The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running for Windows 8 impressions

We caught wind of this a little late, but the Windows 8 Xbox game The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running from Other Ocean and Microsoft is free through Monday. Dead Man Running normally costs $1.49 despite being designed and planned as a free-to-play game, with lots of in-game purchases on offer. So why not hurry up and get it free like it’s supposed to be?

Head past the break for our full impressions of the game itself.

From Kinect to touch screen

The Gunstringer started life as a Kinect-specific Xbox 360 game in 2011. Its story revolves around an undead gunslinger who returns to the land of the living to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. The twist is he’s a puppet – a conceit designed around the imprecise nature of Kinect controls. The original Gunstringer remains one of the most substantial, non-gimmicky Kinect games around and it comes with Fruit Ninja Kinect to boot. Read my full review at Co-Optimus to learn more.

Now everyone’s favorite skeleton puppet returns in Dead Man Running, a Temple Run clone for Windows 8 and RT. Since the original game had the hero running forward endlessly (players controlled his horizontal movement and shooting), it actually adapts very well as an endless runner.

On a keyboard, players dodge, jump, and duck using the arrow keys while the spacebar fires the hero’s gun at treasure chests and the occasional pop-up targets. The simple controls work great on touch screens too. Xbox 360 controllers are not supported, unfortunately.

The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running

Dead Man Running features a story mode with four main stages each divided into four substages, for a total of 16 levels. Each of the main levels culminates in an exciting boss battle. There isn’t much of a story compared to the Xbox 360 game, but the  narration and excellent music at least sell the atmosphere very well. I do wish the stage intros could be skipped though.

Of course the game also has an Endless Running mode. With fairly good leaderboard support, competitive gamers will certainly enjoy trying to outdistance their friends. But run into an object or miss a turn in either mode and you’re forced to either start over or spend a diamond to continue.

You can earn a single diamond by playing the game for seven days in a row (very annoying), or paying actual money for a few hundred of them. Many of the Achievements basically require players to spend several diamonds in Endless Running mode, which will annoy Achievement hunters who don’t want to part with real money for virtual diamonds.

Windows Phone, where are you?

The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running

The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running is a well-made endless runner. This style of game works better with on the go play, so tablet gamers will probably enjoy it more than desktop players. Dead Man Running would actually fit perfectly on Windows Phone 8, yet a phone version hasn’t been announced. Considering the dearth of Xbox Windows Phone 8 games and the ease of porting from Windows 8 to phone, Microsoft really should reconsider. (Note that the original Temple Run itself is coming to Windows Phone 8 in the first half of the year.)

Windows 8 users, head here (opens in new tab) to get The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running from the Windows 8 Store.

Update: The game has returned to its regular price.

Thanks to Rocket Riot for the tip!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Lol. Temple Run in the first half of the year. So Temple Run 2 will probably be coming in 2015
  • LOL
  • Gunstringer for Kinect is great. Really under appreciated title. The story is hilarious.
  • I can't wait to get this!
  • Don't wait too long. The price will return to normal sometime Monday.
  • Ok thanks, I wish it was on windows phone as well.
  • When is windows phone 8 version coming out?
  • Read the article?
  • Pssht, I can't be bothered with "reading."
  • I came here to have fun, not to read.
  • Have not been announced yet !!!!
  • Horrible game IMO. can't believe I paid $1.49 for it. Luckily there was a glitch in the past that allowed you to get unlimited money. Exploited to get all the achievements except one that is glitched on me. The game design makes it impossible to earn
  • Agreed, this game is terrible. Sucks for the gun stringer, he was a pretty cool guy before this game. Wish I knew about the glitch before!
  • when you play this game for a while, you start to want to tear your own ear drums out. "Yipee Ki Yay" anyone????
  • Got this, but it won't load correctly. I see the Gunstringer logo and then black screen forever. Not sure if busted install or busted game
  • What device are you using to run it?
  • Windows 7 laptop upgraded to windows 8
  • Same thing happens to me...what machine r u trying to run it on?
  • Thanks for the heads up on this one.
  • Mew. Never had this game before. I'll try to install it later before it back to $1.49 and see what it's looks like.
  • This game has been free since Friday...surprised you guys just realized it.
  • You should tip them next time that happens so we can all enjoy the deal earlier.
  • I stopped tipping them cuz they never read any of my tips.....makes you feel stupid.
  • Hey now, don't say that. We read every single tip. Like I told another reader in my last article, sometimes we're just too busy to cover some stories. Also, some of the tips we receive are for things we've already covered, don't find news-worthy, etc. But even if we can't act on every tip, we appreciate everyone tipping us. Also, for gaming stuff you can feel free to tweet me directly @segacon.
  • No in-game volume controls?  Wrong.  Did you forget that this is a Windows 8 app?  Pull up the charms Settings panel, then game options.  There's your volume control.  And yes, that's "in game", because the charms settings are part of the app/game.
  • Ohhh. My bad.
  • It does not load proper on the Windows RT (Asus)
  • Works fine on Surface RT.
  • I downloaded the trial early llaweek, and played it a couple of times on my desktop.  Then, on Friday, I saw that it was free, so I made sure that I got it!  Took a while to download for some reason, but it finally installed.
    I've actually played it more since it became free than I did when I was using the trial.  Not easy playing it with the arrow keys and the space bar, but I'm getting the hang of it.  And yes, the music definitely sets the atmosphere, especially with my little 'ol 2.1 speaker setup.  I can't seem to get past that first turn, though :)
    As I was playing it, I thought it would be great on a Windows Phone, especially my Lumia 900.  But perhaps they will bring it to WP8 and beyond.....
  • Just hold the arrow key in the direction of the turn, ya silly.
  • So I'm on this Windows Phone website and I see the top article is about a random free game, go to download, and it's not available for Windows Phone. Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my life wpcentral. 
  • If you can't be bothered to read the headline or the content of the article, there is nothing we can do to help you. :(
  • Do you know what the idiom "stick to the knitting" means? I don't come to a Windows Phone website to find headlines about the latest free games for Windows 8 and RT. 
  • We've always covered Windows 8 and Xbox 360 - basically everything in the Microsoft ecosystem. Windows Phone is obviously the main focus, but these platforms all affect each other in various ways and there's a lot of crossover interest among our readers. Plus, I try to make a Windows Phone connection in articles like these, so the content is specifically tailored for our readers.
  • Learning to read.  All your whining and none of it successfully covers up the fact that you can't read very well.
  • This is stupid. It has always been free, just choose trial. Clicking "buy" when it was $1.50 merely tricked you into making an in app purchase of some useless gold coins. I fell into this deceitful trap, but it's ok, I'll make it right by "taking" another MS Studios game.
  • And the "we are not abandoning WP7.5 users" promise goes down the drain - thanks for proving one more time you don't really care about keeping those who invested in your products happy and wanting to come for more; I'm glad Android keeps on developing...
  • We always knew there'd be Windows Phone 8-specific games, Fraddy. There's a lot of good reasons for that, as it's way easier to port from iOS and other platforms in WP8 than WP7, plus WP8 hardware is much more powerful. No need to get bent out of shape every time a WP8 game is mentioned - especially considering just how rare WP8 games are. About Windows 8 - don't buy it if you don't want it. The library of Windows 8 Xbox games are appealing and irresistible to Achievement hunters, though.
  • Sorry, its the tablet/laptop version then... Anyway, why would I bother to stay attached to a desktop system that people are now giving up on and returning to Win7 desktop OS?
  • It's a tempo run-like game, but it's much intriguing, when does it land wp8?
  • I discuss that at the end of the article. It's not coming to WP8 as far as we know.
  • It crashes after a while
  • Since you got it while it was free, you'll get the updates. Hopefully the updates will fix the crashes.
  • Logged into my Win8 VM to download it's attached to my account...Thanks for the notice..
  • Thanks for posting this article. I grabbed the game from the store.
  • not free anymore.........