The hand-drawn world of 12 is better than 6 is as beautifully crafted as it is brutal. In this top-down shooter, you step into the shoes of an escaped Mexican prisoner in 1873 on his escape across the desert to Texas, with nothing but a sombrero on his head and a revolver in his hand; both items aptly stolen from dead bodies.
Graphically 12 is better than 6 is beautiful, for a game that is drawn entirely by hand, the level of detail is fantastic, when you walk into a chair or a bucket you knock it over, sometimes spilling water everywhere; smoke billows from campfires and cigars and dissipates realistically, mice will die and appear squished on the floor if you walk over them (a personal favourite of mine). Most impressive though is the juxtaposition of the relatively simple black and white environment of the game, and the bright red blood that ends up smeared across the landscape each time you encounter an enemy and ultimately end up shooting everything that moves.
Underneath all the bloodshed, there is a mildly compelling story, but it is the combat that sets 12 is better than 6 apart. This is not your average top-down shooter; your guns need to be cocked before each shot can be fired, and your ammo needs to be reloaded one bullet – or shell- at a time, hammering the trigger to shoot will inevitably end up with you dying very quickly. At first, this style of combat can feel awkward and unforgiving, but as you progress through the levels and get to grips with the controls it becomes much more satisfying as you shoot, stab and blow up everyone that stands in your way.
You will become overly familiar with the ‘dead’ flash screen by the time your journey comes to an end, trial and error is the only way to progress at times as your field of view is somewhat restricted – occasionally enemies would shoot me before they’d even appeared on screen. It’s not always in your best interest to go in all guns blazing though; sometimes the best strategy is to embed your knife into the back of unsuspecting victims or take them out while they snooze away the afternoon. It’s even possible to avoid combat entirely and sneak past certain parts, but really, where’s the fun in that?
To make up for the amount of times you will inevitably end up dead the reload times are lightning fast and I found myself back into the action before I even had time to blink; occasionally it would load that quickly I would let out an accidental shot, alerting the nearby enemies and ending up dead all over again.
12 is better than 6 walks the line between hugely satisfying and horribly frustrating, as long as you manage to stay on the right side of that line you’re in for a great time filled with sombreros, shotguns and slaughter.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*