West of Dead (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 17.11.2020

Review for West of Dead on Nintendo Switch

2020's rogue-like lineup seems to be growing denser by the month. West of Dead is a Western-themed twin-stick shooter in the vein of the die-and-retry rogue-like genre that has been polarising ever since its namesake Rogue was released in 1980. Armed with a flaming skull, a penchant for rebirth, and the husky voice of Ron Perlman, West of Dead sees you journey through the halls of Purgatory after being mauled by a wendigo, from dilapidated mine shafts to boggy New Orleans-esque swamps, all the while seeking a way out of the perpetual cycle.

West of Dead nails the dark-Western tone that it shoots for, aided in no small part by Ron Perlman's excellent voice-acting. It's a shame he's not given more to say because when he does pipe up it's with a verve that suggests he was made for the role of an undead sharpshooter. His performance is complemented by some solid sound design all-round; the ricochets, falling shell casings, and general gun-related noises are all perfectly realised in this supernatural Western.

This coupled with suitably cartoony graphics contributes to an experience that is rife with personality. The cover-based shootouts and the tension of period-appropriate slow reload times establishes West of Dead as an experience that any fan of cowboy flicks will find charming. There is a variety of weapons to find in the procedurally generated dungeons and a host of power-ups and abilities to stumble into - not to mention the bizarre but organic characters and oddballs who serve as store owners and hint-givers in turn. They do a passable job of making Purgatory feel like a living, breathing place, as do the undead snipers and grizzled beasties you fight along the way. It feels at home on the Switch, too: the rogue-like structure is perfect for short bursts of on-the-go play.

Screenshot for West of Dead on Nintendo Switch

Unfortunately, the gameplay itself is something of a letdown. The combat quickly becomes repetitive due to the sparsely available pickups. All but the most decadent weapons cleave too close to each other in function, and most runs end up feeling exactly the same with little to separate them aside from your growing skill level. West of Dead's lack of innovation in its mechanics make it feel like a baseline rogue-like experience, despite its well-established personality.

This sadly doesn't provide enough to sustain interest for very long, and even the level design that morphs with every new run can start to feel stale. Nevertheless, when there are breakthroughs in progress and your own skill-level, the sense of achievement is just as rewarding as any solid rogue-like. It's that rush you get from progressing, along with West of Dead's unique and well-established personality, that make it recommendable to genre enthusiasts.

Screenshot for West of Dead on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While West of Dead makes only a fleeting pass at innovation, it is still enjoyable for a time and does a great job of nailing a sense of personality that will resonate with fans of the good ol' Western. It's only avid rogue-like players, though, that will find much here to keep themselves invested. The repetition in the core gameplay quickly saps it of its charm, in turn requiring a concerted effort to see this title through to the bitter end.

Developer

Upstream Arcade

Publisher

Raw Fury Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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