Cock And Bullet Story: 12 Is Better Than 6

“Did you gonna piss?”

My character, a Mexican outlaw, asks the question of a dead man in a privy. I stabbed him before he could whip his shooter out. Felled him before he could cock his revolver. The demo for 12 Is Better Than 6 contains a tutorial, some shooty bits and some stealthy bits. The shooty bits are great and the stealth bits are slightly tedious. The whole thing hangs together thanks to an eye-enslaving art style and the delightful tension that awaits between the revolutions of the cylinder.

The gifs on the official site make the game look fast and furious, but I’ve found that quick = dead. Control is with WASD for movement and mouse for aiming and shooting, but all of the guns I’ve used so far are single-action, which means they must be reset after each shot. Firefights tend to involve ducking into cover while bullets rain down and emerging to fire off a single shot while enemies are reloading.

Stealth sections are simple. They’re constructed so as to make a shootout all-but impossible, by placing enemies in safe spots or around corners, where they’ll almost certainly get the drop on the player character as he approaches. One bullet is usually sufficient to kill a target – your own avatar included – and there’s barely any space for experimentation or improvisation while sneaking from one enemy to the next, knife at the ready.

But shooting gringos is enjoyable. The game loves that word, “gringos”, and it pops up throughout the story and dialogue. The writing is either intentionally weird, in a semi-glitchy punk style, or the translation from the original Russian has left some oddities in the mix. A seemingly abandoned Indiegogo page for the game (no updates since it began on Feb 5th, flexible funding, runs until April 6th) claims that the plot “tells you intricate Mexican’s story about people, their lives in that long-ago time, and how those people tried to find their own meaning of life there…in a brightness of the New World”.

So far, I’ve stabbed a man who may or may not be about to piss and had all manner of abuse lobbed in my general direction. “Intricate” isn’t the word I’d use.

I’m not convinced I’d enjoy six hours of this top-down shooting and stealth, but I’m glad to have seen the demo. It’s quite a lovely thing, despite its rough edges and rougher language, and it really does look beautiful. Black, white and red all over.

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17 Comments

  1. edwardh says:

    At least on first glance, it looks like a reskinned Hotline Miami. Can’t say that I appreciate that.

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      JiminyJickers says:

      Heaven forbid that people may make a similar game. Thank goodness there is only one FPS and RPG game out there, wouldn’t want to have a choice. :P

      Seriously though, do you think that the Hotline Miami developers should be the only ones to be allowed to make that style of game? Seems a bit silly.

    • Arathorn says:

      Wasn’t Hotline Miami a reskinned GTA 1/2 then? Most art is people building on other artists’ work, the rest of all art is a reaction to other people’s work. There’s nothing wrong with that.
      In other news, the narrator from Civilization IV died yesterday. :-(

      • Bugamn says:

        I guess that the HLM comment also considers gameplay, which isn’t that similar to GTA 1/2 (by the way, Rockstar could put those on GoG).
        Personally, I don’t think that another HLM is bad, but the art as I see is confusing, I find it hard to identify the characters. All I see in that pic on top are three hats, and bodies that suggest direction but I have some problem distinguishing them from background. I suppose one of the hats is the player, but I can’t tell the difference between them.

    • klops says:

      Check “GTA” “Tapan Kaikki”, or “Bastard Operator From Hell”. Do you appreciate HLM still?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      That’s funny, my first thought was “At least on first glance, it looks like a reskinned Hotline Miami. FUCK YEAH, MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING.”

      I don’t understand the impulse that makes gamers go “I absolutely loved this game, therefore NO OTHER GAMES LIKE IT ARE PERMITTED TO EXIST.” Isn’t that sort of backwards?

      • Cerzi says:

        No comment on this particular game, but there is such a thing as a cheap imitation, and I don’t think people should be berated for legitimately criticizing games that fall into that category. Which is, I expect, at the root of the impulse you’re complaining about.

        • April March says:

          You shouldn’t decide whether something is a cheap imitation or an interesting new approach to a known concept just “at first glance”, like the OP did.

  2. Saarlaender39 says:

    Ooh,…looking good! Sounds interesting, too.

  3. megazver says:

    It’s getting crowdfunded right now on boomstarter.ru with 103% collected and 5 days to go. The get-the-game tier is two bucks.

    • megazver says:

      Oh and if they get two hundred more bucks, they’ll get to the stretch goal to pay for a proper english translation.

  4. Pointy says:

    When I draw concept art for a game it looks like this.
    I don’t in any way, mean this as a bad thing.
    Once I actually start on the textures proper, I just can’t resist the heady allure of colour..

    One day, when I am rich and famous, I will upgrade my intous pro to a cintiq.

    • Chaz says:

      And one day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll upgrade my Bamboo to an Intuos Pro.

      • Pointy says:

        I love my bamboo, still have it..Very portable.
        It’s a not-too-expensive way of testing whether drawing tablets are your thing.
        Do you use it?

  5. Morph says:

    Played the demo. I can see it could be a good game with some polish but everything Adam says is true including the charmingly bizarre translations (also my Mexican spoke Russian at one point). Enemies (and me) glitching into walls seemed a common issue.

    It is like Hotline Miami in that I suck at both.

  6. Jakkar says:

    Comparisons to Hotline Miami are unwarranted. This has none of its sense of speed or intensity, nor reactivity. It’s a pretty poor game, sadly, despite promising appearances. Enemy AI has neither speed nor depth, either of which can be interesting, but without which the killing seems… Merely a matter of predictable caution.

    No real variability in outcomes – in true Wild West fashion, whoever shoots first wins, and the one who shoots first is almost invariably the one who pops out on a target who isn’t alerted.

    Stealth doesn’t belong in a Wild West setting, I feel – from Desperados to the ‘irritating kid with the whip’ half of the original Call of Juarez, I’m not sure it has ever worked in a satisfying fashion. Subtle, fast, balletic gunplay, quickshooting priority-puzzles, ammunition management and complex environments work well, but the combat should be the focus, rather than avoiding it.

    Like Metrocide, there’s style here, and technical basics, but the fundament of gameplay is anti-fun, punishing indulgence in stylish gunplay and combat and incentivising boring waits in static environments while watching old-fashioned patrol routes slowly loop.

    No chaos spiral. No interesting consequences for mistakes.

    Being able to program a basic game is not the same as knowing how to make it fun ._.

  7. Pulec says:

    Looked quite fine at first, but when I got into first shootout the difficulty was probably ultra hard at the point, devs need to work on that. Plus the whole idea of cocking your gun before shooting sounds quite easy but in real situation it can be almost impossible to shoot normally, like you wold in Hotline Miami.

    Too bad you can’t hear the gun sounds properly that could help with shooting the gun better, it justs a lot of music and eventually a lot of enemies shooting infinite bullets like crazy.

    So far it indeed looks like a western style Hotline Miami, (WITH WEIRD CONTROLS), but it would be real cool if the game had some kind of rougelike mode (not everybody love that, so game mode) where the player would just have to survive in desert full of Latino-Hating-People. You would have to travel real carefully so your flask is never empty, both water or tequilla.
    But I doubt this game will head that way.