Ah, the age old story of a group of misfits never gets old. From The Avengers to Mass Effect, this story is told time and time again. In World to the West, Rain Games follow up to Teslagrad, we see four unacquainted adventurers band together in a quest to stop the evil Tychoon from ruling the land with ancient technology. Its colorful world and charming aesthetics make it easy to approach, with a fun adventure that too is easily enjoyed.
It all starts when Lumina, who is a Teslamancer, is accidently transported to a distant land that is unfamiliar to her. Along her travels she runs into an elderly lady who spouts off quips about destiny and fate, all irrelevant at the time to Lumina who is looking for a way home. Meanwhile, her three future companions are all engaged in actions of their own. Knaus, the orphan, is busy escaping a dastardly scheme that sees orphans mining what they believe to be “moon rocks”, which is just a coup for slave labor. Miss Teri, the quick witted adventurer for hire, is making money by acquiring artifacts for Tychoon, with her only loyalties being to coin and herself. Last, but certainly not least, is Lord Clonington, a beefy-mustachioed man who wants only to be recognized for his greatness, his strength, and his knowledge. Eventually, their paths cross ways, and from there the adventure quickly unfolds.
In essence, World to the West is an adventure game similar to that of The Legend of Zelda. It features a variety of landscapes, both above and below ground, ranging from snowy tundra’s to lush jungles. Its wide sprawling map has a variety of enemies too, each as colorful and quirky as you would expect from seeing the rest of the game. Exploring this map is fun, especially since each area begs to be revisited with each individual character to find additional routes, collectibles, and even upgrades. Traversing the wide map is made easier with a fast travel feature, which is done by way of totems you can find around the map. While a great feature, you can only travel between them if the character has found that specific one. If you make it to the far west corner of the map with Lumina but not Clonington, you had better be ready to make that same trip again with all the characters who have not been to that totem. Though understandably so, this feature becomes somewhat of a burden towards the end of the game when the usage of all the characters starts to become more immediate.
Each character in the cast is unique in their charming own ways. Lumina and Teri are the damsels but they most certainly are not in distress. Lumina wields a staff, as her kind the Teslamancers are known to do. She can shoot bolts of electricity from it as well as quickly dash. This electric dash is great for traversing gaps during exploration. She is in an unknown place to her, but she stands tall as she dutifully tries to get home, consistently overcoming adversity. As for Miss Teri, she is sort of the Batgirl of the group, using her wits and a variety of gadgets. Her trusty scarf not only helps her too traverse gaps by gripping to posts, but also allows her to control wildlife. One whip of her scarf (while wearing a piece of ancient technology too) allows her to mind control creatures, from the beastly tries to the simple but pesky squirrel like creatures, and even the large baboons that roam the mountains. Not only is this her only way of engaging in combat, but it is a nifty way of traveling to places you would not normally be able to reach. She is a bit rough around the edges, sticking out as the loner type, but the group eventually grows on her. Knaus, the sweet orphan boy, is braver than he knows as he courageously accepts his place in history. He too takes clever use of a variety of gadgets, using a shovel to traverse underground, ice shoes to quickly glide across both floors and water, as well as dynamite to both battle and clear the way for certain paths. He is an adorable little fella with some very cute dialogue to compliment his young demeanor. Last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite of the bunch, the one and only (until another clone is created) Lord Clonington! He is beefy, brawny, and a bit egotistical, but how can you not be when you know you are perfect? His goal is to be the most affluent being in the land, making sure to pummel people with sweet wrestling moves to help accomplish said goals. His stature alone allows him to climb tall structures as well as destroy them with ease. With his mustache and his might, he brings one hell of a character to the mix, overflowing with coming relief and dapper charm.
It's not all about the good guys though, as every band of misfits needs a band of villains to complete them. Tychoon has a handful of henchmen (and henchlady) at his disposal. These baddies lead to some eventful boss fights, though they are a mixed bag of both fun and frustration. Though some are quite entertaining (All of Lord Cloningtons to be exact), others like Knaus' encounter with some feisty red headed children was one of the most mentally trying segments I have played through in any title this year (and I reviewed Troll and I...). It was just jarred and unfair, resulting in a major low for an overall positive experience. Another issue I have with the title is its handling of combat. With combat being a core feature, I am sad to say it not as polished as well as the rest of the adventure. It feels a bit archaic in nature, feeling more like an aiming system that is stuck to the eight directions imposed by a dpad as opposed to fleshing out the directions you intend on the analog stick. It results in a lot of tedious moments of inaccuracy, sometimes resulting in the death of your character. Patching this with an update that adds polish would do wonders for the game.
Rain Game’s World to the West is a charming delight. It may not always be the most engaging or rewarding experience, but its charm and fun exploration mechanics are more than enough to keep you around until the credits roll. It is a lighthearted, whimsical journey that is exceptionally scripted. With minor flaws that are brushed off by a delightful cast of characters. I wish the characters had more interactions throughout the duration of the game, and I think it would have been neat to see some dynamic character swaps to overcome certain situations instead of each character having to rely on themselves for the most part. But regardless, World to the West is a cute game that will easily please a variety of crowds.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7/10
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