With its hand-drawn art style, 12 is Better Than 6 certainly grabs your attention from the outset.
Originally released on PC in 2015, this Western-themed top-down shooter takes clear inspiration from Hotline Miami. But it has enough tricks up its sleeve to stand on its own two feet. And it’s now available on Nintendo Switch.
Starting the game as a slave, it isn’t long until you’ve broken free. And once you’re on the run, the game truly begins. Being set in the Wild West, gunplay makes up a large part of 12 is Better Than 6, but it takes a little getting used to. You see, with your trusty revolver raised, you can’t just hammer the trigger to shoot willy-nilly. Instead, you need to cock the revolver with one trigger before pressing the other to shoot. Fail to do so, and you’re likely to quickly find yourself overrun with enemies, and then riddled with bullet holes yourself.
It feels strange at first. You’re likely to find yourself being shot over and over again until you get the hang of it. But once it clicks, it just works. You’ll find a rhythm of cocking your gun and then firing, perhaps also combining the process with moving in and out of cover to increase your chances of survival. It adds a little more skill and strategy to the game.
The revolver isn’t the only weapon you have access to, though. Anything your enemies are carrying can be picked up once you’ve dealt with them, including rifles and shotguns. You probably won’t be finding much ammo for them though, so you’ll resort back to using your revolver eventually. Dynamite can be picked up and thrown too – just try not to get caught up in the blast. And there’s always the stealthy approach to consider. Many of 12 is Better Than 6‘s short levels can be completed without killing everyone in sight, and with your knife, you can take out many enemies in absolute silence.
12 is Better Than 6 isn’t the biggest game in the world – you’re likely to complete it in around five hours – but it’s chock full of action. You rarely go a minute without shooting or stabbing someone, and when you do die you’re thrown back into the fray pretty much instantly. It a game that keeps you going back for one more go; one more attempt at a particularly tricky bit that’s had you stumped for the last quarter of an hour. And as you progress you’re rewarded with upgrades that make you feel ever more like a badass.
The game does have some issues, though. Your limited view is one of them, resulting in some deaths that just feel cheap. The action eventually becomes overly repetitive, too, meaning you’ll be glad when the credits roll.
Still, for £8.99/$9.99, 12 is Better Than 6 certainly offers enough bang for your buck. With Hotline Miami currently not available on Nintendo’s hybrid device, it allows you to scratch a similar itch but with a Western flavour. Just don’t expect it to leave you quite as impressed as Dennaton Games’ classic. Mechanically, Hotline Miami is just a notch above in the gameplay stakes.