Steam Rating: 10/10
Genre: Role-playing video game
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems
What makes video games cool? The story? The graphics? The gameplay? Unfortunately, these three aspects didn’t actually apply to this weird game, if you look at from just one-dimension. The story? Just a main character who travels all over the Western so that his/her name is recognized by everyone. The graphics? Just a bunch of black and white with stick-figures as the character designs. The gameplay? Just pointed and click game, you read the text, read, and read. The rest, I don’t know how to interpret the game. “West of Loathing” actually lies in the humor itself. It’s about playing with humor, you laugh at this and that. This is kind of RPG-style with the Western’s background gives you an impression that is so entertaining thanks to its flexibility focused on the comedy itself. In fact, you need a powerful imagination like reading a novel. This is the one which isn’t recommended for people who don’t actually love to read a thing. Well, what do you expect?
Say howdy to “West of Loathing” — a single-player slapstick comedy adventure role-playing game set in the wild west of the “Kingdom of Loathing” universe. Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and investigate a wide variety of disgusting spittoons.
Talk your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler, plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a wise and subtle Beanslinger, or let your fists do the talking as a fierce Cow Puncher. Explore a vast open world and encounter a colorful cast of characters, some of whom are good, many of whom are bad, and a few of whom are ugly.
- a sprawling open world, chock full of danger, quests, puzzles, and mysteries
- lush hand-drawn black and white graphics
- full stick-figure customization
- thousands of jokes, gags, and goofs
- crunchy turn-based combat (but only if you want it)
- liberal use of the Oxford comma
- over 50 hats
- disreputable saloons
- several gulches
- a drunk horse
NOTE: characters are not literally colorful (the game is in black and white)
It’s start with the main character having a weird dream while you choose the class for your character. The first thing I just wanna say about this is, what the frick? You can play as the Cow Puncher, the Beanslinger, or the Snake Oiler. Cow Puncher is a class where you can punch – a cow, just like the name it said that. Beanslinger is a class where focuses more on mystical and magic. Snake Oiler, which I chose, has a gun and carries a package containing snakes. The player uses these snakes to make a potion such as the heal potion or poison your enemies. All the absurdities you got in this game will be even more than this. In fact, the character customization also seems even more interesting at the beginning of the main menu.
This Asymmetric’s “West of Loathing” is as if it seems boring in a land of nowhere on the boring Western edge without any history. But, it’s about jokes and how this game creates its humor. Every time you interact with various types of NPCs or characters, there is a punchline in each of them. The main points of the narrative you would continuously read and read. If you miss it a little, you lose the entire points of the game. “West of Loathing” as if pulling you into an invalid and solid, a world of scope full of jokes yet weird. Conversations between these characters, various kinds of irony, wordplay, even how you interact with various items, the towns name, and other absurd moments are all in this game.
So many precious moments but some of it will make you annoying for a while. Take for example the Ghost Town’s arc where – spoiler – the player has given the assignment to create a document that will be given to the major in the town. First of all, just as the name implies, this city is filled with ghosts, even the buildings are ghosts. The jokes in this game where the names of the buildings such as the Barn, the Saloon, the Town Hall, etc. are called in common names as like some public modern city. Various kinds of moments will make you annoyed, angry, but laughing such as where you have to find a staple in various buildings. Every building you explore, you will be asked your identity from the middle, beginning and end of your character names. If you misidentify the player’s name, then you have to repeat from the beginning which is kinda annoying because some people also didn’t realize that there is an ID in their inventory. In the end, this is one of the most boring missions with the most ridiculous city, one of the things that make you angry. It’s like Ghost Town, which really arises from dead, a city which deads inside.
The humor itself sometimes contains some references such as the train of the Empire Norton confrontation. This train carries a murder where this reference is “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie because there is one NPC who said that she had just heard of a murder on this train where she temporarily occupied. She said that it would be great if he made it as her novel material which this is Agatha Christie as the NPC. There is some that I just noticed like the crow belonging to the player, Russell. You get it, Russell the crow? Russell Crowe?
The rest of the gameplay is like an RPG. You kill many enemies to gain more experience to increase the character skills that you want such as lockpicking and anything. Some items that you can access depend on your skill level as if you want to open a safe then you have to increase your lockpicking skill depending on the safe itself what it wants. Various items you can use to improve your skills can help you in useful ways. In addition, you use a variety of passive effects which are useful for increasing the character’s muscle, health, attack, mystical, moxie, and others. The combat system uses turn-based as the RPG games that you always see with 3×6 grids. You need various kinds of strategies to defeat these enemies and with the help of your partner depending on who you choose in the first town when you first play. The combat goes straight to the straightforward. Sometimes, you find some cover so that the enemies can’t shoot you but can be destroyed by using a melee attack. The minor problem with this combat system is the consumable items you used without any constraints in-turn except using an active skill or the main attack. It’s not a huge manner because it makes the player easier to complete once a battle but this point is more important in some battles.
Some of the interesting things in this game are you can activate the perks which didn’t quite change the entire games. This is like just to make the game seem even more ridiculous like making the graphic of the game black and white, but it’s already from itself. Besides that, you can also make the player move in-game in funny or unique ways, making the atmosphere feel nostalgic when the color change to sepia, change the size of the fonts, auto experience, and etc. The games also have running gags of the spittoon which in the end, you will use them as a hat which adds some stats. You replace a variety of weapons, hats, badges, pants, shoes so your character stats will increase and some also have unique effects. This game invites you to investigate mysteries and puzzles in each of your journeys. Watching the walkthrough when you can’t finish the puzzle loses the punch if you don’t try. You can at least collect the instructions, assemble them together so that it can be a perfect answer for your every mission.
The music giving you the impression of a Western environment. The banjo, the whistle, anything related to the Western culture in general as you sometimes seen in some movies. Sometimes, it’s full of ambiguity yet creepy when accessing another dimension, such as an artifact left by aliens; or I don’t know what is that. Furthermore, this game encourages you to explore in such a way. You wander on the map to find one and another city. “West of Loathing” lies in the humor itself. It’s not one of the best games when it comes to realistic graphics or the awesome gameplay. There are minor issues about this game where it’s hard to keep off the track about your mission unless you talk to your partner, again. A variety of decisions determine the ending at the end of the game where you would be able to see the final cutscene in the last town at Frisco, “The Final Cutscene.” The game itself is full of questions or remnants of the puzzle which you left behind, a funny moment makes you annoyed to be one of the most memorable because you laugh with all of those jokes. It’s not about visual or anything but it’s about how you enjoy and understand the comedy in this game. It’s full of Spaghetti Western culture, the music, etc., hopefully, Sergio Leone should be proud of this game thanks to Asymmetric.