The Gunstringer brings novelty to what is a novelty device
Kinect's vision of turning users into controllers starts to show its genre limitations around the time you spot the available lineup of titles at your nearest store. Developers for the tech have been continuing to tighten their death-grip on the mini-game model of game design. Rafting, balancing, bubble-popping, and tennis variations are some of the golden standards within the line-up, and rarely are you going to get major breaks from those tropes. Which is why The Gunstringer is such an odd animal in the context of Kinect.
For one, The Gunstringer seems to be made with a slightly older target audience in mind. This is an action-comedy from Twisted Pixel Games, a developer who has previously worked on 'Splosion Man. And it's a game that answers that single great question in development: what would happen if we combined Toy Story with The Three Amigos?
The game sneers at you for being left-handed, offering you a "Lefty mode" if you "suffer from left-handedness" and apologises for your general uselessness. Even its title character feels more like the star of an Internet meme than the hero of a Pixar film, regardless of the cartoony nature of the game.
You play a marionette skeleton and a Spaniard, and you've made your home in a Spaghetti Western-styled desert where you fight roaming gangs and hunt flocks of birds, slide behind crates for cover-based combat instances, find your footing around cannonballs as they roll downhill toward you, manoeuvre across 3D platforms, and time your jumps around strategically placed spikes - all with your hands.
Because in The Gunstringer, legs are optional. The Gunstringer imagines a world where Kinect titles don't require users to play their games standing. Instead it turns the game into a sitting-man's pursuit by mapping all the inputs to your hand gestures, letting you take control of the game from your couch.