If Red Dead Redemption were a free-to-play social game, it would be pretty horrible, filled with mundane click quests governed by an energy meter, constant pressure to bug your friends to join your posse, and brief spurts of action that amount to little more than timed tapping. It would be The Lone Ranger.
First off, if I am playing a game called The Lone Ranger, I'd much prefer to play as the actual guy, instead of the man you see to the left of the legendary hero in the screen above. I suppose I am still a ranger, but without my own personal native American "companion" it's just not quite the same.
Despite my status as The Generic Ranger, the game actually starts off on a promising note. There's a stagecoach being attacked by the Get-Along Gang (not their real name), and you and ol' Lonely team up for a bit of head-tapping gun-fighting, followed by a bad-guy shooting gallery. There's enough excitement and explosions to fill an entire trailer.
And then the real game begins.
You're charged with protecting the town of Colby. This involves performing heroic acts of heroism the likes of which non-heroes can never hope to hero.
When you aren't helping the town clean and build things via Mafia Wars-style meter-filling, you can participate in old-fashioned gunfights. These are reflexive speed-tapping affairs, augmented by stats the require players to purchase enough gear to their defense and attack numbers are greater or at least close to their foes, be they other players' avatars or NOC gunmen.
Six bullets. Nothing annoys a varmit like shooting them six times. He looks ticked.
There's a story woven about all of this heart-stopping action, complete with cutscenes that really show off the game's 3D engine.
But mainly there's clicking until your energy runs out, and then waiting for more energy, and that's no way to treat the guy that every now and then interacts with the greatest hero of the Old West.
Genre: Free-to-Play Social Adventure
Developer: Disney Mobile Games
Platforms: Android, iOS
Get The Lone Ranger on iTunes — Coming Soon to Google Play