West of Loathing is a delightful Western-themed RPG made by the Kingdom Of Loathing folks - a browser game that I’ve played for years - and I had a great time with it. It’s not perfect - I had some issues with the difficulty in the endgame and some puzzles alongside the infinite inventory clutter you quickly acquire but it was overall an amazing little RPG (which took me about 7 hours to complete) that I would recommend wholeheartedly to pretty much anyone.

The game starts with you creating a character, picking up from three classes - Cow Puncher, Beanslinger and Snake Oiler, basically mage, warrior and thief, but flavored with the combination of western themes and Kingdom Of Loathing inspired humor. You start in a small tutorial area where you’ll learn how the game works, how combat works and how you interact with stuff in order to progress forward. The battle system is fairly simple, you have three stats - Muscle, Mysticality and Moxie which are used against the enemy’s own stats to calculate how much damage you deal via melee, ranged or magical attacks. You also have Action Points that are used for special moves - instead of mana or other magic-related resources. For most of the game this works fairly well, but at some point I was a bit too powerful for everything to even be a danger to me, and the routine of always casting the same 3-4 spells at the beginning of each fight got a bit annoying as well, but nothing too terrible.

Besides fighting, you’ll do a lot of reading - Kingdom of Loathing is a mostly text-based browser game after all, and the Asymmetric folks went with their strengths - and everything is mostly good. From the spittoon jokes to the clever wordplay to the bureaucratic nightmare of that one ghost town, I enjoyed everything I interacted with. The skills and stats you have are used in these dialogues, or sometimes you’ll need specific items in order to go through different dialogue branches. That being said, you’ll rarely get stuck because you didn’t have a specific thing for too long.

There are way too many items in the game, from combat items to food/booze to gear and just random stuff that you need to lug around for quests and other situations. I finished the game with an inventory overflowing with things I had never used. You can handle a certain amount of food/booze/other per ‘day’ and days only advance when you sleep. I barely did that in my whole playthrough - only when I had to do it for a quest to finish, which occurred once or twice - so I kept the same buffs for most of the game. Dying isn’t too penalizing, you’re just sent back to the hotel, but I didn’t die once during my time.

The core plot revolves around getting a train to go west and then when you finish the game, you see little scenes based on what you did - or didn’t do - and you might want to do stuff differently on other runs. I probably won’t because I had my fill of West of Loathing. It was a really good game and I’m glad I took the time to play it. If you enjoy humor in games, RPGs or reading a lot, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

What’s up with the jumping, tho?!?

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories5/5, RPG