I’m a total sucker for cel-shaded graphics and the Western genre in video game form so it’s little wonder Raptus Games’ App Store debut – which makes a decent fist of both – caught my eye the very moment it swaggered onto the App Store.

Coming off like a mish-mash of pulpy, Spagetti Western and Time Crisis-esque arcade shooter, Draw: The Showdown (out now, $1.99) plonks players in the boots of a rookie lawman as he sets out to prove his salt by cleaning up the crime-ridden streets of Coyote, a mining settlement that’s fallen under the control of the villianous Led Belly* and his gang of gun slingin’ goons.

Now, for whatever reason, “on” and “rails” are dirty words as far as a lot of iOS gamers are concerned, but I’ll freely admit to thoroughly enjoying the likes of Red Gun and RAGE, so Draw gets a free pass from me in that regard, and I’d venture to say that anyone else willing to put their preconceptions to one side and give it a go is likely to have a blast with this title too.

The aim of the game is nice ‘n straightforward: earn a high score by gunning down as many baddies as you can before they manage to permanently retire Coyote’s newest sheriff. Armed with three lives and a six-shooter you patrol the town’s dusty walkways, blowing away bandits as they spring out from behind buildings or pop up through trap doors. An intuitive tap-to-shoot system takes care of blasting at enemies while you either shake your iDevice or tap an icon on the bottom right of the touchscreen to reload your weapon. Draw barrels along at a rapid-fire pace so you’ll have to be, ahem, incredibly quick on the draw to rack up good-sized body count, keep the combos flowing, and snag the cash and power-ups slain enemies occasionally drop.

It’s a criticism you could level at a lot of rail shooters, of course, but Draw’s core gameplay is a little repetitive and one-dimensional, so thankfully Raptus saw fit to leverage a compelling upgrade system into the game – which helps no end in adding an extra layer of depth to the arcade-y proceedings. Points and cash you earn while playing can be used to purchase better weapons and customize your character with daft new hats and outfits at the in-game store. Be warned though: if you fancy dual wielding pistols or rocking a poncho and fez, you’ll have to sink quite a bit of time into the game as cash is hard-won.

All in all, Draw is a fun game, albeit one that does still have plenty of wiggle room for improvement. While the vibrant cel-shaded graphics really pop off the screen, character animations are jerky and could stand to be straightened out. I’d also love to see a few more levels be added in future updates as it does get a tad monotonous endlessly tramping around the same environment.

*No, not the renown folk and blues musician! At least I don’t think so.
 

iFanzine Verdict: This Western-fueled rail shooter impresses with slick controls and sharp graphics while a compelling upgrade system means it also possesses more depth than first meets the eye. Well worth a look-see for fans of the Western genre who are waiting impatiently for the likes of Six-Guns and Legendary Outlaw to hit the App Store.