Six-Guns Review: One huge, free Wild West game on Windows Phone 8

This week, the massive open world Grand Theft Auto 5 launched on consoles. Sadly, Rockstar has yet to port any of its excellent mobile Grand Theft Auto titles to Windows Phone. But thanks to Gameloft, we do have one open world game on Windows Phone 8: Six-Guns. Of course, Six-Guns takes its inspiration from the Wild West-themed Read Dead Redemption, but it’s still the closest thing to GTA in the mobile Xbox lineup.

Six-Guns is a free to play game – a payment model that can be a blessing or a curse. Is this one of Gameloft’s free to play successes like UNO & Friends or a greedy failure like Real Soccer 2013? Read on for our verdict…

Wild Wild West

While Six-Guns is obviously based on Read Dead Redemption, it focuses far less on story. The handful of story missions it does have were originally added via updates to the original iOS version. The story scenes do come to life via digital comic-style animations and voice acting, at least.

What Six-Guns lacks in narrative, it makes up for in sheer abundance of missions. The game’s two large maps are dotted with glowing hotspots that trigger these missions. Missions come in several varieties, a sampling of which I’ll list now:

  • Defense: Guard a location against oncoming enemies either for a set time or a specific number of waves of enemies.
  • Offense: Take out all of the enemies in a location.
  • Racing: There are actually two types of horse races. The first, and most fun simply pits the player against three AI racers. These racers work well when you don’t feel like engaging in combat. The second requires players to shoot a certain number of targets while also passing through checkpoints within a time limit. Unfortunately, the aiming is so bad (which we’ll get to in a bit) that it makes hitting the targets under time pressure a complete chore.
  • Sniping: Requires a sniper rifle, of which there is only one non-premium option. Watch a spot and wait for a courier to deliver goods to the smuggler hiding behind a wall. Because of the bad aiming and super low windows of opportunity to hit the target(s), the sniping mission is ridiculously hard.
  • Crypt killing: For some reason, Six-Guns has a lot of supernatural enemies like werewolves, From Dusk Till Dawn-style monstrous vampires, and flying witches. In this mission type, you’ll navigate a maze-like crypt and defeat all of its unholy inhabitants along the way. I actually enjoy the mash-up of Wild West and monsters, but the witches have an obnoxious habit of getting stuck inside of walls, often making them unkillable and forcing a mission failure.
  • Rescue: These some in two varieties. In the more interesting one, players must locate and then escort one or more maidens safely out of a vampire’s crypt.
  • Shooting gallery: Fun but hard due to aiming issues.

Complete a mission to get gold and experience. When you choose to repeat a mission, not only do the rewards increase, but the round goes up and it gets harder as well. A mission can have up to fifty rounds, which would take hours to get through. That’s the brilliance of Six-Guns’ design – the multi-round missions give it tons and tons of replay value. Oh, and there are non-repeatable collectible missions too.

Controls and aiming

Six-Guns’ generally controls intuitively, just like any of Gameloft’s non-FPS tiles. You walk with a virtual stick, use a fire button to shoot, an aim button for fine aiming, and a roll button for dodging. Tapping the gun icon at the top of the screen reloads, while swiping it changes guns.

Being a western-themed game, the hero can also ride horses! Just press the horse button to whistle for your horse and instantly mount it. Riding gets you everywhere faster and you don’t even have to worry about being thrown to your death like in real life.

While the general controls all work well, aiming is problematic. Much of the time, you’ll get by with the lock-on assist. Once you’ve locked on to an enemy, you can just plug away at them unless the lock gets broken. But fine aiming is simply horrendous. The reticle just moves way too far no matter how lightly you slide your finger.

The jumpy aiming seems to stem from the game’s low frame rate. Like all of Gameloft’s 3D Windows Phone 8 titles, Six-Guns’ frame rate is somewhere around 15-20 frames per second. That’s playable, but 30 FPS is what we consider the low end of smooth. With so many frames skipped all the time, aiming at just the right target can be a real crapshoot.

Free to play foibles

We’ve already detailed the game’s complete array of In-App Purchases and evaluated their usefulness. The question now is how much all those IAPs hurt the game.

IAPs aren’t limited to just vanity items and weapons. Enemies don’t drop ammo; you have to buy it with gold. And you can’t carry around limitless supplies of ammo, either. Each batch of bullets takes up a separate space in the player’s inventory. Additional slots cost gold. Neither of these elements really brings the game down too much. Missions and enemy kills provide more than enough gold for bullets. Bag slots will require some grinding for gold, but you’re never short for missions to grind.

Less forgivably, health refills cost premium currency. Player health recharges over time, but not during missions. To refill during a mission, you’ll need one of those costly health bottles. They can be won from the daily lottery, but unless you abuse the time changing trick you’ll seldom have any bottles on hand. Frankly, either health should recharge during missions or bottles should cost gold.

The game’s store also sells a variety of guns, clothing (armor), and horses for exorbitant quantities of premium currency. This doesn’t hurt the gameplay in and of itself (outside of multiplayer), but the prices fall pretty far on the greedy side. Gameloft has priced the best guns and outfit at $50 or higher in hopes that a few whales (big IAP spenders) will buy them. But it would be more reasonable to price those items closer to $10. Then non-insane players could justify the purchase, which would probably lead to more sales overall.


Six-Guns’ online multiplayer mode is also affected by those IAPs. See, whatever guns and clothing the player purchases in single-player (premium or not) can be used in multiplayer. Buy good equipment and you’ll tear through players with lesser stuff. Obviously the publisher’s hope is that players will spend money to gain a competitive advantage, but that’s bad game design.

Still, multiplayer is pretty fun as long as you don’t run across somebody with a crazy good weapon. Multiplayer only offers one game type - capture the flag, and only two maps, which feels anemic. But at least there are tons of people playing at all hours, owing to the game being free and running on 512 MB devices.

Two annoying multiplayer bugs: sometimes you’ll repeatedly fail to connect whenever you try to create or join a game. Closing the game by exiting from the title and relaunching seems to fix the connection issues for a while.

The less severe bug involves weapon selection. For some reason, you can only select between a couple of the guns in your inventory during multiplayer. To switch to any other weapon, you’ll need to open the store and equip the gun from there.


We’re running long here, so I’ll just touch on the game’s most challenging Achievement: ‘100% Completion.’ It requires players to not just beat every mission but also EVERY ROUND of every mission. That will pretty much take forever, which isn’t a bad thing if you enjoy the game. But it could be frustrating if you’re unable to complete certain missions like the sniping ones. Perhaps the Windows 8 version will help there…

Overall Impression

Six-Guns comes dangerously close to being unforgivably greedy thanks to the health bottles costing money and the sky-high prices of premium items. But you CAN get by without health bottles for the most part, and you don’t need those expensive weapons and clothing. Look past those things and you’ve got a vast game just overflowing with a variety of missions to complete. A player could spend nothing and get a hundred hours out of the game, easily.

If you really like the game and want to support Gameloft, I recommend buying a little gold or a permanent health upgrade since those are priced somewhat fairly. But the cool thing about free to play is that people who don’t like the game or its IAP prices don’t need to drop a cent on it.

I love Six-Guns (other than its erratic aiming) and can’t wait for the impending Windows 8 version. Thanks to cloud saving support, we should be able to hop back and forth between both platforms at our leisure.

  • Six-Guns – Windows Phone 8, including 512MB devices – 436 MB – Free – Store Link

QR: Six Guns WP8

Paul Acevedo

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!

  • Nice review!After reading the review i would like to give it a try but sadly can't play games on WP8 because of the Overheating/Battery drain bug trigers 10-20mins after playing a game (or even an app).
    Lets hope MS will fix it some time soon!
  • Try playing Sims for 15 minutes.  You'll need an oven mitt to hold the phone.  Ouch!
  • I've just quit Sims after playing 30min. Everything fine, 920 red made in Hong Kong, amber not yet installed. Sure it's warmer than when idle, but not critical. 20°C air temperature at my home.
  • At least you can use the Lumia screen with an oven mitt :P
  • I really think it's a flaw in the Qualcomm chip used by WP8 devices. But I don't think Microsoft or Qualcomm will ever comment on the issue, sadly.
  • That will be a great move of Qualcomm and Microsoft to force people switch back to iOS/Android!
    Let's hope you are wrong and it's something fixable like OS/Firmware bug(s) that causes the overheating!(the the battery drain is simply a result of CPU overheating and overcalculating!)
  • Can a firmware update of Qualcom CPU fix a flaw?
  • That's what I'd really like to know. Considering that Microsoft has never addressed the topic, I doubt that any fixes are incoming regardless.
  • 1)Can you please contact MS to ask for more info about this issue?(if they know about it,or if at least they are working on a fix,or can confirm that it's caused by some OS/firmware bugs) so that people will know and decide if they will keep the devices or switch to something else!
    2)Let's hope a fix will be included in GDR3 (With all this hardware/OS rearrangements that will be included to support new SoCs)

    3)Last,i would from people that are suffering from this issue to support and promote my suggestion please P.S Microsoft is behaving very unprofessionaly about this issue!At least we deserve to know what is causing it!  
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960
  • Yeah I refer to this as the "Nuclear option" on my 920. Sigh
    Can't play spectral souls for longer than 15 minutes
    Notice that the phone doesn't heat up when I'm playing "2d" games like Monster Burner, path of kara, etc...
  • It would be great to simply pay a reasonable price and get the game. The free to play cash grab model is the worst thing to happen to mobile gaming, and there is no end to it.
  • Yeah, but for people who can't afford it is pretty good. Also if one plays strategically (as much as you can in this game,Lol) you wouldn't need to buy anything.  
  • No, its not pretty good. It's invasive and sacrifices quality. Disguising money with artificial systems (gold for instance) is sickening. In game purchasing is a disaster, and developers are focused solely on it, rather than making a quality game and selling for a reasonable price.
  • But there's still a good game in there, despite the systems designed to get players to spend money. Not everyone can look past the IAPs though, I know.
  • Worst thing to happen to mobile gaming was free, ad supported and $.99 games.
    When a game is $5-15 on mobile people are like  "OMG over-priced!!!! Give it to me for free AND continue to add content!"
  • +920
  • I kinda liked the game, but it is so choppy Daaaammit. Why so cruel?  and yeah Paul, you can take cover too!!
  • The programmer stutters.
  • Too hard to control too.
  • Great review!!! ThaNX!!!
    BTW do you know where in Oregon to get Giant Werewolf achievement? That one and 200 chests are left for me to unlock.
  • Look up a xbox 360 achievement site...Most of them have walkthroughs of WP 7/8 games for the achivements..
    Or even search on I do for those tricky achivements..
  • There is nothing there yet.
    ThaNX for your reply.
  • Here you go:
  • ThaNX Paul!!!
    Very appreciated.
    Didn't get that mission yet.
  • Nice review, I think i'll clean up my phone and download this over the weekend, and maybe buy one or two items to help Gameloft, while they got a bit greedy here with the IAP, they are doing way too much for WP, more than most of the other game developers around, in fact, I wish they just would price all their games for WP like MC or Spider-Man, and got rid of the IAPs, I would gladly pay 5 or 6 bucks for a full, IAP-free Six-Guns experience.
  • This. I won't play IAP focused games, and either should anyone else. It encourages this terrible model.
  • Lag is kinda too much on my Lumia 620, I tried to ignore it but it just spoils the fun, I was on 3rd on the Multiplayer leaderboard worldwide (HSN97) when I left playing it a week ago. I guess it's good step by Gameloft to release a heavy graphic game on 512MB RAM devices but still, they should've optimized it and I'm sure they can.
    EDIT: Oh, I forogt to tell the most annoying thing, the crashes, damn! These crashes were just getting on my nerves esp in the Single Player gameplay.
  • Played it for a few minutes on my friends phone and couldn't get the aiming down.  I'm sure I'd get more used to it if I played longer, but it didn't feel great.
    Sad to hear that the game is a little bit greedy on the IAP portion, but still looks like a pretty decent game and it's always fair to kick in a few bucks if you are enjoying the game.
  • works fine on my 520. only prob was download is some 450mb, after install it's 850 mb, still it needs at least 2-2.1 free space while installing!
    i reached the end of storyline missions available in this version. it says a future update will add more levels and continue the story further.
    nice game overall. support for 512mb ram devices is a big plus. lags a little sometimes, but it's acceptable, considering the size. crashes very rarely.
    eagerly waiting for minion rush! :)
  • Strange. It only needed at least 1.5-1.6 gb free space while installing for my lumia 520.
  • There's a placeholder with he game's icon for the Windows 8 version.... You can find it in the games app.... Hopefully it'll be out soon.
  • I tried so hard to play this game, but I just can't play fps games on a touch screen, or any game that requires joystick use at a fast pace. I'd much rather aim by moving the phone around than use a joystick. Granted, then I'd look like an idiot waving my phone in the air.
  • I'm still working my way through Asphalt 7 Heat. I might try this one later.
  • As with most fps on a device other than a pc, the controls suck.
  • But it's not a first-person shooter. And games like this play just fine with a controller - Read Dead Redemption is a console game after all, not a PC game.
  • IAP = I Ain't Playing
  • Played this one on ios fairly interesting plenty of side jobs to keep you occupied on and off quest, missing something I can't put my finger on it? I'll pass playing it on the 920, battery blows on this thing in general let alone playing a game..
  • Excellent review. After slogging through Uno & Friends, I was hesitant to jump into another Gameloft glitchfest. This sounds better, but ... That 100% achievement sounds brutal.
  • Thanks man! Yeah, it's a very time consuming Achievement. But I think it's better than grindy Achievements like playing 200 games of Carcassonne. At least in Six-Guns, the missions are a little different every round, and you're always earning gold and XP to contribute towards other goals.
  • It was, but done. Need 2 more to unlock...Giant Werewolf I can't find and 200 chests will come eventually.
  • I somehow got a bunch of achievements after buying dual guns with gold. It gave me every achievement even 100%, but didn't give me 5 of them and I don't even play single player much.
  • One of the things I've found that work for aiming, somewhat, is to keep your finger on the screen as you take your shot. This method does not work at when you need to move like the horse back challenges and can make things a little slower like when playing the whack-a-mole style games.
  • Invest in a fast horse!..
  • Sadly I can't play it without wiping off all the apps on my 620. 
  • Don't bother with the in-app purchase at all. Gameloft are cheating people. I purchased the barrel of stars and bought triple barrel terror shotgun. But a while later the app crashed and phone restarted. After which i lost all my progress and the purchase. The cloud save feature was of no help. I contacted gameloft but only received a system generated mail. Forums was of no use either. And it's almost 20 days since i reported the issue to gameloft. Fraudulent company with pathetic customer service. 
  • You can at least contact Microsoft and receive a refund for the purchase. I've never had a problem getting refunded for IAP issues.
  • Hey. I contacted Microsoft customer care. But they said they can't help with the in-app purchase and asked me to contact gameloft
  • That's odd. I got double billed on an IAP purchase with the game. Used online chat support and got it refunded. I suggest trying again (either by chat or phone. chat is easier) and saying that the game crashed and lost your save file right after you made the purchase, so you didn't get what you paid for.
  • Game is pretty fun, two things ruin multiplayer for me. IAP are just un fair for multiplayer, someone can buy some 400sheriff star weapon and be killing you for a while and they can buy a bunch of health to make them nearly unstoppable. Secondly, there are a bunch of cheaters in multiplayer, they walk in walls and shoot you while you can't shoot them. I know how to do this too, but I don't like cheating, so I only go in walls to take out an opponent sniping me and my teammates.(speaking of snipers, how come when I try and use a sniper rifle for close combat, I ALWAYS miss with auto aim on, while they kill me with even while I'm moving around?)