Freeware Garden: The Beat, The Step, And The Cowboys

She's right, you know.

Ah, yes, a cowboy duel on a virtual tabletop complete with beats and a step sequencer. It’s what we never knew we wanted and what Team Pyros divined we all needed and wonderfully wrapped up in the excellent The Beat, The Step, and The Cowboys.

It is an immensely enjoyable one-of-a-kind action-strategy-rhythm game for two players that people could, if people were incredibly literal, describe as an RTS. I mean, you do indeed get to make choices in real time and under tremendous pressure and there are definitely tactical elements to it, but only playing the thing will help you understand what an excellent and brilliantly pulled off idea this is.

You have mere seconds to rhythmically input four actions for each of your turns and watch your cowboy move, shoot or place bombs while his adversary is doing the exact same thing in an attempt to murder him. This┬áresults in a hectic, clever and highly entertaining game that’s easy to pick up and rewarding to master.

It’s a game of swiftness, wits and prediction that is a simply perfect way to kill a few hours with a friend.

What’s more, it’s a game that delights in mocking the fighting-over-a-girl trope in the funniest way possible. Also, one that’s still evolving and adding more features, such as the recently bolted on single player mode to help you coach yourself to glory.


  1. Gertjan says:

    Cool game. The board games Roborally and River Dragons have used the same idea before (simultaneous action / movement programming), but I have not seen it before in a computer game.

    • Bugamn says:

      I have seen some Scorched Earth clones that only send the shots after all players have made their choices. Does that count?