Western Press sells itself as the most historically accurate dueling game of all time. As I was able to play as a telekinetic skeleton, I’m inclined to belief this boast. We at Enemy Slime took some to enjoy a gentlemanly cocktail and test out this stylish frontier dueler. As you can imagine, we had a grand ol’ time:
The game itself is simple: An old west quick draw duel; be the fastest and you win. This is accomplished (usually) by presenting a series of 10 directional keys and face buttons. Whoever taps out their combo the fastest will be the first to draw, but mistakes will penalize you and increase your time. Precision will often be just as important as speed. While you’ll probably be playing on a controller, Western Press does offer a number of other options, such as keyboard and dance pad, which I didn’t get the opportunity to try out, but seems like the perfectly ridiculous type of input you’d expect for this game.
I’ve basically just explained the entirety of the game here (Foregoing the weird alternate memory game mode of play, somewhat akin to Simon), but don’t be fooled into thinking there’s nothing to the game. While it’s not a substantial title, Western Press offers a lot of fun in its colorful pixel graphics, irreverent tone and playful attitude. The game is big (BIG) on style, largely helped by the very excellent narrator who sounds like he was born to tell the tale of the ol’ west. While each duel plays largely the same, the panache it brings with it goes a long way. And is it fun to gun down your friends? Absolutely. While it may be simple, its simplicity goes a long way to make it enjoyable, and the lack of tricks and strategy other than hit the buttons the fastest and most accurately means that anyone can pick up the game and be the meanest gunslinger within a rounds.
But not all is quite perfect in the Wild West. The biggest downside to this game is that it’s only really fun if you have friends to play it with. The skill tester and the bots are fine for a bit, but without some human companionship the magic does not last very long in Western Press. I can’t fault it too much, as this is pretty much a universal truth for the couch co-op games, but make sure you have some amigos to play with. Sadly, I haven’t had an opportunity to try out the online multiplayer component, as the lobby is always empty. But I do suspect you’re going to have the best times when you’ve got a friend by your side to tell him exactly what you think of his performance. The only other issue that comes to mind is the amount of time the game takes between duels; the actual duel takes literally seconds, but between load screens, selecting controllers and witty quips, you’re going to spend way more time waiting to duel than you will actually playing the game.
While the entirety of Western Press is light enough that the few issues it suffers from are noticeable, in the end it’s a pretty excellently enjoyable. The simple mechanic is very satisfying when you have people to play it with, and even when you can’t rub your victory in their faces each round moves fast enough that you’ll be ready to go again in moments. At $4.99 it’s a inexpensive item to add to your couch co-op repertoire, and while it may not be the star of the evening, it’s relatively low barrier to entry should mean that there’s a good time to had for everyone.