Right between the pixels.
Varmints. You'll find plenty of them in Atari's free-to-play iPhone and iPad effort, Outlaw, a revamped version of its classic 1976 arcade game. Whereas the original pit players mano-a-mano against each other to see who was the fastest draw in the West, the iOS version is more of a light gun style shooter, with users dragging a targeting reticule around the touch screen to line up bad guys, then tapping to score headshots. A fun, albeit limited, distraction.
Players will do this across a handful of stages with cool names like Lost Dutchman Mine, Kettle Ranch the always amusing Fort Beaver. Through it all, the primary goal remains the same: blast baddies before they return the favor.
Succeed, and you'll earn silver coins or gold bars (not exactly easy to come by) that go towards unlocking better weapons and making upgrades. Here, Atari did an admirable job putting together a solid collection of dangerous looking guns, like the Cannon Pistol, Tar Ball Gun, Buzz Sawyer (flings razor sharp blades) and Mortar Musket, to name a few. Of course, the more powerful toys cost the most virtual cash, and you'll need to make the decision to grind it out like a rough and tough cowboy, or pony up the dough. We prefer the former, but if the temptation to wield the Tesla Gun is too great, we don't blame you for making the in-app purchase.
By and large, Outlaw provides a couple hours of fun, depending on how much time and/or money you invest. The artwork is disappointingly low-res, but considering the game's free, it's a cool shoot-em-up that provides a welcome escape. The lack of a wow factor notwithstanding, we'd rather play this over its predecessor.
What's Hot: Welcome change of pace from the arcade hit, a plethora of imaginative weapons, free-to-play.
What's Not: Low-resolution graphics, tough to advance without in-app purchase, gets old too fast.