Release Date: January 16th 2018
Price as of Article: $19.99 USD, £17.99 GBP
World to the West is the second game from Rain games to land on the Switch and is a sequel of the excellent Teslagrad and takes place in the same universe albeit further into the future. Here the story is centred around four characters all of which you will be able to take control of within the game and all have their own chapters. Put simply, each character has had something taken from them and each of these items in the wrong hands will help our baddy dominate the world. You will get introduced to each of them and spend time with each one, learning their motivations. A little later in the game the characters all meet one way or another and there is dialogue but not enough to really flesh out the story which is a shame. You control each character one by one and learn more as you go on.
One thing to note is while there is not always enough dialogue, the dialogue which is there is often quite humorous and each character has a it’s own personality which again Rain games could have made a lot more of.
The story here starts really strongly and gets you really intrigued but unfortunately I feel it was a missed opportunity to really build upon it.One issue I always have when a story is being told from four different angles is how they intertwine together and how it can become a little frustrating when you are just finding out a little bit more about a character only to have to jump to someone else’s story. It all comes together rather nicely in the end but it’s just not my favoured way of a story being told. However, this is my own personal taste and may not reflect your feelings.
The music is actually really pleasant and there is nothing you will listen to. The atmosphere created is excellent and is one of the strongest parts of the game. I do wish that the characters had been voiced which would have added a lot more to this games audio if done well. Having reviewed Furi recently, it’s often taken for granted how much it can add to the overall experience but we understand this is an indie game with limited budgets.
Sound effects from Lord Clonington turning and breaking down doors to Knaus the kid digging his holes to go underground all sound decent enough. My personal favourite though, is when taking control of Miss Teri as she is able to control other creatures with her mind. I can only describe one of the creatures as a red squirrel but the sound it makes when jumping over ledges is really cute. Everything is done well and it does fit the artsy style of the game which defines the studio Rain Games.
Visuals and performance
The visuals here are of course very different to Teslagrad which was a 2D game where as this is a 3D top-down game much like the Zelda games back in the day. This is a very artsy game and it’s what Rain games are known for. The character models look rather good and the animations really fit in the game well. I did find though that in some areas of the game that colours were not as vibrant as I was expecting, and in a lot of places the environments lack a bit of punch. For every area which was a little drab, you would often come across a nice area soon after, like flower beds, where the flowers would move when walking across them or waterfalls.
The game ran smoothly for the majority of the time I spent with it and I didn’t notice any noticeable slow down which of course is good news.
Puzzles and characters
World to the West is a game with lost of puzzles to solve which I found the most fun aspect of this game. Each character has a range of differing skills which will be best suited to each puzzle and you will have to use the right character in certain situations to open up more of the map. An example of this is when you have to use Miss Teri to mind control some small creatures to do her bidding which may be collecting a special item for her so she can get through a door. It could also be controlling a bigger beast which she cannot kill herself by making them jump to their deaths off a cliff or into the water. The little kid can be used to go through small openings to reach other side of walls or he can use his digging skills to go underground and reach inaccessible areas. Lord Clonington is a beast of a man and is used to break down doors and get through previously inaccessible areas using brute strength. Each of the four characters feels different enough and are nice to control. There may be times when you get stuck as you will be unsure what to do and the game doesn’t always point you in the right direction. I was fine figuring it out but some may find it a little frustrating from time to time. Its all about remembering what skills you have with each character at your disposal and using them at the right time.
Open World Exploration
World to the West is an open world exploration game as the developers have said. There is an element of exploration in the game and you will find secrets from time to time where there will be a chest to open.
The game can be explored overground but there are times in the game where you will have to explore underground to reach other areas of the map. Although the game is linear, it does do a good job of giving you the impression that it isn’t as you can go off the beaten path from time to time. In the end though you will always come back to having to recover a key item to push the story forward.
Totems are your best friend as they allow you to save the game and swap between characters. As you open up parts of the map it gives you the ability to travel between areas exploring parts at a time and I do like that you can fast travel.
Swapping between characters really can feel like a laborious affair though and feels like a real pain at times. If you find a totem with one character, then only that character can travel to that totem. If you want another character to travel to that same totem you will have to traverse the very same areas with those characters so in essence you would have to repeat the same parts of the map with the other character. There is far too much back tracking because of this and this for me did take away some of my enthusiasm for the game. It does make sense but in practice is doesn’t work for me.
The combat in the game is not really that challenging although there are some clever parts. For example Knaus can’t really fight as he is just a little boy with a shovel so he has to run into small tunnels to get away. Each character has their strengths when dealing with enemies but I never felt like it was the most meaningful part of the game. There were some parts which were a little imaginative but all in all the combat and variation in enemies was a disappointment.
You can unlock abilities for characters in this game and there are collectables such as health shrines, batteries and necessary items to move the story forward and to reach other areas. For example ice skates which allows Knaus to traverse over water areas. I feel there could have been a little more depth added to the game which would have made it more rewarding overall. One aspect I found really lacking was the lack of quests which would have been a fun diversion from time to time. There is a real lack of replayabillity once you have completed the campaign.
Controls are solid and it’s a joy to control each character and I found this to be one of the best parts of the game. Each of the characters feels good to control and are all different enough to have fun with. It’s all very simple.Each character has their own set of moves and B and Y are the main buttons you will need for each one.
This review was written by Juan Romero for Switchwatch
The games gives you eight hours of solid gameplay for the price of £17,99 or $19,99 respectively. I found the adventure to be a really pleasant one but at this price there is a lot of competition on the Switch eShop. If you are looking for an adventure game then this is certainly one to consider along with the likes of Blossom Tales and Oceanhorn. However, for me there is a real lack of pulling power to want to go back and explore this for a second time as you can see most of this game the first time round so bare that in mind.
Decent amount of exploration
Puzzles are fun
Controls are spot on
Lacklusture visuals at times
Story could have had more depth
Too much back tracking
Lack of quests