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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Review: World to the West

From the team that brought your Teslagrad. Can they improve on brilliance?

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World to the West
Rain Games | Nintendo Switch | Digital Only
1 Player
Reviewed by - Curtis Chapman | 18th January 2018

* Review Code Provided by: Rain Games *

Taking a dramatic leap away from the look and feel of from their previous masterpiece of hand-drawn Metroidvania goodness, Rain Games’ newest title World to the West is looking to leave the same mark in history. Released today and priced at £17.99, can it rise up from under Teslagrad's massively imposing shadow and shine as yet another must buy?

Rain Games could have easily opted to cash in on the success of Teslagrad, repackaged the content slightly and marketed it out as a direct sequel. Instead, World to the West has been left to stand on its own two feet, with only some thematic similarities to remind the player of Rain Games previous work.

World to the West finds four strangers, each dealing with their own problems, brought together by fate to embark on a quest that none of them had asked for. Divulging any more information than that would spoil the twists and turns ahead and ruin a well thought out and entertaining story.

The game starts fairly slowly though, feeding the player very little in regards to the storyline at first and relying on a series of early tutorial like chapters to flesh out the main objective. While it takes a little bit of time to do so, presenting the possibility for players to become disenchanted with the pace and prematurely abandoning the title, the moment the main story opens up and all the mechanics start to work seamlessly together the game becomes absolutely fantastic!

The main games relies heavily on the use of each of the four characters and their unique abilities to solve the puzzles and cross the pitfalls as you are presented them. These puzzle range in difficulty but toward the end of the game will give even the most seasoned adventurer a run for their money. There are regular checkpoints in the game and autosaves are regular enough that dying doesn’t feel like too much of an annoyance. Playable characters are swapped by using one of the many totem poles dotted around the game world. These poles also let you fast travel around the map once they have been discovered, something that you’ll find yourself doing rather a lot. Combat is well fleshed out and provides an entertaining challenge at points.

Graphics have stepped up from beautiful hand-drawn sprite and luscious locales to a full 3D, albeit in a “Low-Poly” art style. It works well, looks good and due to the being played almost entirely from a top-down perspective, with small flourishes when focussing on an object or during dialogue, it hides a multitude of sins. Being in 3D presents the usual problems that tend to plague most games of similar ilk, that being erroneous clipping issues between characters and static models. While not horribly off-putting due to the camera viewpoint, it’s a sad concession that has to be made when compared to the fine lines of Rain Games previous masterpiece.

The control scheme works well, is responsive and each action feels like it belongs where it has been assigned. With so many controllable players, each with game mechanics that not only become more developed over time but also evolve into a completely different set of controls at times, it would be easy to get confused on how to operate this game if left to it. Luckily a simple tap of the R button brings up a small, unobtrusive list of your current characters actions and how to execute them, all without pausing the game. It’s a simple thing to implement but with so many possible actions at any one time, it goes a long way in maintaining the flow of the game.

It’s extremely hard to avoid comparing World to the West to early 2D Legend of Zelda titles, which is not a bad thing at all. It’s not just the top-down camera either; parts of combat, the way the levels are linked together, the world map...There’s more than a few similarities. One good thing about World to the West is that it takes these elements and expands on them, introducing mechanics that go a long way into setting it apart from simply being referred to as an upright Zelda clone.

World to the West is a fantastic title and is one that would be hard not to recommend. With a nice slice of action, some tough as nails puzzles and the best way to get any sort of old-school top-down Legend of Zelda feels on your Nintendo Switch, Rain Games have made one cracker of a title. A few tiny issues have become the difference between a recommended and an essential purchase and if those issues don’t sound like they’d bother you, then stop reading and go pick it up!


+ Quality storyline
+ Unique and challenging puzzles
+ Combat is entertaining
+ Lengthy main game

- A few graphical hiccups

Verdict: Almost There - Highly Recommended

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