App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Arcade games feel best when they feel easier than they actually are. Few developers these days understand this quite like BUN GUN, creators of Hoppenhelm and now Wild Bullets, a western-themed arcade shooter that understands this balance incredibly well. This snappy little game can make you feel like the fastest gun in the west only to tear you down to a dead man walking in a matter of seconds. It’s wonderful.
Slug and shoot
Wild Bullets feels like someone reimagined the arcade classic Sunset Riders for mobile. It presents a colorful version of the wild west as you move and shoot your way through all sorts of baddies.
Obviously, there are some key differences here. You play Wild Bullets from a top-down perspective and move your way “up” your phone screen to progress through levels. On top of that, the game has a unique control scheme where you can move from side to side normally using virtual buttons, but moving forward and backward is tied to your two attack buttons. Your punch attack moves your character forward, while shooting your gun moves you backward.
Gun for cover
In addition to the interesting movement mechanics, Wild Bullets combines other odd concepts together to both streamline the game and make it feel fresh. For example, there’s a cover system that lets you hide behind objects and avoid fire, but taking cover eliminates your ability to move forward or backward unless you punch the object a few times to destroy it. Similarly, there are power up chests you can punch to unlock for new kinds of guns, but they also have the added benefit of restoring your health.
Structurally, Wild Bullets is a lot like your typical arcade game, though it does have some roguelite elements. There’s a set level progression that’s divided by boss fights, and dying at any point will make you have to start over from the beginning. As you play though, you gather coins which you retain between runs. You can spend these coins on permanent boosts like character upgrades, or new characters who have different guns and powers, or on temporary things like items sold in shops you may stumble across on a given run.
Live free or nix ads
Wild Bullets isn’t a terribly complicated game, but it feels great because of its unique mechanics and interesting level design. It also has just enough variety in terms of its powerups and characters that each new run feels like an opportunity to experience something new without feeling like you’re on an endless grind to unlock everything the game has to offer.
The one thing about Wild Bullets that is truly annoying is its ads. If you play the game for free, Wild Bullets serves up ads between runs and can also prompt you to watch an ad to continue a run when you’ve died. Luckily, you can make a one-time purchase of $2.99 to unlock a character that will also remove ads from the game completely. For my money, that seems totally reasonable and worth it.
The bottom line
Wild Bullets offers up some fast, fun arcade action that is satisfying and challenging without ever feeling to punishing or grind-y. The only really bad thing I can say about it is that it has ads, but if you throw the developer a few bucks, that’s not really a problem. I recommend you go do that so we can see more games like Wild Bullets come out in the future.