Bang! Howdy is a free online game about turn-based, cartoon cowboys, the second game from the developers who jollied up the concept of waterlogged thieves in Puzzle Pirates. Each level of Bang! Howdy starts with your little posse of units jogging onto the map, and your control over them is limited to telling them to move, or shoot or move then shoot when they get there.
The twist is that in addition to having different movement ranges, shooting ranges, health and so on, Bang! Howdy plays in semi-real-time and everyone takes turns at different rates. You’re always checking to see who gets to move next, and making sure you’ve given everyone their next order so they’ll move the moment they’re recharged, so to speak.
It’s a neat little concept, executed well, with variety and depth added by different map types requiring gold nugget collecting, cattle rustling and land grabbing, as well as special units and power-ups.
After sinking a few hours into the offline experience you realize this game isn’t diminished by the worrying label of “family-friendly entertainment,” it’s just something everyone can play. We began looking past the visuals and feeling like a master tactician, thinking and hoping this might be the manly experience we were hoping for. Then we went online to play. Before long, and in no uncertain terms, we got our ass handed to us by a bored housewife from Alabama.
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