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17

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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Adam Smith

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