Game: West of Loathing
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Asymmetric Publications
Developer: Asymmetric Publications
Price: £9.00/ $11.00/ € 9,00 / $ 14.00(AUS)
Overall feeling: I Like it a Lot!
(This review was first published on Japanesenintendo.com, review copy provided by Asymmetric Publications)
West of Loathing is a comedy adventure game that was released for various computer systems in 2017.
West of Loathing is an animated adventure, everything is in a black and white stick figure style. While the art may seem simplistic, there is still a fair amount of detail to it. At the very start of the game I learned the Stupid Walking skill from my bookcase. Which gives you a plentiful amount of “walking” animations, I had no desire to turn it off. The game has a Wild West setting with some additions such as demonic cows and hippies. It also takes place after an event simply known as “The Day the Cows Came Home”.
This adventure game features turn based combat. At the start of the game you can choose from three classes, Cow Puncher, Bean Slinger or Snake Oiler. I chose Snake Oiler, which enables me to whip people with snakes. Experience points are put into the three main stats, Moxie, Mysticality and Moxie as well as skills. These skills are either combat skills, or unique adventure abilities such as Lockpickin’.
There are also Perks you can from doing various things. I earned Ruthless because I shot the lookout boy in the first bandit hideout. I also gained negative perks such as White Hair (-3 Moxie) because I studied Necromancy. There are no levels, only stats, skills, perks and effects. As items can temporarily increase stats I focused more on leveling my miscellaneous skills.
When you enter the first town you’re forced to wear a hat to drink in the bar. There are many hats in the game, as well as embellishments, off-hand items, rings, pants and boots. Food, booze and potions are stat effecting items that last daily. A day passes when you choose to sleep or you get beaten too many times and pass out from anger. There are also combat items, quest items, books and random junk used for crafting or quests. While when opening up the game all these options can seem like a lot, the combat itself is quite simple. If you desire you can allow the game auto allocate the experience points as well.
The rest of the gameplay is exploring areas to collect items and complete tasks for people. Once I left home and acquired a hat, I went on errands for townsfolk. I collected bounties for the sheriff and found a newspaper for the cactus man. This game is plenty dialogue heavy, which is fine when it’s such entertaining writing as this. I did find a couple of memes, but sparingly as most all of the writing is original. Most any game that let’s me sass the prompt window has got to be a good game. I especially upset it by insisting on fishing in the spittoons of every town.
I shot a man instead of collecting the soap and wasn’t able to trade in for what someone wanted. Which is where I learned that some tasks can be permanently screwed up in a playthrough. Since after collecting a horse and leaving the first town I could never go back to it. This was something that worried me as I explored more and more past Dirtwater. As it turns out only your home and the first town are permanently closed off. The game also autosaves near every turn.
We’re Heading West, Pardner
I came to the town of Dirtwater with both a horse and pardner. My partner choice was Susie, and whenever we defeated enough cows she became stronger. I continued as I had, collecting bandit bounties and coming across more and more locations. There are forts, mines, shops, homes, missions and even a circus. Many locations have puzzles, the adventure type and some more math based ones. Often I found I just needed to pay attention to the dialogue when I first came across certain places. If you aren’t into puzzles the game has plenty of guides online.
After discovering the railroad you can progress the main plot. As you collect enough dynamite to clear the path you can head further West. Again the railroad needs something, so you perform tasks for a town in exchange for their lumber. Once the train meets the last location of Frisco however you are attacked, and once recovering your eyesight can engage in the final battle. The final battle is one of the places you can’t go back which meant I missed on some things my levels weren’t high enough for. That said, you can continue to play the game as normal after doing so.
While I knew the game was short I was surprised when my pardner said I could play the final cutscene. Playing it teaches you how you have effected the land for better or worse. Perhaps even what you might have missed out on. The game will resume as normal after playing the cutscene. I managed to get the good ending first time as I searched how to save some people from the circus and learned of something else.
The Wild Wild West
The humor and encounters are a massive part of the game which I why I didn’t want to say too much of it. This game is certainly for a mature audience. The American rating for it in the e-shop is Teen. It features booze, murder, loco weed, hell cows and an allusion to a bit more mature content. That last one is an area making fun of John Kellogg and where you can earn a pair of chastity pants.
The game controls on the Switch work wonderfully, both in handheld and docked it runs well. There are a small amount of tracks, however during my play through I did not tire of it. The writing is wonderfully humorous. Location types may look very similar, but it’s the characters therein that make all the difference. The combat is somewhat simple and rarely difficult which might bother some more than others. The game took me approximately eight hours to beat, and I had trouble putting it down the entire time. While I simply wish for more content due to the enjoyment it gave me, it is still a great game.
West of Loathing is a game I like a lot!