When it comes to the Western movie formula the first thought which crosses most people’s mind is a pistol duel between the hero and their adversary. Hit Me Cowboy takes this iconic moment and turns it into a rhythmic minigame.
The sheriff meets the bandit as the sunsets out the window of their office, each reaches for their pistol and they leave their reflexes to decide their fates. Codo (a team effort of four individuals) have managed to realise this moment as a short, rhythmic experience, one that requires both players to input their decision (from block, load and shoot) at a precise moment which matches the music.
This choice, to have musical and visual cues (a skull lights up on the music cue) actually answers the problem of which moment players can actually open fire for it to be a legitimate duel, and it’s a very clever way of doing it. I’ve played dozens of games which have tried to capture the tension of waiting for the right moment to shoot, but they have not clearly identified the exact moment when players have engaged, which causes a lot of frustration for those on the weaker foot. I remember playing the FMV shooter, Mad Dog MacCree and having to wait for the flickering transition from clip to clip as to find out exactly when to shoot — it became a case of looking for artifacts rather than playing the game. Anyway, I digress.
Hit Me Cowboy manages to nail the delivery of the precise moment to shoot as well as make a tight, fun game. It takes moments to get into a duel, and you can even link up Joy-Con to play the game with. It’s an exceptionally well made micro-game and stood out as one of the stronger entries to PIGsquad’s Summer Slow Jams July 2019: 3-Button, 3-Color Game.
Hit Me Cowboy is available to play in your browser over on its itch.io page.