Presented in a visual and gameplay style most reminiscent of cult SNES classic Earthbound, Boot Hill Bounties is a game that sucked me in far deeper than I would have expected and I loved every moment of it.
Your journey will take you through a Mexican mission, a travelling circus and plenty of towns filled with side-quests and folk to talk to.
Whilst the general overworld is presented from an isometric viewpoint with your characters trailing in single file, the combat itself is turn-based and this is really where I got my sense of Superhero League of Hoboken.
Boot Hill Bounties isn’t shy and does initially like to bombard you with tutorials through the medium of the main character’s dog, Rusty. He acts as not only a guide but also a save point, following you as he does throughout the game and getting into the occasional scrape in which he invariably needed your assistance to get out of.
The mix of turn / time-based combat – you can pause at any moment – allows for strategy, if required, and it will be, against the myriad opponents before you. The various hats in the game unlock entirely different sets of attacks, effects and buffs so you can tailor the style to suit the situation.
I was also a fan of how the game has a sense of innocence permeating throughout. The tongue-in-cheek enemies of various animals and flora are never ‘killed’ but ‘defeated’ and comments are made after battles in which a character will make reference to how enemies will ‘regret taking us on when they wake up’ and usually throw in cheeky a pun or two, it makes the game feel almost like children playing imaginary games and it was an aspect of the game I enjoyed.
That said, whilst there is whimsy here, I enjoyed how ‘grounded’ the story was, Experimental Gamer Studios really have a grasp on the western theme and on several occasions I had to look up what certain terminologies meant. Not that this got in the way of the narration, it’s simple enough to work out the context, I just enjoyed how dedicated the design was to the cowboy theme and wanted to broaden my own knowledge on the subject.
In summary, I really like Boot Hill Bounties, it is a game clearly crafted with love and, whilst it does have darker moments, the lightness of touch in the design keeps things airy and fun.
There may be nothing new here in terms of story beats and gameplay but that didn’t bother me one iota, it’s a lovingly-crafted game that keeps me coming back because it’s fun and I want to know the full story of Kid and his gang…even if I never win that cookery competition….
Experimental Gamer Studios