Wild Guns Reloaded (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Gabriel Jones 17.04.2018 4

Review for Wild Guns Reloaded on Nintendo Switch

In the far future, everyone will be living in the Neo Wild West. There are going to be cowboys and robots. Six-shooters pack more ammo than M60s. See that trusty steed over there? It's actually a machine. These are dangerous times. Everyone lives in fear of the world's most notorious crime lord. With his army of mechs, he's already robbed Fort Knox, and has murdered anyone who dared to stand against him. In Wild Guns Reloaded, the four toughest guys and gals of the West have teamed up to bring this outlaw to justice, while crushing every bot that gets in the way. They are testing their mettle against the toughest metal that could ever be tested.

Why do people play arcade games? Despite the fact that they have existed for decades, it's still a question one is liable to find themselves asking. "To have fun" is an acceptable answer, but take it a step further. "To get a high score." Now, this answer gets right to the heart of the matter. Arcade games don't have intricate plots, father/son bonding moments, or emotional scenes constructed solely to garner awards. They tap into something more personal, more primal. It's all about the will to succeed in the face of unbelievable odds. The high score represents hours, weeks, and potentially even years of hard work and sacrifice. This competitive mind-set is what leads people to accomplish great things… in the arcades, at least.

From the first moment onward, Wild Guns Reloaded clearly establishes itself as an arcade game. Don't pay any mind to the fact that this was originally released on the Super Nintendo. The script is small enough to fit on a cocktail napkin, and the ending most definitely isn't worth the thirty or so minutes it takes to complete this gallery shooter. There's even a beginner's mode that grants unlimited lives, guaranteeing that anyone will see that the bad guy gets beaten. The real story here is the high score, and all of the struggles players go through to attain it.

Screenshot for Wild Guns Reloaded on Nintendo Switch

Gallery shooters are a pretty rare breed, and have all but been abandoned after the mid-90s. Back then, it wasn't uncommon to see titles like Cabal or NAM-1975. Nowadays, however, the only recent one that comes to mind is the indie darling, Bot-Vice. It's a tough genre to get right, because it demands so much of the player's attention. Not only do they have to gun down all of the enemy soldiers or evil robots, they must also ensure that the gunner they are controlling doesn't suffer the same fate. In keeping with the gallery theme, a reasonably complex scoring system also helps. Since it's possibly to fire practically everywhere on-screen, there tends to be hidden bonus items to shoot, or skill-shots that reward the stylish.

Before the game actually begins, players must choose between four playable characters. Clint and Annie offer what can be considered the most traditional style of play. They are nimble, versatile, and don't have any particular strengths or weaknesses. During each stage, they can pick up temporary weapons, such as lasers or machineguns to lay waste to the enemy. Bullet is a dog whose offensive capabilities are tied solely to his automaton buddy. While the drone will automatically track enemies in a large area, it struggles in scenarios that require fine aim. Also, the sentry is momentarily taken out of action if attacked. Doris fights almost entirely with grenades. As such, she doesn't need guns or gun-related power-ups. However, her slow walking speed can be a liability.

No matter the choice, there is a need to become acquainted with a slew of techniques, as they are all essential in conquering the Wild West. Electric lassos can slow enemies down considerably. Everyone has an invincible dodge-roll, as well as the ability to double-jump, both of which will see a lot of use. If getting out of the way isn't an option, then the heroes can shoot the enemies' bullets out of the air. Context-sensitive actions, such as throwing sticks of dynamite or swatting away anyone who gets too close, will also come up from time to time. Don't be afraid to use a bomb if things get out of control. It clears the immediate area of danger and buys a moment's respite.

Screenshot for Wild Guns Reloaded on Nintendo Switch

One thing to keep in mind is that Wild Guns Reloaded is aggressively balanced. Even something as seemingly overpowered as an invincible dodge-roll doesn't make the game too easy. In most cases, there are two types of dangers, the direct and the indirect. A direct danger is when a baddie is aiming squarely at the hero, before they let off a shot. Indirect dangers are spreadshots, explosives, and any bullets that just happen to be fired in the general vicinity. What's most liable to get the hero killed is what they don't see coming. Imagine some outlaw has Clint in their sights. Clint dodge-rolls out of the way of the bullet, but he immediately lands on an exploding warhead. The direct danger set him up to be killed by the indirect danger. In a situation such as that, Clint should have jumped straight up to avoid the bullet, or been faster on the draw.

This dynamic is part of what keeps this game so interesting. Players are obligated to monitor the entire breadth of the area they are in, mark all locations enemies are liable to spring from, and avoid being placed in situations where they have to gamble between the direct and indirect. This all has to be done while accounting for the limitations of the character they are playing as. Naturally, there will be failures. Since Clint and company don't have the luxury of health meters or shields, it doesn't take long for remaining lives to get chewed through. There isn't any value in "credit-feeding," either, because the ending is pretty lousy. It's better to just accept the "Game Over" screen and try again.

Screenshot for Wild Guns Reloaded on Nintendo Switch

The best arcade titles have a very cyclical level of challenge. As someone progresses through each stage, the game becomes progressively harder. When they lose the last of their lives, then they are going to start over. On the next attempt, instead of merely coasting through the easy stages, players are going to look for ways to add more points to their score. In effect, they are making things tougher on themselves.

In such a well-crafted gallery shooter, this mentality is embraced wholeheartedly, as there are a number of ways to earn more points. Gunning down adversaries in quick succession awards a combo bonus. Giant bags of money can be blown up, and the scattered bills are worth 1,000 points apiece, if they are shot out of the air. Some threats, such as rolling tanks, can be easily neutralised by destroying their cannons, but are worth far more points if they are completely decimated. All of these differing elements occur within seconds of each other, pushing the player's skill level as far as it can go. Oh, and try to avoid dying, because every remaining life is worth a substantial amount of points, but only when the game is completed.

The final result is a title that wouldn't look out of place in the golden era of the arcades. It's a lean and compact shoot 'em up that's consistently challenging and rewarding. Players have to use every tool available to them in order to win, and their worth is determined entirely by the final score. Online leaderboards for each difficulty and character-choice are included, so everyone has an idea of whether or not their best is good enough.

Screenshot for Wild Guns Reloaded on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

For gamers who still pine for the days of polished shoot 'em ups that leave nothing to chance, Wild Guns Reloaded can't be missed. It's proof that there will always be a place in the world for "thirty-minute videogames." Sure, it doesn't take long to reach the end, but the fun is in overcoming the impossible and doing it with style. The scoring system, while not ridiculously complex, does require players to make a lot of difficult choices. However, if they are willing to put in the work, they will soon discover that this awesome game will never let them down.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Definitely one of my SNES favs. I haven't touched the Reloaded version yet, but the Switch port makes me eager to do so.

Can't a fella drink in peace?

the switch port has some bonus features not in the ps4 edition.

a super easy mode with infinite lives and a boss rush mode... pretty much the definitive version of this game.

i really love this game.

Guest (guest) 21.04.2018#3

Do you aim by moving the left stick or does it have gyro aiming?

There's no gyro aiming.

( Edited 21.04.2018 14:43 by Gabriel PVJ Jones )

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