Author: Sherlock Van Helsing
Publisher: Surprise Attack
Genre: Western 1v1 Duel
Release date: 21st April 2016
Western Press is a 1v1 western dueling game developed by Bandit-1 and published by Surprise Attack. As a big fan of the western genre, I was really hyped for the release of this game, and I am happy to say that it succeeded my expectations.
The cutscene that opens the game parodies Sam Elliot’s opening monologue of The Big Lebowski, and it immediately sets the tone of the game: a fun, not serious parody of the Old West. While there isn’t a Story Mode, there are plenty of characters and references: Wyatt Earp from Tombstone, Ellen from The Quick and the Dead, Mattie from True Grit and many more.
The pixelated art style is oozing with charisma: from the character animations to the backgrounds, everything is rich of details. The animations of the characters are fluid and the colors are vibrant, perfectly capturing the beauty and madness of the Far West.
The game can both be played with bots, locally or online. I played the game using a controller, since the keyboard control aren’t polished right now, but the developers are working to fix this.
The gameplay is very single: each of the two players has a string of 10 buttons that they have to press in the correct order as fast as possible with little to no mistakes, and the first to finish gets to shoot the other duelist. This is a very simple mechanic that is incredibily easy to understand but very hard to master, especially when playing online.
Right now you can only play three game modes: Skill Tester, Custom Tournament and Online. In Skill Tester you play against nine bots with increasing difficulty to make you get a grip of the game mechanics. In Custom Tournament you can play with up to 16 players locally (or with bots) in a tournament that is very great for when you are having a party. In Online you can duel with other players.
In Custom Tournament you can also play Memory, which is basically an increasing amount of button prompts that you have to remember. The player who remembers all of them or that makes the least amount of mistakes wins. This game mode was very damn fun, especially when you get to 9 or more buttons to remember.
The AI is very easy to beat in the standard mode, unless you are playing against the Very Hard bot: he presses every button extremely fast, and he won’t make a single mistake, so if you want a good challenge offline I recommend playing with him. Also, playing Memory against the AI is just too weird, and I recommend having a human player to play it with.
The soundtrack is amongst the best of western video games, bringing you back in time, making you feel nostalgic and never feeling derivative. The voice acting of the narrator is a spot-on Sam Elliot impersonator, and the sound effects of the guns are great.
There is plenty of replayability here: beating Skill Tester is not an easy task, and if you have friends that come over you can play four or five rounds in about two or three minutes total. There are also 25 Steam achievements to unlock, and, with the addition of Steam Workshop support, more duelists to play with and more stages to battle on.
Overall, Western Press is an excellent party game that works very well as a single player experience. For its very cheap price of 5$ I highly recommend this game to pretty much everyone. Being their first game, the guys at Bandit-1 have a long road ahead…