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The story in West of Loathing is one of love and loss. You are the witty protagonist, a stick man teen set off from his family’s home to explore the world. Unfortunately, Cows from Hell are rampaging all along the countryside, and so you begin investigating that while simply exploring your world, meeting new stick people and forming friendships (and enmities) along the way.
The comedy in West of Loathing never relents, and is very much in the fusion of Clint Eastwood meets The Holy Grail. Of course, this is a western, but the memes and pop culture references also never relent, and to optimal effect. The writing is just awesome, tongue in cheek, and hilarious.
9 out of 10
West of Loathing is a stickman game, and so you can expect sketch art as the medium of expression here. Mostly black and white, minimalist sketch art. Again, this is done to optimal effect and it really becomes endearing and comfortable. While the artwork is sparse, it is as evocative as it is effective. Also, the style really assists in the healthy serving of sarcastic exposition you will encounter throughout.
9 out of 10
The gameplay in West of Loathing is really a combination of 2-D open world exploration and JRPG style combat.
There is an overlay map, from which you will explore the open terrain finding towns, old mines, ranches, forts, and other random spots. The 2-D map, from which you will handle direct exploration, combat, dialogue, and so on is set up in pretty basic fashion. You have your base areas and then buildings/caves/etc…that you can explore. No one area is very large, but each makes complete sense as far as its design goes and fits perfectly with the overall theme of the game.
The combat system is handled in traditional JRPG style face offs with some very forgiving RNG’s (random number generators), base attacks, special attacks, and of course item usage. It’s actually a pretty easy game and you really shouldn’t die very often.
To assist in this, you have an infinite number of inventory slots with which to carry the various weapons, limited use items (such as food and drink for buffs, items which cause specific types of damage, healing objects, lockpicks, and of course crafting materials.
Crafting is an essential part of this game and you will craft a lot of items through the course of your adventure. It happens in a variety of ways as well. For example, you will need a stove to bake bans, a silversmiths table to craft silver bullets and lockpicks, etc…
Additionally, you can and will build relationships, via conversations and/or side quests. The side quests often poke fun at the standard RPG tropes by making you do them almost to the point of exhaustion while also making fun of the situation as you do. In fact, this game in general is about breaking down and making fun of the RPG standards.
There is actually quite a bit more to this surprisingly deep game, but I’ll leave off for now.
9 out of 10
The audio is actually done to perfection. From the ambient sounds you would expect from a western to music that would fit in any Clint Eastwood film, you are in for a treat with regards to the audio in West of Loathing.
10 out of 10
West of Loathing is a game that, simply by appearance, can be easily dismissed. However, that would be a mistake as it actually ended up being an excellent game worthy of at least on and possibly even two or three playthroughs. You will be doing yourself a favor by picking this one up.
9.3 belligerent and drunk stick man horses out of 10 possible. The other .7? Well….they say you sometimes lose a bit of yourself when you get THAT drunk.