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I just bought and beat this game today at our family Easter party. I played alongside my cousin and the feeling of camaraderie was palpable. We learned how to play, discovered nuances like invincibility frames, struggled, and overcame hardships together. We're not the best at arcadey shooters like this, but with some practice we were able to get through it. The last level took quite a while, thanks in large part to that pair of robots at the start of the level. It's so impressive how strong the sense of partnership was when were both combating a challenge that was equally difficult for both of us. On the last level we made a breakthrough on the last level and got further than ever, only for my cousin to die just before the final boss. There was a genuine feeling of disappointment in having to continue on to the final boss without him when we'd been through every other challenge together. In the end, though, victory was sweet. It's impressive how far a stiff, yet fair challenge goes towards creating a sense of cooperation between players, with almost no context or motivation in terms of plot.
I enjoyed Wild Guns a lot. It's challenge falls in just the right place for me, it's full of personality and charm, and it controls very well. Once you get the hang of things, it feels great to take down enemies while keeping an eye on your position and incoming fire, dodging out of a flurry of shots at the last minute. Dodging shots and meleeing up-close enemies feels so good. It also helps that I have a soft spot for these kinds of shooters. What are they called? Rail shooters? I'm talking about the kind where your character's movement is independent from your reticle. Think Sin and Punishment, rather than Starfox 64. Maybe they're both the same genre. Does anyone recommend any games like this?
Lou gave me Sunset Riders years ago, and I'm pretty sure it's almost the same game. Fun stuff! As far as other games with a similar mecganic, only P.O.W. comes to mind, though it's not even within earshot of the same level of entertainment.