Video games have rarely done justice to cowboys. There are a few titles that stand out, but in a sphere dominated by burly space marines and burly ground marines the humble, gun-toting, ten gallon hat-wearing man-with-no-name remains a widely overlooked character.
The star of Gunman Clive might not have the advantage of namelessness, but he has a gun and a thirst for revenge nevertheless. It's up to you to lead him through 16 levels of the Old West, shooting varmints, leaping over spinning circular saws, and generally pretending to be Clint Eastwood.
A fistful of bullets
The game takes its cues from the classic 16-bit era of platformers - equal parts Mega Man and Robocop vs Terminator. Gunslingers pop out from trapdoors, hide behind boxes, and lean out of windows, firing off shots at you before diving back into cover.
You control Clive with an excellent on-screen D-pad and buttons, leaping over obstacles and blasting away scum with consummate ease. It's not just regular cow-pokes you'll need to deal with, either. Giant bosses block your way, and wolves, ducks, pelicans, and rabbits will all deplete your energy bar if they get too close.
Luckily, you can pick up that Old West staple, cake, to replenish your health, and special ray guns to increase the spread and spray of your trusty six shooter. Everything is presented in a gorgeous, scratchy hand-drawn art style that screams of wanted posters.
For a few bullets more
Gunman Clive isn't a walk in the park. If the bullets don't kill you, the grenades will, or you'll plummet to your death down an awkwardly placed bottomless pit. A cruel checkpoint system always spits you back out at the start of a level, too, but they're not so huge as to make replaying them a slog.
While it might not be historically accurate, Gunman Clive brings a nice-sized slice of old American bravado to your smartphone. It's tricky, but rewarding, with a visual style that's worth the entrance fee on its own.
Working your way through its levels reveals a game that pays homage to some of the platforming greats while still being brave enough to have some interesting ideas of its own.