Delphi isn't a gamer, and just because practically everyone else has embraced Absolute Reality doesn't mean she sees the appeal.
But High Noon is fundamentally different from the games that have come before it. It takes place in your mind, and once she steps into that Wild West that never was, a raucous free-for-all filled to the brim with Demonic pacts, body-modders, steampunk Technicals and Gunslinging miscreants, the game's most-lauded feature takes the reins:
None of the players know they're playing. High Noon is as real as life, right up until it isn't.
And if Delphi wants her inheritance in the real world, she has to find the township of Hope Springs.
Gunslinger’s Code is the first book in a sprawling litRPG series that will rebuild a Weird West that wasn’t. Once readers finish each episode, they’ll be able to influence the events that take place in the next book. So, strap on your six-shooter, power up your mini-boiler and hope the Devil himself don’t come calling!
My Opinion: 183 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is an interesting take on LitRPG and is heavily influenced by the TV show West World. The main character (MC) Delphi Valentine is trying to find her inheritance in a game world that takes full immersion to the next level by making players forget they’re in a game. Instead they have memories implanted and experience adventures as their characters.
Game mechanic-wise, there are some original stats, standard leveling, and some well themed skill and abilities that the MC can get. Unfortunately, the only time you see these game mechanics is during sleep periods or when the MC finds a special place. Then the MC is fully aware of the game, upgrades skills, levels, sees how far she’s advanced in quests and achievements. But once she wakes up, all that is supressed and it’s not mentioned. About half way through the story a way to introduce these game elements into the story pops up with another player having ‘the sight’ and is able to see percentages about weapons and upgrades that have added extra damage. But the MC herself doesn’t have this.
Storywise, this is very slice of life. There are long term goals the MC has and there’s a nice introduction to the world section, but it’s mostly the MC adventuring, talking to herself, and exploring this world. The West World influence is clearly seen by the western theme, but also the plot idea that everyone you meet in the story is either a NPC construct or a player with their memories suppressed playing a role without knowing it. The small adventures that the MC goes on are interesting, but they feel like a series of short stories that are connected together. Also, the ending is a little abrupt. The story is meant to be part of a longer serial series so it kind of makes sense that it’s a sudden ‘to be continued’ kind of ending but it left a lot of things unresolved.
Overall, I think this just barely has enough to be considered LitRPG and that’s only because of the introduction of game mechanics to the main story at the half-way mark. Otherwise the RPG aspects felt very isolated and there is no clear impact of them on the story which makes them feel less important. There are hints that this may change in future novels, but for now it just wasn’t a satisfying read for me.
Score: 6 out of 10