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About the StoryStep into the shoes of Mute Lawton, a lone cowboy who must stop an execution set to occur at noon by shooting his way past dangerous cyborgs and mutants in a post-apocalyptic western setting. (From the IndieGames.com review.)
Gun Mute is intended as an Interactive Fiction shoot-em-up. Each location presents you with a simple puzzle which you must solve before you can progress to the next location and, in contrast to the Inform parser's famous default response, violence usually is the answer. (From the ABOUT text.)
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Winner, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2008 XYZZY Awards
The Independent Gaming Source
That Pacian can craft some tricky puzzles around such a limited set of actions is a testament to his abilities as a game designer. But it's the narrative, set in a far-out futuristic Western, that keeps you hooked until the final, climactic showdown. Games like this really show off why interactive fiction is such a unique and exciting genre. Superb work!
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Play This Thing!
Shooting Gallery in Text
Gun Mute is my favorite of this small new genre: it's got a charming story and setting, the puzzles are fair and rational, and there are lots of colorful side characters. If we were using genre titles borrowed from other media, I'd have to put it on its own tiny shelf labeled "post-apocalyptic western gay romance" -- but since we're not, I can just call it a successful combat puzzle game, and leave it at that.
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Number of Reviews: 14
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
I would expect Gun Mute to appeal to people who enjoyed the recent combat-puzzle games Slap That Fish or Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies, but I think it is a bit better-designed than either of those. The puzzles generally seemed fairer than the ones in Slap That Fish, and it's clearer from the outset what the player is supposed to be doing. Meanwhile, the environment is more richly imagined than AotYRZ, not only because the player is allowed to look around and examine objects, but also because some care has been put into developing a coherent setting. This is a strange vision of a post-nuclear society which has gone back to old-west manners and mores, except with a somewhat more modern view on acceptable romantic pairings. There's also more of an overarching plot: nothing very complicated, but satisfying for the size of game this is.
It's not a long game (and the gameplay premise would probably wear thin if it were), but I found Gun Mute novel and enjoyable.
"Gun Mute" offers a fantastic little glimpse at a grimly strange future world. The characters that Mute must defeat are all stereotypes from western and sci-fi pulps, but the twisted character types make for interesting targets/allies. All the enemies have names prefaced by adjectives, my favorite being Glow-in-the-Dark Earl.
None of the puzzles are too difficult, although there are a number of learn-by-dying puzzles. Some puzzles require extremely tight timing. (Spoiler - click to show)I can't imagine anyone getting past Atomic Alice without being crushed at least once. I never found this frustrating, however. Even the best gunman gets outshot sometimes. Given the situation, this serves as an effective tension builder, not as a pointless irritant. The game mechanics in general create a feeling of urgency and a need to continue on. "Gun Mute" uses only "forward" and "backward" instead of the usual compass directions. I found this inspired a powerful urge to go onward, ever onward, even when I realized that I had forgotten to do something in a previous level. Although the game itself is not timed, I could still practically feel that clock ticking towards noon.
There are one or two minor changes that, in a perfect world, I would like to see in "Gun Mute". A counter of how much ammo I had left at the top of the screen would have been quite handy (Spoiler - click to show)and would have spared Mute a couple of needless deaths. My other quibble involves the plot. Although I have no doubt that Elias is innocent and Mute's mission just, I cannot help but wonder what Elias's alleged crime is. So far as I can tell, no explanation is given for his death sentence. However, these are minor points in an otherwise wonderful and original game.
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Recommended ListsGun Mute appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Distinctive Puzzle Style by Sam Kabo Ashwell
One of the most powerful techniques for rendering a game memorable is to build it around a unusual, interesting and consistent way of handling significant world interaction (or puzzles, if you prefer). It's also a difficult technique to...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Gun Mute:
Canonicity and IF by juliaofbath
I'm interested in determining whether or not a clear canon has emerged within the world of IF/hypertext. Of course, there is a clear critical opinion regarding which works belong to this tentative canon, but I'm interested in what...
Games with non-standard directions by Andrew Schultz
I'm wondering about games (primarily parser) with weird directions beyond NW/SW/SE/NE, up, down or inside/outside. I like the example in the Inform docs (Charles S. Roberts) about hexagonal directions but have no clue how to go about...
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