It may be coming up on being three years old but if anyone ever asks me for recommendations on something “light” or “fun” to play on PC, one of my go-to responses will likely always be “have you heard of West of Loathing?”
The initial sell may not be the catchiest – it’s an indie, stick-figure adventure RPG entirely in black and white – but the humour is what draws you in and keeps you there from the very moment you begin your journey into the Wild West.
Now, this is a game which is very much better enjoyed going in blind so I’ll do my best to avoid anything which could be considered a spoiler. The game sees you set off to seek your fortune – after saying farewell to your family, of course – but it has gameplay mechanics to go along with the jokes. Whether you choose to specialise in being a smooth-talking snakeoiler or a fist-first cow-puncher does genuinely affect your experience. And as you level up you can invest skill points into various attacks and abilities and tailor your cow-puncher (come on, we all know it’s the right choice to go with) to your own style.
Once you’re out of the tutorial area the map opens up and you’re free to wander to various locations as you discover them, though some of the game’s wide range of NPCs might give you a warning to steer clear of particular locations until you’ve levelled up a bit. And indeed, levelling up a lot can make the turn-based combat less than challenging, but whether they pose a threat or not, fighting demon cows in the Wild West will never get old.
I had worried that the humour might begin to tire after a while but I have to give credit to the writers, no matter how much I play it still makes me laugh. The humour is written into pretty much every aspect of the game to the extent that in every location you’ll be exploring every inch to see if there’s some hidden joke you might have missed.
It’s childish, silly and I played through the whole thing with a ridiculous grin on my face. If you need a break from improving your K/D or grinding for that perfect armour piece for your build, you will not regret spending a good seven to ten hours in the company of this charming game.
Oh, and one tip I’ll give you. Search every spittoon.
If you’re looking for a community of gamers whose humour level is about the same as that found in West of Loathing, then the Thumbs Up Discord is the place for you. We have never knowingly missed the opportunity to make a childish joke.