West of Loathing
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

West of Loathing is a single player role playing game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which results in a wild quest through the west. The world in which the game is set might be made up out of stick figures, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t fleshed out. There are tons of locations to explore, plenty of puzzles to solve and hordes of enemies to defeat. Even better, it is the type of RPG where stats actually make a difference and your choices make a difference. Fans of the genre will love the amount of depth that the game has, but everyone else will appreciate the brilliant sense of humor.

Gameplay: Packed with plenty to see and do, along with a healthy dose of humor.

Graphics: The black and white stick figure style visuals might look simple at first, but definitely has a lot of charm

Sound: Although the game doesn’t feature any voice acting, it has a great soundtrack and plenty of sound effects

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West of Loathing

Developer: Asymmetric  | Publisher: Asymmetric  | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Adventure / Indie / RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Boring Springs is the kind of place that you would leave as soon as you are able to, which is exactly what your character in West of Loathing does after a short tutorial. Once you have decided whether you would like to be a Beanslinger, Cow Puncher or Snake Oiler, you can ride off into the sunset and try to make a name for yourself in the Wild West. However, if the character classes were not a dead giveaway, West of Loathing isn’t exactly the type of western setting you might be familiar with. Sure, it has towns, saloons, horses and bandits, but also necromancers, skeletons and demonic cows. It is also the kind of world where meat is the primary currency and treasure can be found at the bottom of a spittoon.

Although West of Loathing makes use of stick-figure style artwork and doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is also a damn good role playing game. All too often games that parody the genre end up falling flat because delivering the same old tropes with a nudge and a wink doesn’t actually make them more fun. West of Loathing sidesteps this problem by actually being very funny and a whole lot of fun to play. It is a single player RPG where the emphasis is firmly on comedy, which means most of the time spent playing it is done while grinning from ear to ear. It doesn’t matter how sullen you are, West of Loathing will wear you down with the sheer amount of jokes and puns it constantly throws at you until you eventually crack a smile, even if it is grudgingly. This is all thanks to the brilliant writing style and crazy world that you get to explore.

If you are looking for an epic story you probably won’t find it in this game. Although demonic cows are on the rampage, your character isn’t exactly out to save the world. In fact, depending on the choices you make, your character can be the type of person who sneaks up on someone in a bathtub and drowns them. Of course, there are also plenty of folks with problems that need solving if you are feeling kindhearted, or you can just roam around hitting skeletons in the face with snakes or blowing up bandits with dynamite. If all you want to see are the end credits, then helping the railroad make their way further westward should be your primary concern, but for some of the best bits in the game it is worth seeking out all of the side quests. From apprehending bandits like the “Stripey Hat Gang” and “Gherkin Brothers” to figuring out the mysteries of El Vibrato or taking down a Necromancer, there is no shortage of things to do in West of Loathing.

The most striking thing about West of Loathing is obviously the visuals, and while everything is hand-drawn in black and white, the graphics are not without charm.

It can take a while to get used to the unique style, but once you do it quickly becomes apparent how much effort has gone into making the game. Not only are there tons of unique locations, but the game also features some brilliant animations and great use of shadows for darker areas. Everything is viewed from a side-on perspective and while the locations aren’t very big, all of them are a pleasure to explore. From forts and mines to towns, gulches and even a circus and petting cemetery, West of Loathing is crammed with places to go and things to discover. The game uses an overworld map to travel and virtually every trip between locations results in discovering a new point of interest along the way or getting into a random encounter.

Speaking of encounters, combat in West of Loathing is turn based and you are joined in combat by a single partner who you get to choose at the start of the game. In addition to ranged and melee attacks you can also use class specific skills as well as items during combat to turn the odds in your favor. Food and drinks can be used for buffs, while an impressive assortment of hats and other items can be equipped for further stat boosts. West of Loathing is also the type of RPG where your stats actually matter and while things like Gumption, Moxie and Grit might sound goofy, they actually play an important role. You can choose to let the game automatically handle stat increases when you level up, or do it yourself to create a more unique character. Push enough points into the right stats and you can go through the game charming everyone in your path and using words to get out of trouble instead of weapons. It is also worth learning skills like picking locks or cracking safes along with a couple of more esoteric talents.

Unsurprisingly for a game that makes use of stick figures, West of Loathing doesn’t feature any speech, but more than makes up for this with a killer Western soundtrack. The game features enough tunes and sound effects to fool anyone not looking at your screen that you are busy watching an epic Wild West movie. The control scheme is very straightforward and everything can be accomplished with a mouse and a couple of keyboard shortcuts. Interacting with the gameworld is as simple as walking into things, but the game also throws in the occasional puzzle that will leave you scratching your head.

West of Loathing is a great game, but not everyone is going to appreciate the visual style. The fact that the game doesn’t have an epic story, but instead focuses on plenty of fun quests that can be enjoyed even in short bursts, might also deter some players. Finally, while combat isn’t as much of a chore as it can be in many turn based role playing games, it is still one of the weakest elements of the game. Despite all of this, we had a blast playing West of Loathing and kept coming back for more even after watching the end credits roll. The way that the map continually fills up with new locations to explore as you progress means there’s something to do every time you play and three different character classes also boosts the replay value. The best part of the game is definitely the writing and it is refreshing to play a game that is not just fun, but also genuinely funny.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2+
  • Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1+
  • Processor: 3.3 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1 GB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • OS: 10.9+
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • OS: 10.9+
  • Processor: 3.3 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1 GB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Processor: 3.3 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Processor: 3.6 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1 GB
  • Storage: 4 GB available space

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