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Game Review #178: 12 is Better Than 6 (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Ink Stains Games


Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade 

Release Date: 03.05.2019 Price (at time of review): $9.99

Buy 12 is Better Than 6 from the Nintendo eShop here.

How The West Was Played & Then Won

Western films are one of my favorite genres. It’s what I was raised on because it was my dad’s all-time favorite genre, particularly any and all western films starring John Wayne as the Duke is his gold standard. As an adult now, I love spaghetti westerns, with the Clint Eastwood films being my own gold standard, and the devs at Ink Stain Games must have some of those same influences. They took to crowdfunding through Kickstarter to get the game finished, and it met its goal of £15,000 to bring it to life. So, to know the devs were bringing their game 12 Is Better Than 6 to the Switch—a spaghetti western twin-stick shooter—I knew it was time to saddle up and check it out! 

As the name states, it’s better to be judged by 12 than to be carried to your grave by 6, so it sets a precedent that you will take out anyone in your way. You play as protagonist Juan, who has no memory, as you break free from the slavery of the coal mines. Now on the warpath to find out who put you there, you’re killing everyone that gets in your way. You meet a slew of crazy and kooky characters that offer some laughs and help string together a story of betrayal and murder that Juan must face along his journey to get back to where he needs to be, facing his own demons along the way.

Hang ‘Em High or Shoot ‘Em When I Find Bullets

When the game kicked off I got some vibes of some of my favorite games like Hotline Miami, which got me pumped. The first thing I noticed was the view of the gameplay. You can’t look around, which was starting to drive me a little crazy since your character dies immediately from one shot. So, I would work to be as stealthy as I could. You always have a knife, and you can stealth-kill enemies that are asleep or simply have their backs to you. However, I was constantly getting shot by some guy off-screen who was flirting with his horse and just happened to see me, though I didn’t see him.

This led to me dying a lot more then I should have.  The controls work like most twin-stick shooters, with you using the left trigger to lock on and cock your pistol or rifle, and then the right trigger to shoot. The lock-on button was another thing beyond the control of the map that really drove me crazy, as it seemed to have a mind of its own and helped kill me quite often. When you run out of ammo while shooting, you have to manually reload, and you also have to look around and loot the dead bad guys for ammo, which, again, is a manual process. 

There Will Be Blood... So Much Blood

The controls sometimes felt like they wanted to hold me back, but I still had fun with this one. Rolling through the different locales, I’d run into someone that’d push the story along and give me a reason to have to kill a bunch of guys, like a barber shop owner who would be bullied to pay enforcers, so you kill all the enforcers and get free haircuts for life. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of game you’re in for, then I don’t know what to tell you. But killing everyone in the level wasn’t always the only option, as sometimes I’d just knife the unsuspecting hillbilly and sneak around until I could get to the moving-on point. Plus, you always had to be so careful as to not die, as it would throw you back to the beginning of that level. 

The soundtrack was a little western with a sprinkle of rock, which wasn’t bad and felt in place—though something more along the lines of a spaghetti western would’ve fit perfectly, but that’s a small gripe. The visuals are a black and white, hand-drawn art style, almost like pen on paper, with the only color being the red blood, of which you will see quite a lot in this game. The characters, when chatting, are designed well—you just don’t see much, as everything is top-down—and overall, the art style was great, except sometimes the environments looked so similar since there was no color to show the difference. Another very nice detail was just that: the actual detail taken. If you run into a bucket, it spills, and water runs out. These little details are all over the game, showing the devs worked hard to make it look the best it can.

It’s A Wrap!!!

Whether I was on a runaway train shooting cowboys off horses or fighting Indians using a bow and arrow, I was having fun, but the lack of looking around the map and the lock-on button having a mind of its own would sometimes make my deaths feel a little cheap. But, even when I would die, I would always want to jump back in until the end. Though I don’t see a lot of replay ability, the price point being so low and the game having a great art style—and a lot of fun gunslinger action—might be just the thing you are looking for.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy 12 is Better Than 6 from the Nintendo eShop here.

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