Day 743: West

Posted: 2012/11/21 in Indie Games

I’ve passed on this game time and time again, but I finally decided to take a hard look at “West” today, and it surprised me. In a good way.

The presentation of this game has always intriqued and scared me. Many screenshots showed competently and attractively designed screen shots of towns and characters in a JRPG-ish environment which has you exploring, talking to NPCs, etc. Other screenshots, however, showed amateurish-looking battle scenes. Both are accurate elements of the game. But does it matter?

Maybe not. The fairly static (and I’d go so far as to say unattractive) battle scenes have you concentrating on the battle itself, whereas you’re focused on the characters and the environment when exploring. It’s not that it wouldn’t be a better game if the battle scenes looked better, but at least it looks better when it counts the most.

With that hurdle crossed, I also wasn’t sure about a game that (by all reports) has zany characters paired with a storyline that addresses serious subject matter. But that combination works surprisingly well, actually, and works in the game’s favour IMO. If you’re wondering how that can work well, look no further than TV’s “Firefly” (and the theatrical sequel “Serenity”), which has a cast of unabashedly wacky characters paired with (at times) some very serious subject matter. And there aren’t too many people who’ve watched Firefly and didn’t love it. Or perhaps we should look at M*A*S*H as another example, where people used comedy to survive a traumatic experience.

So “West” is a top-down RPG in the vein of classic Japanese games, which has you unfurling a storyline as you explore the countryside and solve simple puzzles, with characters that don’t take themselves too seriously, but a storyline that does. At 80 Microsoft Points, it’s worth a download for RPG fans.

Here’s what the developer (WizardBertius) has to say about the game:

“An experimental RPG with deeper undertones, West brings players across an island in search of a big city. Along the way, meet new friends and experience the power and wonder of nature.”

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Comments
  1. Luke Hoppel says:

    This was the first XBLA Indie Game I bought, I beat it in about two hours, and was left feeling haunted. good writing, maybe it could of had a little better follow through (or just be a little longer) but I enjoyed it.

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