Mad Bullets

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Game Details

Title: Mad Bullets
Developer: isTom Games
Publisher: isTom Games
Website: https://www.istomgames.com/products/madbullets
Genre: Action, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 12/07/2019
Price: £8.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

The Old West

Mad Bullets is one of the first light gun shooters I’ve played on the Nintendo Switch up to this point. And there’s only one other that comes to mind that I can think of on eShop which is another western shooter.

This seems like an untapped genre on the Switch. Yes, there are shooters on the Nintendo Switch, but light-gun-shooters are a pound to a penny on the eShop, and they haven’t seemed to have lifted off on the Switch. It’s surprising considering the joy-cons IR sensor can be used to move reticule on the TV screen using its infrared sensors.

Anyway, Mad Bullets is a light-gun arcade shooter which is set within the Wild West. The game sees you blasting your way through 60 levels, 200 secondary objectives, all the while taking down the Wild West’s most wanted.

Gun Slinging

Upon starting your Wild West rampage, you’ll need to calibrate your Joy-Cons by shooting in the centre of the screen and the upper left-hand corner. Mad bullets is controlled only by the Switch’s Joy-Cons. Only one Joy-Con is needed to play Mad Bullets. Depending on what Joy-Con you’re using, either left or right, the controls are as follows.

The ZR or ZL triggers are for shooting. The B button centres the camera if the reticule starts to wander and is used to reload as well. To aim, you need to move your Joy-Con around thanks to the motion controls this will allow you to aim.

Mission Objectives

After completing the calibration test, you appear on the main menu. Here you can select either the options menu or start the main campaign. Upon starting up, you’ll notice you can slide the analogue stick to the right which can let you select any one of the 60 levels you’ve unlocked. It’s a pretty substantial number for a light-gun shooter.

Not only that but each level has secondary objectives to complete such as shooting 8 incoming bullets, shooting 15 crates or boxes or shooting a certain number of enemies. These add little replayability to the game but are not necessarily to move on to the next level as long as you survive and kill the wanted Outlaw, you’ll move on to the next level.

Each level is detailed and colourful and has multiple destructive environmental pieces that blow apart quite realistically. Shooting crates and barrels can unearth a few different power-ups or collectables such as the death bomb, multiplier bonus and gold coins. If you want to collect these, you’ll need to shot at them.

As well as collecting extra points, you find a wide variety of different cut-out enemies that appear in front of you. These have a red glow surrounding them and enemies that are wanted criminals are usually highlighted in a light blue hue.

This makes it easier to target and identify who is a threat, and who you’re shooting. There are also innocent characters that appear in front of you. These are usually highlighted in a green glow, and you must avoid shooting them otherwise you’ll lose one of your 3 Sheriff badges which represent your health in Mad Bullets.

Of course, some of the innocent individuals may be shackled with padlocks and will require you to shoot off each lock, which again highlighted in a red glow.

Each enemy has there own attack abilities. If an enemy shoots at you, you can shoot their bullets out of the air with your revolver. You get six bullets in your gun so keep an eye on when need to reload.

There’s not a dull moment in Mad Bullets, one minute you’re shooting outlaws in an old Western Town and the next minute you’re shooting killer piranhas that are jumping out of tin baths.

Multiplayer Mayhem

So Mad Bullets like thousands of light-gun games before it also has multiplayer aspect. You either duel weld two joy-cons and pretend your rogue cowboy or pass one them controllers to a friend or partner and have someone along for the ride.

If you’re still feeling lonely, you have 3 other friends blasting away with you thanks to game supporting four players! Two-player mode is a lot of fun. Remember, even if the Joy-Cons reticule’s start to wander or aren’t centred, all you need to do is press the B button to re-centre it or go to pause menu and re-calibrate it there.

Fatal shot

However, there was an issue that I encountered. Here’s what happened. I was using the left analogue stick to play Mad Bullets. However, I wanted to use the home button to check something quickly when I realised that the left Joy-Con doesn’t have that option. So I picked up the right Joy-Con, and it wouldn’t respond; it had become inactive. So there was no way to get back on to the main menu.  

I found out I needed to go back into the mission select screen and click on a mission, then select the “players” option so I could add the right joy-con to the game so that I could use the home button.

It was a lot of messing around and its something I don’t think the Developers thought about. Before I knew this, I was stuck in the game without any way of escaping it. This was my only real gripe with Mad Bullets. 

After being stuck in the game, I started using the right Joy-Con so that I could access the home button. However, this led to another issue. I couldn’t take screenshots or video capture anymore as when you’re using one Joy-Con for singleplayer, the other one becomes inactive straight away. The only way to have access to the right or left one is playing in multiplayer. However, I didn’t want both reticules on screen at the same time, unless I was playing with friends.

Roundup

So I’ve really enjoyed Mad Bullets. The graphics are bright and colourful and look great on the Switches’ screen, plus the frame-rate is pretty solid. The music is ok, but nothing spectacular. I did enjoy the sound effects. I loved how shooting enemies makes them explode in a shower of wood splinters.

There are a ton of levels to play through with a huge variety of enemies to shoot and innocent people to save! New mechanics like shooting locks, beer glasses from drunk men are introduced and keeps things interesting. To have a light-gun shooter with access to 4 players is a great addition, especially on the Switch. I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and the extra objectives keep you coming back for more.

There are some calibration issues, and it’s not the best button layout. I wish you had the option to change the controls.

However, these are small issues that can be easily overcome, and they don’t ruin the main experience. My biggest gripe here is the issue of having access to the home or screenshot function. If playing in singleplayer, you’re only ever going to have one Joy-Con activated unless you decide to dual weld. It’s a pain that you have to go out of the game and set up a second Joy-Con so that you can access one of the Switch’s main features.

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can purchase Mad Bullets from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Mad-Bullets-1593611.html

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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