Westy West is a isometric action adventure game developed by Countryside Games. If you've ever found yourself entranced by old Western films, you've probably had a cowboy fantasy. The allure of the wild west era is obvious; there's a sort of freedom that comes with it. Westy West is a play on that, allowing you to traverse the west as a variety of characters. You'll start as the Sheriff, and take a quick walk through good ol' tutorial land. After that, it's time to gear up and hunt bandits through a variety of levels and environments. Does Westy West provide a fun look at the Western genre, or simply roll through town like a tumbleweed? Get your dueling hand ready, it's time for a visit to the old west.
Firstly, Westy West does something immediately correct; its art style. Instead of trying to be realistic by any measure, the game opts for a pixelated look. The camera is mounted at a slightly skewed top-down angle, providing an angle reminiscent of old school games like Cobra Triangle. Characters idly bounce up and down with their big blocky heads, all contained on a grid of squares.
You explore Westy West's levels by swiping up, down, left, or right. Doing so moves your character one square in that direction. You can also attack characters by tapping and either aiming at them or looking in their direction. Shots only go so far though, so there's a bit of strategy to gunplay.
Westy West is all about getting as far as possible before you die, hence forcing a restart. You'll usually grab a wanted poster off the wall, detailing a specific enemy for you to hunt. These wanted posters are often pretty humorous, containing crimes like “we think he's an alien”. The whole tone of the game is very silly and cheerful, never taking itself seriously.
The real hit-and-miss is the gameplay itself, which can be rewarding but sometimes frustrating. You're limited to three hearts of damage, which can quickly deplete in a dire situation. You can hire additional friendlies or mounts, but these are often incredibly expensive in comparison to how much gold you'll amass. This is where micro transactions come into play, along with opening treasure chests you find within levels. Characters and weapons who are too expensive to purchase with in-game money can be bought with real money. However, their real life prices are often too high to justify as is. Westy West isn't any worse without these additions though, so you're not missing out on much if you decide to skip them.
The objective of each level is the same. You'll hop along and kill the bandits in each level, unlocking the exit and allowing you to progress. The variety lies within the level design itself, as levels are not all the same. Some are open canyons with nothing but enemies and dangers, but others are full fledged towns with civilians and shops. You're not restricted to playing fair in Westy West, so you can shoot innocents if you feel like it. Don't expect to get away with it though, as the police will show up to quickly dispose you.
Once you finally perish, you can continue playing by watching an advertisement or spending some in-game gold. All the gold you earned on your previous run carries over, allowing you to buy better equipment and new characters. Along with this enjoyable cycle, there are overarching quests to complete that reward you with extra cash. One of the best features of Westy West is the ability to tap a “record” button, which captures your gameplay. You can then share this instantaneously on social medias through Unity's Everyplay function. It's a really cool feature, and while I didn't use it that much, I'm sure many players will appreciate its addition.
Generally speaking, Westy West is an all around good time. While there are a few flaws with the economy and the gameplay can get a bit repetitive, Westy West is enjoyable enough to stick with. There's enough gear and equipment to always have something new to work towards, and the humor and tone of the game is refreshingly light. Westy West is like a retro spaghetti western film, all contained into your phone. While not perfect, it’s a smart and satisfying action game to keep returning to. If you're a fan of action games and looking for something a bit more lighthearted, give it a try!
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Westy West Trailer