The Lawless is a game about moseying into town and slaughtering people before they get the chance to throw jam in your eyes. It tries to do for quick-draw Wild West shooting what Infinity Blade did for faux-medieval epic sword slashing.

And it sort of works. It's an FPS you control with just one finger, tapping on the varmints you want to shoot down, the guns you want to pick up, and the doors you want to kick open. Everything happens at a rapid trot, but it's over in a flash and linear to the point of parody.

The things it does well it does very well, but in the end there are too many shortcomings, and not enough game, for a wholehearted recommendation.

I am the lawless

You play as a bounty hunter out to snare a series of criminals. Each of these attempted arrests ends in a gunfight that sees you tapping around the screen to fill a variety of cow-pokes full of hot, steaming lead.

It's an interesting setup, and after a brief tutorial that walks you through the basics of the game you're dropped into your first gun battle in an almost empty saloon. Things you need to tap flash yellow for a brief period, and you're given a bonus according to how quickly you give them a poke.

There are more points to be scored for a head-tap, and a variety of achievements to be unlocked for capping goons in a set order. The gun battles are broken up by little cut scenes that pull you from bad guy to bad guy, ducking behind scenery and picking up dropped guns as you do.

It makes for a pretty cinematic experience, but also means the surprise drops out of the game after your first try. The guy swinging an axe at your head is a shock to begin with, but the fifteenth time, when you keep missing your tap and receiving an impromptu lobotomy, grates a little.

The lack of content is telling too. There are only four bounties to collect, and you'll have finished them in normal mode after half an hour. You can chase high scores and star ratings, but if you're looking for a vast single-player experience, this isn't it.

Unlawfulless

There is, however, one interesting and controversial idea at the heart of the game - gambling. You can challenge your friends to try and beat your high score, staking real-life wagers on whether they're going to be able to top your run.

You only get one shot, though, and if you mess up then you're likely going to end up out of pocket. It's an interesting addition, and while it doesn't add anything to the game in terms of gameplay, there is a palpable excitement when you know cash is on the line.

But while the mode adds an extra frisson to proceedings, it can't cover up the cracks in the make-up of the game. There are some cruel difficulty spikes, which is impressive, when you consider just how short the game is.

The short play time and arrow-straight linearity make for a game that's over before you know it, with little reason to go back and play save for watching your fingers speed over digital cowboys they've already gunned down.

Law more

The Lawless has its moments, but once you've experienced them it's unlikely you're going to want to go back and do it all over again. The wagers are an interesting touch, but the game underneath is a little too flimsy to support them.

There's fun to be had, then, but there's frustration too, and before you've had a chance to decide which one wins out the game has finished anyway.