As Luck Would Have It, Luckslinger is On the Switch – Switch Review

There's more luck in this Luckslinger review than there is in a bowl of Lucky Charms. Stolen from the people of Clovercreek. On the Switch... NOW!

Feelin’ lucky, punks? Luck would have it that you can now play Luckslinger on your Switch. But hold your horses, you dirty varmint – what the eff is Luckslinger, and what’s a Switch?

Luckslinger is a 2D retro pixel art gunslingin’ adventure from 2Awesome Studio (Rainswept and Lost Wing). In the game, you play famed bounty hunter… ok, he doesn’t have a name. You’re mindin’ yer own business when you meet a dyin’ fella who tells you to go to Clovercreek. Upon reachin’ the beat-up ol’ place, the drunken sheriff asks you to find his Lucky Charms as bandits gone taken them.

I’m sure you’re as tired as reading these apostrophes as Imma typin’ them. Basically, these bandits have stolen the good luck charms of the town, and now they’re down on their luck. They ask you to retrieve them and bring in the outlaws one-by-one, dead or alive (read: dead) and in the process, make some coin as bounty hunters are wont to do.

Luckslinger Switch Review - Bullet time
Bullet time. Source: PR

Barebacking the sheriff’s horse, Jill, you head out of town on an adventure to hunt down these criminals by shooting them with your pistol or lobbing a deadly knife. Note the singular as you have to pick it up each time you throw it. However, you do have a companion, Duckbridge (coincidentally, the developers here), who’ll help you out as a knife caddy.

The chap you meet at the beginning of the game hand you over a bracelet that has an ominous power to it. This bling allows for the luckslinger to use his luck (L and R) when he might need it most. Such as falling down a chasm, an invisible platform will appear to his rescue and preventing some leg breaks, or perhaps deflecting some incoming bullets? As luck would have it.

A note on the bullet side of things, it’s pretty enjoyable, like one of those carnival games with the bent barrels. You can repeatedly shoot straight, but the bullets can take off, hitting elevated enemies such as birds, or gunmen on towers. Firing each bullet has the same grace as The Man With No Name as the bullets fire in a swift succession of one another until your barrel is empty.

Reloading is one of my favourite mechanics of the game. Holding Y will refill the chambers one at a time, but if you’re interrupted, they’ll remain empty. With the numerous platforming sections and bullets coming in at all angles, it can feel nigh on possible to reload, but in a masochistic way, I enjoyed that. Do note that this could err on your patience levels as it makes the game ridiculously difficult in places, and I’ll admit I wasn’t smiling all the time.

Luckslinger Switch Review - Lucky
Lucky Strike. Source: PR

Naturally, Luckslinger is lucky but not immortal. He’ll have several lives and health points and, upon death, will either return to a checkpoint or the start of the level, depending on the difficulty you set at the beginning. You can collect hearts to replenish health, get bonus lives through purchasing with the gold you find, gambling and mini-games such as roulette, and you even have an evasive roll to dodge those falling obstacles and boast a bit more sustainability.

Visually it’s between Custer’s Revenge and Red Dead Redemption 2. Erring more on the first. Like, a lot, only without the racism, brutal nature and all that other gumpf. Despite the pixel art visuals, Luckslinger is heavily stylised, in a good, knowing sort of way with beer-chugging and grinding, but not the level-up kind. The dialogue can be a bit ropey, and visually too, with gaps in the sentences, making it quite ugly in places. But between loading screens are these pretty witty title cards, making up for it in suave.

Fusing the old with the new isn’t groundbreaking, but it works really well here; playing a Western with a hip-hop flavour. Perhaps I mentioned (or thought this aloud), it’s a bit like the anime series Samurai Champloo.

Luckslinger Switch Review - Snow joke
Snow joke. Source: PR

I’m not going to backtrack on the sentiments made in the past. Pixel art isn’t my bag, baby and have grown tired of it – especially on the SwitchLuckslinger hasn’t entirely changed my mind (I’m not anti-pixel art), but the aesthetics here make it look more like a port of a game from 30 odd years ago, and it works. It’s clear to see what’s going on, and even with a lack of facial features, the characters have some great expressions.

The gameplay is straightforward enough and doesn’t require a thesis to explain. It is worth mentioning that the luck system defines actual luck as when you have it, brilliant. But when the enemies come at you thick and thin, and you haven’t got any luck left, the game can be pretty brutal, and no matter how cool it may be, it can be pretty testing.

Remember to breathe, chug a few more beers, and stay clear of that roulette game – regardless of how lucky you’re feeling. I was trying to shoehorn a ‘down on his duck’ comment, but not sure when it could be used. Ah… Well, what is done cannot be undone.