(Cover art: 8-bit rendering of a sunset)
You’re a hardened bounty hunter, the toughest this side of town, and you’re riding in the sunset when you see a figure. And that rarely means good news.
The writing in Out West is elegant and spare, which suited the setting. I thought there was a little too much reflection- thoughts which could be
This game was oddly coy with the action. Every time action is promised, there are numerous little pacing devices to distance the player from the shoot-enemy-and-move-on action that one might expect from a Western. No, instead of letting you blast enemies, it takes a more reflective pace, reminding you of Ma’s sayings. The contemplative air felt at odds with the sense of urgency that the game was trying to create, though it worked in the later half.
Out West features lovely pixel art and adds to the tone of the story. The game is well-thought out and I enjoyed the writing. It certainly gives a nice dark slant to the classic Western setting, but there were things that irked me, which I can’t discuss without spoilers.
Out West works in a cyclical fashion, where you ‘die’ after running from the stranger or standing him down, then are given instructions. Given the nature of what we might call the antagonist, this actually made a lot of sense. What was a bit more infuriating was the game’s unwillingness to let the player know if we had made any progress towards the goal. This style was done in Bigger than You Think, or Endless, Nameless, and in those games, it was clear what you were meant to do differently in each iteration. Here, there seem to be only trivial differences in the outcome of each iteration, no matter what you do. There’s also no indication whether you’re come anywhere closer to the goal. The PC is told that they’re supposed to harvest souls for the entity, but the actual harvesting is never shown – only the aftermath (at least, that’s what I thought it was) – and the entity never seems to acknowledge what you’re done.
Also, an even more spoilery thing, but one which niggled at me: jul vf gur CP nqqerffrq nf Orrymroho? Vs gur CP vf nqqerffrq nf fhpu, gura jub vf nqqerffvat gur CP?