|April 21, 2016
|Typing. Indie, Action
Ah, the good old Wild West. Haven’t visited a game with this theme since Red Dead Redemption, and I admit, the setting of games like this does have a certain charm. What I didn’t expect was this game focusing so much on dueling. Western Press does just that, a typing game where whoever makes the fastest input wins and then shoots their opponent. However, for $4.99, can this little game stay alive with just that premise?
There is no real story mode to this. You just play as a character, Peggy Sue, and challenge people to a duel. Gradually, the difficulty will grow higher, all the way to the finale. Nothing more, nothing less. There is occasional banter before dueling, but it’s just meant for some funny smack-talk. Each character possesses some personality to them both in their words and their movements. They also have unique shot animations, with some dual-wielding weapons, throwing axes, or even shooting with a cannon. All the art is pixelated, with old western music chiming in at the right moments, such as the rapid tempo of a guitar just as someone is about to shoot. It fits the style really well, as the characters movements and text balloons are expressive.
Gameplay consists around only duels, and are separated into a few styles. You can use a controller or a keyboard, with the controller inputs randomized, while the keyboard gives a word at random. Inputs are shown horizontally, and the idea is to type it in faster than your opponent, or you’ll get shot. Sometimes matches are best two out of three, while sometimes it’s just a one and done challenge. Through the story mode, things will start off easy and gradually grow more difficult and demand much faster reflexes. Depending on how fast you are at these games, things might feel even harder.
For example, thanks to years of typing, I found myself faster at using a keyboard than a controller. In the options menu, you can adjust a few things like violence, but more importantly, can change what inputs you’d rather have, like actual words or just gibberish. Fortunately, there is another play-style you can play with if this proves to be too stressful: Memory Mode. In this mode, you simply have to memorize the button prompts, type them in order, and do so until your opponent makes more mistakes than you. Unfortunately, this is not available for the story.
Outside of the brief campaign, there is also the ability to customize a tournament with up to 16 players. You can only unlock characters through the story, or by playing some tournaments. However, there is another way to get more characters: the Steam workshop. Those talented enough (which is not me) can actually create characters for use in Western Press. So far, I have tried out characters like Kratos from God of War, Kirby from the Kirby series, Pikachu from Pokemon, and Altair from Assassin’s Creed. They even feature not only attack animations that you’d expect, but even sound clips, such as Pikachu screaming “PIKACHUUUU!” when using a thunderbolt. With enough people working on this, I can see a much larger selection of characters and backgrounds being available to create some fun situations.
There are some issues however. The final duel for instance takes a lot of time getting used to, especially against harder opponents. Usually just before a duel starts, you get an idea of what commands may be placed and can plan ahead just a tad bit. The final duel does away with this, keeping up some good suspense by waiting until the last moment to reveal the prompts. The problem however is if you fail, which was often for me, it takes a long time to restart the duel compared to the other modes, creating more frustration. The game is also short. If you are very good, you can finish this in less than 30 minutes.
Overall, Western Press is a good game if you want something fun to do for a couple of minutes and have some friends around. Just don’t expect the player base to suddenly jump up, as there are not many people online. If you want a better typing game, you may want to invest in Typing of the Dead: Overkill. Otherwise, gather up some friends and you can find a short yet fun experience.
Review Copy Provided by Publisher