things are complicated somewhat by the appearance of innocent townsfolk, who must not be shot, otherwise you lose even more of your health. There is also a very rare ‘heist’ that appears and must also be shot on sight, triggering a mini game.
You can earn gold as you go, which can be spent on minor upgrades to your weapons and health.
Here, straight from the developer, are the app’s best features:
+ Poptown has been overrun by bandits. As the last noble gunslinger in town, take up arms and defend what’s yours.
+ Dish out frontier justice across the quiet desert or the tranquil forest. Keep an eye on the bank and protect it from attempted heists. Bandits are constantly trying to raid the bank and steal gold from the vault. You must stop them!
+ Fight wave after wave of vile villains and earn gold from the grateful townsfolk. You are said to be the best shot in the west, but will a lone vigilante be enough?
+ Players earn gold in-game to upgrade their health and weaponry, thereby earning more gold per kill. Cash can be spent to unlock additional levels and rid the entire frontier of bandits! In App Purchases are available for those who are eager to experience everything Poptown has to offer.
Vigilante Showdown is incredibly simple. Now that is not a bad thing, but I do feel that there are a couple of little things that could be done that would improve the game dramatically. Reloading should be far slower than it is, which would create a little tension and thinking in the gameplay. Simply making it take longer to reload than it takes an enemy to fire after appearing would make you have to decide when to risk reloading. As it is, it takes a split second and you end up reloading instantly after every enemy killed.
Secondly, there should be more interaction with the backgrounds, so bullet holes in the walls after a miss, barrels to shoot, etc. If the player was punished by reducing the gold for damage it would add another simple element to increase the connection with the player and the game.
Lastly, the enemies really should move. It is far too easy to kill them standing still when you only have to touch them, and even the simplest of movement would add some much-needed challenge to proceedings.
Now, if it seems that I am being overly harsh and critical of Vigilante Showdown, it is because I can see the potential here for a really addictive little game, if only some tweaks were made. I actually liked the game, and the included Game Center leaderboards and achievements added some extra replayability to the title, and I loved the wanted posters.
The characters are really well designed, and the dying animations are spot on, and there is a jolly feel to the game that is both appreciated and welcome. I just wish there was a bit more interaction and depth to the gameplay; the bank heist works well and there should be more things like it.
I really hope that the developer takes the criticisms on board and takes the steps needed to push this one to the next level. As it is, it is an enjoyable way to pass a few minutes at a time and is well worth a look for free.