E3 2015: Do You Feel Lucky? Play ‘Luckslinger’

I was rooting for Luckslinger during its Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. Unfortunately, this upcoming 2D Western title didn’t draw the attention required for full funding. Developer Duckbridge were perhaps a bit shaken but not ready to give up on their game. Instead, Luckslinger has remained in development since March and was even playable in IndieCade’s E3 area. As I took a shot at the game I found that it’s still a great concept and as such I’m glad to see it wasn’t abandoned due to a failed crowdfunding campaign.

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Luckslinger’s core concept is one of “luck.” Players control a cowboy as he moves through the 2D environment, killing enemies, avoiding dangerous animals, and (hopefully) surviving unfortunate circumstances. These circumstances include things such as a windmill crashing to the ground right as you walk under it, or platforms disappearing seconds after you touch them. Seems a bit unlucky, doesn’t it? That’s the whole point. Many things in the game’s environment are set to harm unwitting players. It can all be attributed to lack of skill or luck, but this is definitely a game that you can’t simply race through and expect to survive.

But there’s not just tons of unfortunate things to snake past. You can also gather luck, which allows for supremely lucky things to occur. For example, at one point in Luckslinger’s demo I was faced with an impressively wide chasm. Normally, it would be completely impossible to jump over. However, I had just grabbed a bit of luck beforehand. So, upon the descent from my final jump, I activated luck and found that a platform spontaneously appeared right at the last moment. Had the luck not been activated (as I mistakenly did prior), then the platform would never have cropped up.

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There’s more to Luckslinger than just luck, too. Players also need to be expert gunslingers. Players are equipped with a revolver and unlimited ammo. With that said, there’s still a need to actually reload — and that takes a bit of time. So, you’ve got to ensure that you don’t run into a group of enemies because they’ll probably get you once you’re stuck reloading. Instead, battles feel more tactical than most action titles in that you need to dodge their bullets, count your own, and pump the enemy full of lead. Sometimes luck even plays into battles as I realized when one enemy’s bullets suddenly began weaving in the air. It was hard to dodge and utterly ridiculous, but in a fun way.

All of this ignores the duck pal that stick with you throughout levels. He’s basically meant to aid in different circumstances, such as picking up stray bullets. I’ll have to admit I didn’t notice the mallard much due to my intense focus during firefights. Not only that, but I had to ensure the environment wasn’t about to set me up with something super unlucky. Luckslinger deserves attention for the unique systems it brings to the table, as well as its sense of humor. It’ll be out on PC on July 16.