Now try not to get confused here, but the next game my friend and I played was Shotgun Wizard. Previously we had played a game called Gun Mage so the fact that there were two games with drastically similar names was something of a comedy, like Dead Space and Killzone. Even the developers were joking around with each other. These were two dissimilar games however.
Controlling the eponymous shotgun wizard, players were confined to a side-scrolling room that was continually bombarded by skateboarders, babies on balloons, and bouncer-size men. The shotgun used had three types of magical ammunition that players could switch between on the fly. In fact, it was encouraged through the game’s scoring system. Getting kills by alternating ammunition increased the score multiplier. Not utilizing this tactic would result in lackluster scores.
Shotgun Wizard was a score attack game and my only gripe was with its controls. Movement was done with S and D or the arrow keys, looking was the result of moving the mouse left or right, jumping was W or the up arrow, ammunition switching was the E key, and shooting was done with a left mouse click. I never got the hang of moving left and right and also having to look left or right, so when it got hectic (and believe me, it did) I cratered quickly. Still, with enough practice, it was fun trying to outdo my best score.
After a brief experience with Greywater, my friend and I moved onto the game that I sunk the most time into – Gun Mage. It was a side-scrolling action game inspired by the likes of Contra and Metal Slug. The graphics were simple, but the gameplay reeked of its influences. It seemed pretty basic until I died enough times that Cameron Fowler, one of Gun Mage’s designers, clued me in on a cheat of sorts. Pressing the page up button filled the magic meter, which allowed me to combine a magical effect with a weapon. With about a dozen combinations, I had a blast experimenting with them and seeing their outcomes.
Even though Gun Mage only had nine screens, I spent a good twenty minutes to get through them all. I think I might’ve been the only person to do so at the show. Managing the stock of hearts I had well meant seriously paying attention to the two enemy types. Blue enemies appeared to have knives, only doing damage on contact, and beige enemies who were equipped with guns. Staying alive meant jumping over the bullets of gun wielding enemies and finding a weapon/magic combination that suited me.
The demo is available to play via the Dropbox link and through its Facebook page. Don’t forget about the page up button!