12 is Better Than 6 – Game Review

Indie games. They just keep popping up. But how many indie games do you know that are Western shooters? The list has grown significantly smaller, hasn’t it? Add a few more filters to that, such as single-player campaigns, top-down isometric views and perhaps even monotonous visuals. Now your list has only a handful of games. And 12 is Better Than 6 fits all of the filters.

If you ever wondered how it would feel being a ruthless cowboy with no memories, 12 is Better Than 6 is the game for you. The storyline is certainly intriguing. You find yourself enslaved and decide to make a run for it. During your run, you’ll meet various devious characters. The same characters will end up helping you recollecting your memories, so perhaps they’re not all that shrewd. The further you advance; the more puzzle pieces are falling in place. I honestly don’t want to spoil the full storyline, so that’s all I will write about it.

Whilst I loved the dialogues early in the game, towards the end I was done with them. The dialogues are lengthy, most of them explaining the memory loss of the protagonist. This game lacks voice acting, and overall, I’m okay with it. But it could’ve really benefited from a narrator of some sorts. The rest of the audio design is superb. I have found myself bobbing my head to the soundtrack on various occasions. I’m also pretty sure that my viewers were tired of me praising the music repeatedly. Seriously, just listen to the song below.

Personally, I have no issues with visuals that are toned down to well-balanced minimalism. Because that is how 12 is Better Than 6 feels for me. From start to finish, this game is fully monotonous. To say it simply, this game started on a blank white canvas and every detail is added in greyscale. Except for one small detail, and that is the bloodshed which is deep crimson red. I honestly love developers that dare to do something this simple with their visuals. Unfortunately, not everyone falls in love with this type of graphics.

One of my viewers stated they hated the visuals. The toning down makes it harder to spot enemies, and gameplay can become confusing. I can follow that reasoning because I have died quite a few times thinking the area was clear and there was a hat I needed to collect. Sadly, that hat I had spotted was hiding an enemy underneath. It didn’t help that this game has a top-down isometric view. But this is also what makes the game a tad more challenging.

Another challenging aspect is the ruthless AI. They typically shoot you at first sight, and your reaction time can be too slow at certain times. Having to replay a level ten times, simply because the AI is amazingly quick, can be daunting. At the same time, it is also very rewarding when you do manage to outwit them. Completing the game means you’ve managed to be the quickest in the shootouts, and that’s an accomplishment.

It is worth mentioning that 12 is Better Than 6 has an odd saving system. The game comes with a tutorial and four Acts, which are also split up in Episodes. While the game seems to save at various key points throughout the playthrough, it doesn’t. If you quit during an episode, you simply won’t start where you have left the game. This isn’t the strangest system as we’ve come across this in other games, but it is rather annoying to have to replay a level you’ve finished last time.

Additionally, there are NPCs in towns from which you can buy perks from. One of those perks is being able to have double ammo. This perk really changes the gameplay experience as running out of bullets is a good way to die. However, the saving system doesn’t save the perk. Quitting to the main menu will essentially remove all the perks you’ve gained in your playthrough. As there is an achievement to buy them all, it means you need to play through the game in one sitting. This completely removes the replay value, and it also stops the game from being a nice, casual game.

There really is no replay value, other than hunting for achievements. But as mentioned before, you will need to play the game in one playthrough. I personally don’t mind grinding a game for coins to be able to buy perks for achievements but having to play this in one go is stopping the achievement hunter in me.

The Verdict

For an indie game, 12 is Better Than 6 is excellent. The monotonous visuals set the game apart, even if it lacks a narration. The top-down isometric western-style shootouts remind me of Spaghetti Slingers, a genre I’ve grown fond of. The game kept my interest and I’ve finished it in two streams, meaning it is on the shorter side. If you are an achievement hunter, this might be a good thing seeing as the game requires you to play it in one go. It also removes the replay value. A shame as this game would’ve been high on my casual game list otherwise.

Drydwen

Writer. Dreamer. Gamer.

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