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Apr 17, 2015

Westerado: Double Barreled Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $14.99
We Recommend: $11.99
  • Developer: Ostrich Banditos
  • Publisher: Adult Swim Games
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie
  • Released: Apr 16, 2015
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Reviewed: Windows

With a name like Ostrich Banditos, you’d suspect the developers of this wild west-inspired game were in America, but rather surprisingly, they are Dutch. Westerado: Double Barreled pays a solid homage to Spaghetti Westerns and other games of its ilk, while still maintaining a level of humor throughout its writing and interactions. It is a game that demands very little, but rewards you greatly.

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As the story goes, your family is outright murdered and your ranch is burned to the ground. As the sole survivor, the natural thing to do in these times is to hunt down your mother and brother’s murderer. The murderer, luckily for you has done other bad things. He has left clues about himself amongst Clintsville (a wink and nod with the town’s founder named East), the main hub town and the surrounding areas. By completing quests for NPCs, you’ll begin to gather bits and pieces to form a complete description of the murderer to get your vengeance. Rewards in money is great and all, but the real treasure is in getting hints. I love how the sidequests feed into the main quest of finding your family’s killer.

The game is rather short, and so each playthrough has a different description for the murderer, making replaying the game somewhat of a unique experience, as the conversations stay the same. It makes for a more cohesive world. In this manageable open world, Westerado: Double Barreled is a joy to explore and navigate, but it isn’t without conflict.

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You’ll often find yourself staring down the barrel of a six-shooter, rifle, shotgun, or even dodging tomahawks. These weapons can be yours as well, assuming you’ve acquired enough money to make these purchases. The pistol has infinite ammo, and must be cocked each time to fire. And when all bullets are expended, must be reloaded. The big encumbrance, is the horizontal shooting. Despite moving in four directions, you can only fire to your left or right. This gives the game some strategy, especially when engaging with multiple hostiles.

Upon death, you lose half of your money, spawn at home, and your progress is saved. You just just have to ride back to where you were last. But anyone you’ve killed, stays dead. Banks allow you to stash your cash so that you don’t lose your entire earnings. Hats in the upper-left hand corner of the screen represent your health. If you manage to shoot the hat off of an enemy, it can be collected to restore lost health. Or alternatively, you can go to the general store and purchase hats to top you off.

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Conversations are a big portion of the game, where decisions can alter the outcome of the game. Cutscenes are cleverly shown in film reel style. In each dialogue conversation, you have the option to pull your gun on anyone, innocent or otherwise. This can be used as intimidation factor, but it doesn’t always work. Pull the gun on someone too early and dialogue options are severed, and a quest may be canceled as a result.

With Westerado: Double Barreled‘s freedom of choice, you can play a villain of sorts. It is out of place, but it allows you to explore “what if” scenarios. For instance, you can kill your uncle, who then becomes an ethereal being you can still converse with, or you can rob banks and ride off into the sunset for an early ending. You can even play 5-card draw, if you so choose. Westerado: Double Barreled has a surprising amount of depth and replayability.

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Westerado: Double Barreled‘s soundtrack is adequately cribbing from popular westerns we know and love. Although the main theme loops a bit too frequently, it manages to get stuck in your head in all the right ways. The variety of themes for each location you travel to, as well as a core combat theme that sets the right mood makes this one of the better game soundtracks in recent memory.

The colors are highly saturated, focusing on oranges, yellows, and browns as the main color palette. Some objects get lost as a result, but it’s an absolute beauty still, and in motion.

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While not as deep or emotionally charged as something like Red Dead Redemption, there’s some great pinache found within Westerado: Double Barreled. It really nails the look and feel of the old west in such great fashion. Only near the end did it begin to rub me the wrong way, becoming a frustrating test of my patience. The rest of Westerado: Double Barreled is a hoot, with a shooting that has some challenge, open-ended dialogue, and randomized villain with every playthrough to make this worth coming back to again and again.

A Steam code was provided by Adult Swim Games for review purposes