Game: Boot Hill Heroes
Genre: Adventure, RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also Steam, PS4, & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Experimental Gamer Studios
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £7.69 | EU €9,99 | US $9.99
Release Date: December 15th 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Experimental Gamer Studios
Grab Your Cowboy Hat
Boot Hill Heroes is a classic RPG with retro graphic set in the Wild West. You play as ‘Kid’ a young farm boy who sets out to the city to get a job to help pay the mortgage for his mother’s house. But it doesn’t take long before a video game plot needs to happen! You soon find yourself on an adventure to take down the Saints – Little gang and prevent a war between the people of Bronco County and the Chepakwik Indians.
As the story progresses you team up with three other unique characters. Doc the bounty hunter, Moon an Indian Princess and Rosy a calamity Jane. While each character follows a typical Wild West story troupe they are a fun posse and plenty of time is given to develop these characters. Since this is a RPG expect plenty of dialogue and story to dive into but along the way you will no doubt have a few laughs as the game is not shy to add plenty of humour between the odd serious moment.
Different Take on Active Time Battles
The general flow of Boot Hill Heroes is a typical RPG moving from point A to point B. If you get lost your dog will be about to remind you of your active quest and save your game. There is plenty of NPCs to talk to as well as areas to explore and items to collect. As you explore the map you’re able to see enemies wandering about. These range from animals to child bullies to outlaws. You can choose to avoid them but of course at some stage fights are inevitable.
The default battle system is a fast paced real – time system. What this means is that the battle timer is constantly counting down so you need to quickly select actions against your enemy as they will happily attack at their nearest chance. This generally makes battles flow quicker than traditional turn based RPGs. It does mean you need to make selections for your characters quite quickly.
Each of your characters has four selectable actions or ‘vantages’ which you can customize in the menus and each tailor to your preferred style. There is a mixture of attack and defense options, some of which are tied to specific weapons. Boot Hill Heroes encourages you to make use of defense actions in order to avoid major attacks from enemies and possibly evade them entirely to then follow them up with a hit. But everything has a blue timer. It’s all about timing things just right. But perfection is not essential and mistakes are absolutely fine. Should you find it all a bit fast and frantic you can dip into the options and switch things to a slower and more turn based mechanic and alter the games overall difficulty if needed.
To start with I found it a bit hard to juggle actions and follow enemy actions at the same time. But after some experience it became endearing and I found myself kinda enjoying going into battles. That’s not to say the game doesn’t have it’s grindy RPG moments. Even though you can avoid encounters if you hover close to enemies they will seek you out so when you’re trying to complete a mission or just explore for chests this can be a bit of a pain. Despite the games new take on the turn based formula I’m not sure it’s enough to win a new crowd over to the genre but it certainly gives Boot Hill Heroes a unique identity because of it.
Bring a Friend or Three
Boot Hill Heroes has the ability to play co-op with up to four other players. Basically in battles each player controls a single character. I can see this actually being very handy and ease the juggling act of choosing actions between the characters yourself. A nice feature to include but I imagine most people will opt to go solo. The early section of the game mostly only has two people in your party so one wonders if you did play this with four people if someone has to sit in the corner and wait, which might be a bit dull.
There is a meaty long RPG to get stuck into here that plays great in handheld and TV modes. A niggle I had with the general flow of the game is that it does take a while for some of the game features to get going. For a large portion at the start of the gaming you literally have no money and you walk past several shops and crafting areas with no way to engage unless a quest character gives you some coin or you sell some precious resources you have. You also don’t get money from most enemy encounters so you can’t grind for it. As mentioned it certainly feels unique compared to other RPGs.
The Retro West
The graphics of Boot Hill Heroes are a bit of muddle. When you’re walking about the design is simple retro aesthetics and sprites, there’s this sort of kid friendly feel to the design which some will link to the infamous Mother or Earthbound series. In battles the sprites appear like these crudely drawn paper cut outs. Though I will give credit: it’s amusing when you hit some enemies and the paper sprite will sometimes catapult into the background. The problem with the Wild West setting is it’s hard to make things standout. Environments are deserts, caves and wooden towns. I feel the developers did a decent job with what they had but some may look at the screen shots and find things a little bland.
Head into the Sunset
Boot Hill Heroes is a decent RPG with a heart of Wild West gold. While some might find the graphic style a little crude there is a meaty RPG to get stuck into here with an interesting battle system and customization options, also the characters and story telling are pretty neat too.
Grab your cowboy hat and prepare for a Wild RPG adventure.
Final Verdict: I like it
Boot Hill Heroes is actually the first game in the Boot Hill series and if you like this. I recommend checking out the sequel Boot Hill Bounties which is already available on Switch.