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West Of Dead is a twin-stick cover shooter, with cowboy Ron Perlman

Root, toot, and shoot

I watched some footage of West Of Dead in action... this week? Last week? Who can remember these things. And it occurred to me that I've somehow never seen a twin-stick cover shooter until now.

In case that's not enough to pique your interest, you play as an undead cowboy Ron Perlman. It looks bloody good, and it's out now.

The art is terrific. All bold vivid colours and contrasts, and you can see some of the impressive animation. There are some great lighting effects here and there too. And then of course, there's yer big Hellboy man growlin' and drawlin' his way through helldogs, gunmen, and massive stompy grumpers. This is apparently a very stylish game, but it's the shooting that I really want to try out.

Instead of just slapping cover into a standard twin-stick horde shooter, Upstream Arcade have wisely slowed the pace and scaled down the fights, so you get little vignette shootouts. The cowboy setting means less frequent but more careful shots, and the tension of slow reloads. You can dramatically leap, slide, and roll over low cover too, you big show off.

Levels are procedurally generated, which ought to extend the game's longevity, although if you hate yourself enough to be into roguelikes you're already in luck, as it's one of them. What form the magical mysticism stuff the game takes isn't clear beyond the monster enemies and the premise of the undying Ghost Rider lookin' protagonist, but I had a great time with the comparably weird west shooter Ritual and its demons and witches, so I'd be surprised if it doesn't work.

I've been loudly insisting that Westerns are practically made to be a setting for a game already, especially the objectively superior, crap guns that make gunfights more interesting than the four trillion identical modern assault rifles we tend to get. But I wouldn't have thought of doing an inventive genre mash-up like this.

West Of Dead is available now on Steam, Gog, and Humble. for £15.49/€19.99/$19.99. It's also on the Microsoft Store for slightly more, or as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC.

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