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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Quick draw

Product: Outlaw | Developer: Flying Wisdom Studios | Publisher: Atari Inc. | Format: iPad | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Outlaw iPad, thumbnail 1
The most alluring arcades as a kid were those big bold light-gun games with elaborate plastic peripherals and vivid 3D graphics.

The kind that would generally kill you off within five minutes, thus wiping out that week's paper round money over the space of an all-too-brief Saturday afternoon.

Of course, it's pretty tough to replicate these experiences on a smartphone or tablet, but Atari's trying to nail the spirit in Outlaw.

Simpler times

Indeed, the original Atari Outlaw was a light gun arcade game from way back in 1976. It then got converted to the Atari 2600 console.

That's enough of the history, because Outlaw on iOS is a rather different beast. It's still a simple Wild West-themed blaster, but it incorporates a number of modern smartphone-happy elements.

Outlaw eschews Major Mayhem's more direct take on the arcade static shooter - where your finger is the gun - in favour of a rather more consoley control system.

You direct your gun sight via a virtual control pad in the bottom-left of the screen. This takes some getting used to, as a small slide to the right with your thumb translates to a large movement for your gun.

In actual fact, the difference between the two could do with being greater - at least on iPad. The movement required to move the gun sight from one side of the screen to the other on Apple's tablet is so big that you'll end up using lots of little swipes to complete the job - or using your forefinger instead.

Gun control

Once you're comfortable with the controls, Outlaw's gameplay is actually quite good fun. Dumb, shallow fun, but fun nonetheless.

Enemy types vary in toughness, both in terms of their movement and their hardiness, so you need to learn to prioritise. Each has a steadily rising gauge that indicates when it's going to shoot, and you have to factor this in along with everything else.

Successful gunplay comes down to a couple of factors. For one thing, headshots count, so your own accuracy is important. For another, the gun used can make all the difference.

Seven shooter

Outlaw works in a familiar freemium system of upgrading and purchasing new weapons using a virtual silver coin currency system, with the ultra-valuable gold bars being used for outlandish special weapons.

Atari deserves commendation for its delicate handling of this model - it's a good way into the game before you feel like you woud really benefit from splashing some real cash on some new guns, and normal progression through the stages gives you ample coins for souping up the range of standard guns.

While you'll need to plough some of this money into more ammo for your guns, this is cheap, and sharpshooters will also be able to snaffle some up for free within the levels themselves.

Outlaw won't win any awards for depth or sophistication, then, but its entertaining gunplay, considered upgrade systems, and well-judged in-app purchases make for an entertaining quick blast here and there.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 19 November 2012
Outlaw shoots first and asks questions later, but its entertaining brand of arcade gunplay and sympathetic approach to IAP make it strangely refreshing
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