sun 22/05/2022

Westerado: Double Barreled | reviews, news & interviews

Westerado: Double Barreled

Westerado: Double Barreled

Manifest destiny... for a few pixels more

'Westerado': saddle up pilgrims!Ostrich Banditos

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play... and corrupt oil prospectors shoot you as soon as look at you, and ankle-biting rattlesnakes lurk under the sand dunes, and abandoned gold mines are teeming with bandits.

In this world, described by the talented five Banditos over at developers Ostrich as being “built out of the grittiest pixels this side of Montezuma”, our unnamed hero awakens to discover his family slaughtered and his idyllic homestead burned to cinders. Alas! If only they’d been wearing their cowboy hats for protection! With a fist full of pixels and revenge on his mind, our hero must travel the length and breadth of this lethal landscape in order to unravel this murder-mystery, ingratiating himself with the townsfolk in order to collect clues from their gossip.

These hardened homesteaders are not willing to gossip easily however. Our hero must prove his worth to the good, the bad and the ugly in order to get information. But be wary, because your hero is pretty quick with the accusations, and every decision you make has consequences.

westerado homesteadIf you fail to get enough buffalo from one ranch to another, the knock on effect will be that you are forced to go and steal buffalo from someone else you were supposed to be helping. And think twice about going on a rampage if you lose all your money in the saloon playing poker – being run out of town will do nothing to help your attempts to pump the locals for info on those who are wanted dead or deader. It is hilarious though. And incredibly satisfying, seeing how most of these folk are apparently too lazy or cowardly to do anything for themselves.

From marauding Indians, lost miners, drunk husbands, buffalo battles and despotic oil tycoons, there is plenty to keep you occupied in this game, and the precisely pixelated open world is vast enough for you to be discovering new areas all the time. You’ll be riding those horses so much you’ll have an extremely… wait for it… raw hide! And just when you think you’ve found every nook and cranny above ground, you realise there’s an entire network of mines to explore too.

The replayability of this game is well worth the money; there are multiple endings depending on how savvy you fail to be, and there’s also a co-op mode which can be both a blessing and a curse if your fellow amigo decides to go on a bloodthirsty vendetta-spree and drag you along with him.

For a few pixels more, you can buy a homestead and start a new life, or you can fritter it away on brilliant guns and some of the most outrageous hats you ever did see. (And hats are very important in this game, being the only thing between you and certain death/respawn.) You can gamble it away or shove it all in a bank to save it from the sticky fingers of the good Samaritan who "saves" you when you die. Which you will. Because there’s as many banditoes as there are tumble weeds in this beautifully rendered game.

saloon styleThe attention to detail of the designers is worth noting, from the fluttering of the birds as they fly when you approach, to the tones of the shadows of the trees as the sun dawns and sets, right down to the single white pixel of spit your character lets fly to the floor when he’s idling because you’re distracted from your keyboard.

And have I even mentioned the music? Sam Van Lonkhuyzen has outdone himself with this soundtrack, which is a piece of art in itself. Incorporating trumpet, harmonica, banjo, piano, violin and guitar, he has created an atmosphere for this game which only Ennio Morricone could contend with. It’s truly gorgeous, and a perfect accompaniment to the schmooozing and shooting you’ll have to be doing to survive this game and find out exactly who dunnit.   

Helen K Parker on twitter

You’ll have an extremely… wait for it… raw hide!


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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