A recent and widespread problem in the world of video games is the overwhelming amount of titles produced and published every day. These games are often of questionable quality and steal the space in the digital shop windows. There are other titles much more deserving of notoriety. Without noticing them, we end up believing that well-made video games are only AAAs. This is mostly because of the amount of advertising they bombard us with. However, the indie world is more flourishing than ever, especially with HandyGames latest title. Here is my El Hijo – A Wild West Tale review on PC.
The video game was published by HandyGames and developed by Honig Studios in collaboration with Quantumfrog. These are all very young development companies, but with a passion well expressed in this video game. This is a stealth and arcade title, so much so that the enemies have the classic vision cones. Take note that I preferred to play it with a controller. El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a game that is very suitable for this type of input.
The protagonist of this video game is a six-year-old boy. His mother abandoned him, and now he wants to reunite with her again. To do this, he will have to sneak away and not be noticed by the dangers along the way. The adventure will take you to observe the world through a fresh perspective. You will see through the eyes of a lively and curious child, who will unwittingly discover the selfish schemes of adults.
The world in HandyGames’ El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is very colorful and not sad at all. The game also has a tendency to emphasize the value of freedom through the actions of the child. In fact, you will discover that child slavery is very widespread throughout the game world. Your task will also be to give refreshment and inspiration to your peers.
In stark contrast is the corruption of society, with a slow and increasingly suffocating presence of negative characters as you get closer to the more populated areas. It is indeed a wild and corrupt west, especially inspired by Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. However, the actions are what gives life to the title. Its narrative component is almost a tinsel for this video game with a strong arcade imprint.
HandyGames’ El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a title structured in a series of linear levels. You do all of this to get closer and closer to your goal: to reach your mother. By controlling the child, you will have to avoid the dangers and try to cross the articulated environments without being noticed. You will therefore spend a lot of time in completely invisible shadows.
You can also hide inside a piece of furniture, or even ask for passage on a buffalo to cross a dense camp of bandits. Sometimes, to proceed, they will ask you to solve simple puzzles. These puzzles can range from having to move crates to placing ladders properly. However, the most interesting puzzles are those of human obstacles.
Often you will find yourself with the road blocked by motionless people or jackals ready to bite you. To cross them, you will be able to exploit a little ingenuity and precise timing. The child will also be able to take advantage of a trusty dove. You can activate the dove with RB and it will plow the skies, showing you the vision cones of the enemies.
USING THE ENVIRONMENT
Take note that in the surrounding environment, there are disposable and consumable items to interact with. The main one is the throwing of stones. You can throw stones either by hand or using the slingshot. If thrown against solid objects, the stones will emit distracting noises. This will give you an opportunity to proceed unnoticed.
Each hit produces a distinct sound. This gives a greater sense of impact and physicality to the background elements. You can also break pots to make your way, or even use them for a temporary hiding place. Sometimes it will also be necessary to break locks or lanterns to create spaces of darkness. There are a variety of items you can use. Each one will give you a particular way to deal with intricate situations.
For example, there is a special cactus that can create purple clouds, which you can use to go unnoticed. There are a few challenges that you can complete that will earn you special tokens. You can spend these tokens to unlock images in the gallery. For example, if you pass a level without being caught, you will receive a token. If you can find all the enslaved children and inspire them, then you will also receive a token.
This last action will activate a short contextual animation, in which the child protagonist will try to entertain and amuse his peers. There are really many animations of this type. It is a pleasant system that will encourage you even more to explore the levels and complete them.
The in-game commands are very simple and they reduced the actions to a minimum. The mechanics are easy to understand, and you can immediately embark on the adventure without the use of tutorials or complicated explanations of any kind. However, the commands did not always respond quickly and accurately to my inputs. This definitely caused some frustration!
Despite pressing a key at the correct time, sometimes it will not carry out the desired action. It has often happened that I cannot hide in time just because the key I pressed was not registered correctly. A problem with HandyGames’ El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is also the tall grass. Sometimes it is difficult to know when it really can offer cover or not.
Aesthetically, HandyGames’ El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a very pleasant title that points to a decidedly “raw cartoon” style. This style even reminds me of some illustrated books. The theme suits the game very well, given the boyish point of view that is imposed most of the time. A discordant note, however, are the woody animations that do not do justice to the rest of the artistic sector.
Fortunately, the graphic weight on the hardware is almost nil. From the audio point of view it is a video game that largely adopts a minimal, but extremely functional sector. The increase in intensity near dangers or situations is a pleasant touch. However, this is not an omnipresent audio element. It only happens in some specific situations.
Do you want to try HandyGames’ El Hijo – A Wild West Tale? What do you think of my El Hijo – A Wild West Tale review on PC? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for Haven, DOOM Eternal, Super Meat Boy Forever, Gears 5: Hivebusters, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Godfall, and Fallout 76 Steel Dawn.