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The West Is Fun In Westerado

Adult Swim’s Western RPG flash game Westerado has been playing in a background tab of Chrome for about an hour now. I’ve been listening to the music and imagining stars overhead, the pop and crackle of a campfire, and wondering if there really is a life to be had away from my desk? I could be a cowboy. I have a whip, and I could be out wandering the range, living a life of simple, horsey pleasures. The star of the game doesn’t quite have that luxury: he’s hunting for the killer of his aunt and brother, running from town-to-town and tracking down clues. It’s surprisingly good.

I only clicked it out of curiosity, and then lost half-an-hour. It’s a cute, perfectly pixelly RPG where you wander from town to settlement, looking for clues to find the killer. Starting off on buffalo farm where you end up having to put your brother down, you wander all over the West, landing in settlements and questioning the population about the murders. The best bit is the dialogue tree. There’s plenty of variety in the responses, and you can accuse anyone you find of being the killer. There’s no consequence to that, it’s just funny to do.

It shifts from a slow, silly RPG to a fun little action game by your actions. All you need to do is fire your gun. One town has a saloon with a show and card games. I pulled a gun because I was getting tired of the explanation of a poker game that went on and on and on (role-playing a half-mad grieving brother, of course) and the man in the conversation window panicked and fled. Then the dancing girls jumped off stage and pulled rifles out. I did not expect that. They were pretty deadly with them as well, killing me and forcing a restart. If there’s a problem with the game it’s that there’s no consequences following those moments of carnage. As far as I could tell, pulling a gun, cocking it and firing causes some immediate panic that eventually dies down. Oh, your life is counted in hats, so you need to visit the haberdasher to buy more.

I didn’t expect it to be this involving. It keeps going on and on, each place I visited had some unique twist to the locale, and even though the game offers fast travel on horses, I realised it was possible to just wander around between towns, meeting bandits on the trail and hunting them for their cash. As it stands, I’m still on the trail for clues. I’ll find the varmint.

It’s good. Try it. If nothing else, you can just leave the game on in a tab and let the music play.

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Craig Pearson

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