ReviewsReview: Virtuous Western

Review: Virtuous Western

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Western action films are a classic rough and tough form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by young and old. The stories are full of colourful characters, interesting plots, and absurd fight scenes. Virtuous Western captures the essence of the theme with its bright pixel world and gunslinging fights.

Developed by Nibb Games and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a Western-inspired action-puzzle title. With fixed-screen stages to overcome and some logic-based puzzles to complete, this will have you leaping, shooting, and dodging your way to victory.

Can you make them shoot each other?

Virtuous Western has a generous learning curve.

Virtuous Western spans thirty sun-drenched stages and has a speedrun mode to enhance the game’s difficulty. The story revolves around a cowboy who chases a horse thief after he steals his prized stallion. Unhappy to have his property stolen, the hero stops at nothing to be reunited with his ride. The aim of the game is straightforward, as you simply must annihilate every cowboy you encounter. How you do this is your choice, but you must avoid being shot as one bullet will kill you!

The game starts easily and gradually builds in difficulty! Your revolver starts with no ammo and you must scour the stage to pick up bullets to shoot your foes. With a limited amount of ammo at hand, you must use the scenery and your enemies wisely to succeed.

You have as much time as you wish to scan the scene, so use it to plan your approach and complete each stage. Shoot the chains that hold up dangling boulders, or get your enemies to kill one another. The choice is yours and sometimes more than one opportunity arises for you to complete each level.

Shoot the chain and let the boulder drop!

Its simplicity lets it down.

I liked the concept behind Virtuous Western, but its simplicity lets it down. The game fails to evolve past its basic premise and this stunts its growth. I would have loved to see more complex problems introduced but the game plateaus early on. You do, however, encounter tougher opponents, TNT crates, and sticks of dynamite, but this sadly doesn’t add to the excitement. This doesn’t mean it lacks fun, or it isn’t worthy of your time. No, it just won’t test you.

Where it excels and tests you are the speedrun sections. This hectic mode pushes you to remember how to complete each stage flawlessly, and it keeps you on your toes. This is where the developers should have invested their energy, as the gameplay would have been excellent as a completely hardcore speedrun title.

Virtuous Western uses a simple pixel art style.

The simplicity of the imagery and the fixed-screen perspective worked really well. The retro style and colourful backdrops were nice to look at, and each stage was well laid out. Thanks to its lack of complexity, I could easily plan how to overcome the obstacles I encountered.

The audio uses every clichéd trick in the book to enhance the Western theme. With its dramatic soundtrack that reminds you of John Wayne, to its booming revolver sound effect, you’ll be transported to the dangerous plains of those lawless lands.

No shame in shooting him in the back.

You’ll be wielding a revolver in no time.

With limited buttons to use and straightforward controls to master, you’ll be wielding your revolver like a pro in no time. With three commands to learn that are responsive, you’ll have no issues becoming the cowboy/girl of your dreams.

If you enjoy the challenge of speedrunning, then you’ll get hooked on Virtuous Western’s fast-paced secondary mode. However, if this doesn’t float your boat, you’ll experience a fun title that offers little reason to return. Its small achievement list is completed with ease and this reduces the longevity exponentially. 

Virtuous Western is not challenging enough. 

I’m not a gamer who needs a Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy level difficulty. However, I want my games to test me in the latter stages. Sadly, Virtuous Western rarely challenges, and this was disappointing. Though I wanted more, I enjoyed the theme, presentation, and the speedrun mode, and therefore I recommend you buy it here! Grab your pistol, solve the puzzles, and shoot your foes.

The review in video form with gameplay captured on my Xbox Series X, enjoy!

SUMMARY

Virtuous Western is a simple puzzle title that fails to evolve. Its basic concept excels during the speedrun mode and Nibb Games should have focussed on this element.

+ Colourful pixel art.
+ Clichéd Western audio.
+ The speedrun mode is addictive and challenging.
+ Simple controls.
+ A completionist's dream.
- The main mode lacks challenge.
- Not long enough.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]
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