Have you ever wondered what would happen if aliens and ninjas invaded the Wild West? Nope, neither have I, but the humorous answer to that question can be found in Ivan Moura and Dead Mushroom’s kooky new dual-stick shooter, Cowboy vs. Ninjas vs. Aliens (out now, $1.99 FREE for a day!).

As Chuck West you’ve been charged with saving the West from both aliens and ninjas. Controls will be familiar to anyone who’s played any iOS dual-stick shooters before. There’s a virtual joystick on the left hand side of the touchscreen and the right side is for aiming at and shooting down your enemies.

You can set the difficulty to your liking and also decide if you want to control your aim manually or if you want it to be automatic. One of the main problems I had with the auto-aiming was that when you get swarmed by enemies, the aiming goes haywire and you end up aiming for the wrong enemy (if such a thing exists). Other than that minor niggle, the game controls fine but if you’re not familiar with the genre, you’ll probably be a little confused.

Thankfully, Cowboy vs Ninjas vs Aliens is still a great game to introduce first time players to the dual stick shooter genre. You control Chuck as you ride your goofy horse through the town killing off hordes of ninjas and/or aliens. Everything about the gameplay is similar to other games in the genre and even though it doesn’t revolutionize dual stick shooters, it’s fun and easy to pick up and play.

The game looks sharp and the character design is wonderful. With a premise like this, it’s good to see that the developers don’t take themselves too seriously. The characters look goofy and cartoonish and the humor in the game is clever and a nice touch. The music comes straight out of a Wild West saloon but the gunshot noise doesn’t even remotely sound like a gun does. Besides that one tiny little detail there isn’t anything really wrong with what you see and hear in the game.

There are tons of weapons and upgrades to be bought or unlocked. Chuck can carry two weapons with him at the same time and these weapons can be upgraded using cash earned at the end of the levels. You can even buy skins for your horse and change him into a pig or bull. The cosmetic upgrades don’t affect the game at all but some of the weapons can only be bought after you’ve achieved certain levels. This encourages replaying some missions, which isn’t a bad thing at all, especially since the game is quite short. I was done with the entire thing in under three hours — but it also feels as if you’ve seen all there is to see after the first level. You can tell which upgrades or guns you want to purchase and which you don’t right off the bat. Still, there will be reason for some players that enjoy the short experience to play again including trying the “Survival” mode or the “Insane” difficulty level as well as bonus levels and hidden weapons to find.

iFanzine Verdict: Cowboy vs. Ninjas vs. Aliens is a dual-stick shooter that respects its genre but doesn’t make any leaps or jumps to revolutionize it. The campaign is short but there are plenty of upgrades and different modes to lure players into replaying the game, while the humor is a welcome addition and shows Cowboy vs. Ninjas vs. Aliens doesn’t take its silly premise too seriously.