Luckslinger Review – A Fist Full of Bad Luck

Posted Jul 17, 2015
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  • Developer/Publisher: Duckbridge
  • Platform: PC
  • Review code provided by the publisher.

Sometimes games come out of nowhere and strike you in the back of the head with how fun they are. There are few games that at first appear like a school project and then quickly come across as a masterpiece in disguise. Luckslinger might just have luck on its side.

Trade luck to save your life in Luckslinger

This cleverly designed pixelated western is more than meets the eye. It’s a mashup of old-school Western anti-hero goodness with hip-hop. Start it up and immediately your ears are filled with some of the sickest beats in a video game. It’s not by an orchestra, but Rik van Ravenswaaij takes classic western sounds and remixes them with a distinct hip-hop sound. If you know what spaghetti westerns are, then you’ll really enjoy the music. A clever commenter told us that it almost resembles a 2D version of Red Dead Redemption.

You start out as Luckslinger, our silent hero with a duck on his shoulder and stubble on his face. You just came across a luck bracelet that has the lucky ability to provide help you This guy is serious and means business. Someone stole the towns lucky charms and you’ve been contracted to track down the six infamous criminals that took them, and get them back. Luckily, you’ve got your trusty duck by your side. That duck isn’t just a piece of the scenery either. He’s a useful little sidekick that’s more like a partner.

That duck is great too. He can confuse enemies by flying over to them and covering up their eyes so they start shooting in the other direction. He’s also useful for retrieving your thrown knife when it ends up flying over the bandit and falling into the hole behind him… Even better, he’ll carry your bullion that you find every now and then. Why would you want to weight yourself down with gold when you have a retrieving ‘pack duck’?

The real focus is on the unique luck mechanism that has a real effect on the game. You go through the world collecting shiny orbs of luck. As you collect those, they fill up slots on the luck bracelet you found earlier and the more you have, the higher the chance that positive things will help you throughout the game.

Have luck, will travel.

That luck translates into either mathematically random events throughout the levels or as a user created luck bubble. At certain points luck will determine if something bad or good will happen, the corners of the screen will turn either red or gold/yellow. In one instance, just a one slot can determine whether you get waylaid by a shovel bearing gold-digger (literal) or getting some sweet loot. Creating a luck bubble involves pressing the right button (default is C) once you have enough luck saved up. That little bubble of blessings makes what was once random a total assurance now. It’s pretty fantastic.

Bullets will avoid you, yours will fly towards your adversaries center mass, things won’t fall on your head and your little buddy will even bring you health every now and then. Luck would have it that luck is quite important!

As a platform game, it’s even on point. Full on classic retro platform madness is inside. It feels good to coordinate a well timed sequence of attacks with a few snap rolls and 360 no-scopes (aren’t they all though?) in the process. There is a large variety of weapons that you can obtain and the boss battles are so far varied and all pretty unique. It’s a lot of fun.

It can be intense, and also very hard. The three hearts of health just don’t seem like enough. Timing is everything is this. The saving system makes it very much a challenging game too. There are save points throughout the levels that you pass by, and you’re only allowed to die four times before having to completely redo the level. Because of the difficulty (even on the easiest setting) this can be unbelievably frustrating. Not quite rage quit frustrating, but it doesn’t invoke good feelings. Oddly, it draws you back in… Playing the levels over and over, and over again actually doesn’t seem like much of a chore once you cool down a bit. Must be the music.

Be advised that the one caveat is that if you’re a platform fan, you’ll love it, but if you aren’t, it might get a little frustrating.

Luckslinger is clever, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it adds something new in a very fun and playable way. Just looking at the screenshots or artwork doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s fun in a very tangible and intangible way. And the replay value is still undetermined, though if I was brought into it despite being frustrated, that’s a good sign. Luckslinger is the epitome of how great the indie community can be. Duckbridge is an incredibly talented group of individuals.

Luckslinger is $12.99, but there’s a discount bringing it down to $11.04 until July 23rd.

Check out our video review below.

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