Cowboy Guns HD ($2.99) is a dual-stick shooter that exchanges fast-paced frantic action for a slower, more story-driven game. The resulting app is not flawless, but it has a lot to offer to the gamer who doesn't mind a little exploring between firefights.
Cowboy Guns HD tells the tale of “The Kid” and his quest for redemption as he faces his old gang. I found the story to be entertaining and a nice way to fill the gaps between action sequences. The other benefit the story gives to Cowboy Guns HD, is a feeling of uniqueness in the genre. Similar battles can be found in other apps, but none do as good a job of adding a story element to the game.
Exploration is another rather unique feature of the game. In order to keep weapons and armor upgraded to sufficient levels, a fair bit of time must be spent hunting down most, if not all, of the hidden stars scattered about the world. Another strategy would have you skipping straight into battle, but you'll find this increases the difficulty significantly, as you'll be out-gunned and without enough defenses to meet enemies head-on. This would be a viable strategy, but a much more difficult one to pull off successfully.
There are just a couple of things to mention about Cowboy Guns HD that felt sub-par. First, there seemed to be a lack of weapon choices. Perhaps the developers wanted to stay within the bounds of a traditional Western, as all of the weapons could legitimately be found in the time period of the classic Western film. Although, it was admittedly a bit of a stretch to carry around the Gatling gun by hand. Second, the art seemed slightly monotonous, as the game progressed. The environments did fit the Western theme well, but more liberal use of color would have been a welcome addition.
Overall, Cowboy Guns HD is a well-made dual-stick shooter that did an excellent job of combining the arcade and story elements into a tidy package. I could see future updates adding new weapon types, vaulting this app to the top of the pile and making it a must-have for fans of the genre.