Adult Swim Games has become an astounding source of great indie games over the course of the past few years. Their selection of creative, unique flash games has slowly evolved into a selection of creative, unique standalone releases, and Westerado stands as a terrific example of that transformation. Originally released in 2013 as a free flash game, the game has been filled with additional content and given a full Steam release as Westerado: Double Barreled.
You play as a cowboy seeking revenge against the man who burned down your home and killed your family. You’ll track him across a wonderland of wild west stereotypes, as you gather clues from townsfolk as to the outlaw’s identity. Completing various quests around the world will reward you with details about your quarry’s appearance, which is randomly generated with each new game. After about 90 minutes of questing and cowboy-ing, I found my outlaw just standing in a town square that I’d been exploring since the beginning of the game.
Of course, instead of all that work, I could’ve just started shooting and hope I would hit the bad guy in the process. You can pull your gun at any time–even during conversations, and there’s dialogue to reflect your threats and violence in every situation, and the world starts to change based on how you carry yourself through the game. If you start killing innocents willy-nilly, normal folks will run in terror when you mosey into town, but bandits will start to become more friendly.
No individual element of Westerado is especially deep or exciting–the combat tends to devolve into chaotic nonsense, no individual quest is particularly deep, and none of the upgrades provide real change to how you play the game–but it’s such a delightfully weird little sandbox that it really is much more than the sum of its parts. Though the game can be finished in under two hours, the incredible variety in how you can go about completing your objective makes each playthrough a world of exciting possibilities.