Developer: Retrific Game Studio
Publisher: Headup Games
Genre: Twin-Stick, Roguelite
Platform: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Age Rating: T (Teen) / PEGI 16
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £11.99
A code was provided for review purposes.
Nothing beats blindly picking up a brand new video game and it immediately capturing the player’s attention from the get-go. Colt Canyon, developed by Retrific Game Studio and published by Headup Games, is a brutal, energetic, and intense twin-stick roguelite western available now for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
The first five minutes of the game serves as both the gameplay tutorial and introduction to the story. Teaching players the basic controls for moving, shooting, dodging, using items. With the core mechanics learned the game starts. The player’s partner is abducted by a crew of bandits. Thus, the goal is to traverse the lands filled with animals, enemies, weapons, and dry desert landscapes in order to find and save the player’s partner. The levels are all randomly generated and becoming progressively more difficult over time.
The Lone Ranger
The gameplay is rather simple, but it’s that simplicity that helps to make the game so easy to pick up and enjoy. It may take a quick second to get used to such a complex button layout on the controller, but the versatility it provides becomes less of a hassle and more of an appreciated intricacy.
A player uses one stick to move and the other to aim their weapon, two of which can be held at any given moment (from a selection including pistols, bows, rifles, shotguns, spears, tomahawks, etc.). Different buttons allow you to shoot, dodge roll, toss dynamite, and melee.
Ammo is in limited supply, meaning that players must be attentive to their resources. Importance is placed on both refining their aim and breaking open boxes or barrels to replenish after gunfights. Stealth does play a small role in the game. The player can quietly approach a lone enemy and knock him down quickly with the melee knife. This becomes harder to execute on bigger enemies, in later levels, or against large groups.
Health replenishments are even more difficult to find, pushing the player to be evasive in battle and conservative in approach. One can come across captured friendlies, where if freed, they will become an ally for battle or provide an upgrade. These include faster reload times, bigger ammo pouch, quicker movement speed, and so forth. They might seem like small differences at the time, but those upgrades are worth pursuing as they really build up and make a crucial difference as the game goes on.
The level bosses offer the real challenge. They are powerful and well equipped with back-up, and a high health count. More often than not, the bosses will be the enemy to kill the player, rather than the level-to-level enemies.
This game is clearly no walk in the park. It’s the type of game where a player will use their many (many, many) deaths to learn and figure out their ideal style of play. With the handful of characters, each with varying attributes and weapons to choose from, it could certainly take one a long time to complete their rescue mission. While it can be a tiny bit frustrating, especially when some of the deaths feel cheap (for example, from an exploding barrel), it is mostly motivating and addicting, keeping a player hooked and determined to get further with each attempt. This title is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for a quick and easy game.
Visually, the game is rather straightforward. The pixelated graphics are charming, though the gruesome blood splatter emphasizes this game is geared toward a slightly older audience. The player and all enemies are plain white. There isn’t much else to look at aside from the basic rocks, trees, fences, and a few scattered structures and train tracks. This feels a little bare, but at the end of the day, you are so focused on strategy that it goes unnoticed. This simplicity fits the theme with this game so that the focus remains on the intensity of the gameplay.
Colt Canyon isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun. It’s hard for even a few minutes to go by without really wanting to attempt a new strategy and give it another go. Once a player has the game running, it’s very tough to turn it off. This indie game comes highly recommended for anyone looking for a quick but invigorating, cutthroat, and engaging time.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.