Developer: Ink Stains Games
Publisher: Pinkapp Games
Genre: Top-down shooter, Indie, Action
Release date: 2oth November 2015
Obvious comparisons with the Hotline Miami cannot be avoided and it’s influence is widely spread through the game. Still, 12 is Better Than 6 somehow manages to better its paragon is some aspects.
This top-down, kill everyone and everything shooter has somehow unexpectedly landed on-top of my desk the other day and I’m still having trouble letting it go, despite finishing the campaign several times. Addictive and distinguished, 12 is Better Then 6 (or as I like to call it ‘Hotline Texas’) provokes that perfect mix of having fun while constantly trying to better yourself throughout its surprisingly short campaign but hugely rewarding campaign.
„The story begins in the middle … The middle of this Mexican’s life, the crucial turning point of his existence. The moment he was cornered. It was during the scorching summer of 1873. the sun was slowly disappearing beyond the horizon. The had been chasing the Mexican eastward the whole week. they refused to let up, even for a brief moment. And the flask on his belt was empty, as it had been for most of the week. There was no sign for his pursuers for now, but he knew that it wouldn’t be long before they were back on his heels. there was nowhere to run – the desert would kill him if their bullets didn’t. He had to reach civilization. At the entrance to the town he saw strange silhouettes…“
Almost immediately you are thrown into a fearless cauldron of bullets, knives, bows and arrows, shovels, explosions and hoards of bad guys that try to kill you any way they can from any angle they can aim. You realize that the bloodbath is inevitable and that you’ll just have to deal with it. And then you discover the real beauty of this game, the bad guys don’t miss. Ever.
Unlike Hotline Miami where luck plays a part in some scenarios and where bad guys tend to miss fire or miscalculates at some instances, 12 is Better Than 6 offers nothing of the sort. „Putos“ will rush at you, flank you, shoot through windows and chase you around the houses just to get you blood flowing. That almost kamikaze-like willingness to take your life makes this game an even more hardcore experience than Hotline Miami is. Yes, I didn’t think that was possible either.
With no health bar you will die from one well placed bullet most of the time. So get ready to die a lot. That makes room for planning two, three and sometime even four or more steps ahead in order to finish a single level. Finishing any level feels like a reward but at the same time levels are designed with such care and precision that it shouldn’t take more than a couple of retries to compleat any of them. And it never ever feels unfair. There are over 100 levels in total spanned throughout four acts, each about a couple of minutes long if you know your way around it. Or if you are extra skilled on the trigger.
Combat revolves around quick reflexes and tight aim, complemented with unique „cock“ mechanics. Basically it works like a real gun does, you have to „cock“ (the upper trigger) your bullet inside the barrel to take the shot, repeating the action every time you take a shot. I found that mechanic to be a breath of fresh air in the shooter genre in general and hope to see that gameplay mechanic being implemented in more games.
Graphically hand drawn in exclusively black & white tone, with only the blood being red, I see why some players might find this game to be repulsive, or even jump to a wrong conclusion of lacking the in-game depth. I myself enjoyed the simplistic overhead presentation as it allowed me to sharpen my senses to the fullest and just get on with what the game wanted me to do. Although there were instances when I simply didn’t recognize an enemy as he simply blend into the surrounding. I guess that just inevitable when you take this art direction.
I’m so glad that the game had a successful Kickstarter campaign eventually, with some eleventh hour high drama (with a bunch of backers pulling out at the last minute, but eventually made back up). A true hidden gem in a sea of randomness, 12 is Better Than 6 is a definate buy at the price of 9,99$ on Steam.