Developed By: Retrific
Categories: Shooter, Roguelike
Release Date: 07.16.20

It’s sometimes tough to decipher if a game is challenging, or downright unfair and hard. Challenging games always feel like you can learn something to get further and further in, while hard can and usually means difficult for the sake of difficulty. Colt Canyon constantly blurs the line between both on how it treats the player.

ON THE DUSTY TRAIL

Colt Canyon is a roguelike, and while difficulty is typically something the genre is infamous for, Colt Canyon takes a few diversionary moves to change how and why its difficult. First, the game isn’t an RPG. There’s no level ups, you can’t grind to suddenly make your stats better, and no matter what, you die, you start over from the beginning, making the quest to rescue your stolen partner for nothing. This and this alone can make the game outright frustrating and will scare most players away. However, I found myself playing the game, almost hooked to it, trying to get further and further. I would fail constantly, but I was having fun in spite of not making any progress for quite a while.

QUICK ON THE DRAW

As previously mentioned, the goal is to rescue your partner, kidnapped after being ambushed by a group of bandits. Depending on how you prefer to play, you can make Colt Canyon into a stealth game, or a full blown twin stick shooter. If playing stealth is more up your alley, you can use your melee attacks to give incredibly satisfying one hit kills. As long as you’re not seen, even if you’re suspected of being in the area, you can pull this off. The moment you’re seen outright noticed though, all hell breaks loose and the game will be become a shooter. Luckily, shooting is also rather satisfying, especially when a weapon you have kills in one swift shot. Depending on the character you choose to play as, you start of with a certain weapon, be it a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle, or even a bow and arrow, all with their own ammo types found by destroying pots and crates in the environment. Despite how powerful a stealth kill can be, ammo is completely vital to have when playing. Melee attacks are completely useless and should only be used as a last ditch effort if in a confrontation with a group of bandits, and in the case of a boss fight, you can’t take the stealthy way out, you’re forced to fight your way through. I found myself getting stuck the most at the boss fights, which can truly be a demoralizing moment.

While you can’t level up, that isn’t to say you can’t get upgrades in the game. In each level outside of a boss level, you’ll find a hostage, rescuing them grants you an upgrade which can be as simple as making your ammo or health count bigger, to making yourself immune to self made explosions from dynamite or explosive barrels and picking up arrows you’ve shot to reuse. Arguably one of the most useful is taking the hostage with you to help out. Taking the hostage with you as a partner can end up being more of a burden than a help at times though. You need to find them a weapon of their own, while they have infinite ammo with theirs, you might have to end up giving up one of your own if you can’t find anything for them. They also have their own health you need to be careful to watch out for. You can heal them at any time, including in death, but unless you get a specific upgrade this always takes your health away in the act. Unless you play to use the hostages you rescue purely as decoys, it’s more often a wiser idea to just take a personal upgrade.

The best way to describe how the game looks and sounds is is honestly the western genre itself. It looks dry and dusty, everything has that green or tan hue that was all the rage in games early on the Xbox 360 and PS3, but for a game in the wild west, it works. Everything is lacking in much detail, going by the character design philosophy of making the silhouette clear and recognizable. Backgrounds will often be a darker or warmer color, while your character, weapons, and enemies are bright. The only other color in the game is red, for the blood that sheds. Whether you drop it from being wounded, leaving a nice trail behind you or a big gush when killing. All staying on the ground the whole time. Not once did I ever have an issue finding myself or seeing anything of interest. If there is one thing negatively take from the art design, it’s that stages in the game all look rather samey, assets are reused quite a bit on top of that. The music fits. It isn’t bad, it’s not particularly noteworthy either, but it fit in well with the game.

WELL DONE…TOUGH AND DRY

I cannot stress enough that Colt Canyon requires patience in every way. It’s a difficult and ultimately frustrating game at the end of the day, but if you’re willing to put up with that and persevere, you’ll unearth the nice, meaty, satisfying core the game holds. If you’re anything like me, that’ll be enough to push one to attempt to get further and further. If I could add a single thing though, I would have a one time save per life so one wouldn’t have to do the game in one run to beat it. At least make the game even the slightest more forgiving would fix the biggest problem I have with an otherwise great game.

4/5

Buy Now: $14.99

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*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes