Gameloft’s latest Xbox Windows Phone release Six-Guns is a free to play game. Of course it must be monetized somehow – in this case via In-App Purchases (IAPs). Six-Guns actually offers a wider variety of things to buy than many free games, which can be confusing (or off-putting) to new players.
We’ve spent ample time with the game as we prepare for our upcoming review. And we’ve also spent a little cash in order to put those IAPs through their paces. Read on to learn how to which premium purchases might be worth your coin, plus some encouraging news about cloud saves.
Six-Guns’ soft currency is gold, meaning players can earn large quantities of it through normal gameplay or grinding. Completing missions and killing enemies during missions get you gold. Missions are repeatable, so while they start with modest payouts, eventually you’ll earn up to 1,000 gold for completing them.
Gold can be spent on several things:
- Guns: Dragon Revolver, Double-barrel Shotgun (3500), Revolver Sniper Rifle (5000), Dual Guns (8500), Longshot Repeater 1887, Assault Pump Shotgun (25000), Tesla Gun (35000), Impaler (65000), Witch Impaler (150000), Flak Cannon (150000), Demon Thrower (150000), Doom Bringers (450000), Gatling Annihilator (500000)
- Clothing: Outlaw set, Mexican set, Gunner set (22500), Hunter set (71000), Witch Hunter set (partial - 28000), Machinist set (partial - 36000), Gunslinger set (partial - 46000)
- Horses: Florida Cracker Horse (350), Morgan Horse (3500), Spanish Mustang (9500), Black Steam Horse (50000), Quarter Horse (65000)
- Ammo: Gun Ammo, Rifle Ammo, Sniper Ammo, Shotgun Ammo, Werewolf Slayer Ammo, Railgun Ammo, Tesla Gun Ammo, Demon Disks, Cannon Gun Ammo, Gasoline, Bugs, Defiler Ammo
- Saddle Bag Upgrades: Single slot, 10 slots
One of the first things you’ll want to buy is a Saddle bag upgrade. Otherwise, you’ll have a tough time carrying around ammo and especially collectibles. The first bag upgrade isn’t too expensive, but each subsequent slot goes up in price.
You’ll start to earn gold at a decent rate once you reach the higher mission levels. But if you’d rather not wait, buying some gold via IAP and getting the 10 slot Bag upgrade can make things much more comfortable early on. The $9.99 purchase of 33,000 coins will cover 10 slots if you haven’t bought too many slots already.
Note that the $19.99 ‘Chest Full of Coins’ purchase appears to be broken. Hopefully Gameloft will fix it in an update.
Sheriff's Stars are the hard or premium currency, meaning they mostly need to be bought via IAP. Players earn one medal every time they level up. On very rare occasions, quantities of 1-3 medals can be won for free in the daily lottery.
Stars can be spent on:
- Guns: Lawmaker Revolver (15), Lee Navy Bolt-Action (20), Sawed-off Shotgun (25), Railgun (35), Sniper Gun (35), Cannon Gun (45), Eagle-Eye Sniper Rifle (50), Triple-Barrel Terror (55), Hand Cannon (75), Scythe (120), Crucifixator (285), Flamethrower (300),Werewolf Slayer (400), Defiler (450)
- Clothing: Business set, Duelist set (44), Sheriff set (110), Rogue set (130), Witch Hunter set (partial - 55), Machinist set (partial - 85), Gunslinger set (partial - 89)
- Horses: American Warmblood (3), Appaloosa Horse (10), Standardbred Trotter (25), Mechanical Horse (150)
- Healing items: Healing Elixir (1), Great Health (2), Panacea (3),
- Ammo: Fire Stakes (1), Flak Cannon Ammo (1)
- Lottery: Bronze Bullet Chest (5), Silver Bullet Chest (10), Gold Bullet Chest (20)
- Gun upgrades: Any gun can be fully upgraded instantly with medals. Some individual gun upgrades also cost medals.
- Skip Missions: if you’re having trouble with a mission, you can pay 5 medals to skip it. Be careful not to skip missions by mistake!
- Respawn: During a mission (or even multiplayer matches), you can pay medals to respawn.
Obviously some of the things that cost stars are a big waste – namely respawns and healing items. I also recommend against skipping missions. You’re better off coming back to a mission later on, after you’ve leveled up or bought better equipment.
Gun upgrades are a tempting way to spend stars, but only do so if you’re using one of the most expensive guns in the game. You don’t want to burn stars on a gun that you’ll outgrow in time.
Playing the Lottery can actually be a fair use of stars. The Gold Bullet Chest only pays out premium items, with the Swarm Gun being the best reward. The Bronze Bullet Chest offers a Sniper Gun (35 star value) and the Silver Bullet Chest offers the Submachine Gun and Scythe (120 star value).
Before you spend stars on a premium item, consider…
Clothing, weapons, and horses are also available as themed packs. These packs cost dollar amounts rather than stars, and they can be a better value than buying items separately. You’ll find the Packs under the chest icon in the Shop.
- Starter Pack ($4.99): Dual Guns, Revolver Sniper Rifle, Florida Cracker Horse, Outlaw set
- Bandit Pack ($8.99): Longshot Repeater 1887, Appaloosa Horse, Mexican set
- Browncoat Pack ($14.99): Assault Pump Shotgun, Spanish Mustang, Gunner set
- West Legend Pack ($29.99): Railgun, English Bloodhorse, Hunter set
- Law-Enforcement Pack ($44.99): Impaler, Mechanical Horse, Sheriff set
- Witch Hunter Pack ($64.99): Witch Impaler, Witch Hunter set
- Machinist Pack ($69.99): Flamethrower, Black Steam Horse, Machinist set
- Overkill Pack ($99.99): Includes the contents of all other packs.
The Starter pack is actually a pretty good value when you’re first starting out since it comes with two different weapons. The guns alone would cost $4.99 worth of gold, so the cheap horse and outfit act as a bonus.
As for the high dollar packs, I expect the only people who will purchase those are seeking an unfair advantage in multiplayer. They’d also provide a huge leg up in single-player, but most users will get by fine without them.
Leveling up has two advantages: it can unlock new items for purchase in the shop, and players gain 5 health per level. You can gain XP towards leveling up by killing enemies and completing missions, just like gold. But if you’re in a hurry, buying an XP pack will cut down on the grind. If the XP purchased causes you to pass a level that has an Achievement, you’ll unlock that Achievement right after purchase.
Okay, so leveling up increases your health. But you can also buy permanent health increases on top of that. The extra health will make single-player missions that much easier to survive. It also brings a multiplayer advantage since you’ll be able to take more hits.
Of all the IAPs in Six-Guns, the health boosts could possibly be the best value. A $4.99 purchase gives you the equivalent of four levels’ worth of health, while the $9.99 purchase provides 12 levels’ worth. Buying gold just cuts down on grinding time, but the extra health from a boost will go above and beyond the health you could otherwise earn.
Cloud saves and cross-platform features
Let’s face it, “whales” – players who enjoy spending money on IAPs are the ones who’ll be doing the most spending in Six-Guns. But anybody who really enjoys the game and wants to show Gameloft some love might find value in some of the more affordable IAPs.
Of course, when making an IAP in any game you’ll want to consider the permanence of that purchase. Many Windows Phone games don’t provide users with any way to back up their save files, so changing devices or uninstalling the game could result in a permanent loss of purchased content.
Thankfully Six-Guns uses cloud saving! If you ever need to reinstall the game (as I did), you’ll be prompted about using the existing cloud save. This could also prove quite useful when the Windows 8 version of Six-Guns comes along. Presumably, both versions will share the same cloud save data. So any purchase made in the Windows Phone game will likely extend to the tablet and PC version as well.
That’s it for our IAP discussion. Come back on Wednesday for our full review!
- Six-Guns – Windows Phone 8, including 512MB devices – 436 MB – Free – Store Link