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41 Hours played
[Spoiler-Free Review]

Setting an RPG in the spaghetti west just makes so much sense!
Boot Hill Heroes is a modern RPG designed as a sort of homage to the glory days of the Role Playing and Wild West genres. The story is easy to follow and progresses at a snappy pace, the difficulty is forgiving (for the most part), and while it doesn’t allow for true ‘save anywhere!’ functionality, you’ll never feel locked-in to a play session beyond what your time allows. Despite being a linear experience overall, the game still manages to deliver a large scope RPG feel (complete with unique characters, game mechanics, and plot twists and turns throughout).

It isn’t just an Earthbound clone.
What really distinguishes this game is the setting. Everything from the types of enemies you encounter, to the locales you visit, and the weapons at your disposal remain faithful to the genre and lend a sense of authenticity to the entire experience. It's charming and cohesive, with big entrances and over-the-top performances from a cast of characters the likes of which you’d expect to find in Vaudeville. I won’t give anything away but the characters (esp. the villains) are the true stars of the game and they don’t disappoint.

This game has heart!
Every character in the game is completely unique (in appearance and dialogue). It’s hard to imagine how much work went into creating a world, one character and one house at a time, but you'll notice how meticulously places are decorated and arranged. It's a small window into who they are and the way they live. In addition to the dinnerware, you’ll find livestock penned in barns and stables, people working the farms and such: towns feel alive.

Hat Mechanic
Hats are the means by which your characters change their appearances and acquire new abilities. They’re equipped, but don’t produce any defensive bonuses. This is crucial to what makes them work, once you've unlocked the skills associated with a new hat, you can choose to wear another hat for purely aesthetic purposes. In this way, you'll never have to worry about hats being outclassed by others discovered down the line. It’s a system that encourages experimentation. Receiving new hats throughout your adventure never feels old, you'll rush to try each one on as soon as you get them. Unfortunately there is some overlap in unlocked abilities so not every hat provides you with a completely new set of unlearned skills.

The writing is clever and witty!
Especially in battles where enemies are introduced and later eulogized depending on your performance. I wish there was a greater variety of phrases rather than one or two for each type of foe, but I always looked forward to seeing how they would come to grips with being defeated: I know at least one or two lives were changed thanks to my relentless beatings.

Dialogue could use a bit of tightening up overall. In battles you'll sometimes get a message detailing every aspect of what an enemy attack does. Lick is probably the most egregious example of what I’m trying to describe here, “Weak physical damage with small chance for confusion that slightly heals the user.” Thankfully, the developer has demonstrated a willingness to address issues as they're identified.

The graphics in battles aren’t the best…
A bit rough around the edges shall we say? Don’t expect to be blown away. Some of the enemies look like they were created in MS Paint. In addition, the font style (all caps, some spacing issues) makes it somewhat difficult to read what’s being said at times. I’m not saying you can’t read it, I’m saying you’ll appreciate how easy it is to read text in other games.

The Music/Soundtrack!!!
Does the industry have an award for Videogame Music of the Year? What won? This is better.

Missing content from PS Vita version?
This is the definitive package, all content released on other platforms is being included in the Steam release.

Post-Release Support?
Boot Hill Heroes Part 1 is finished but new features have been added post-release (including a new mini map feature in the latest patch). Since the game is being spread out over multiple episodes, the developer has seen fit to reward early adopters by offering each DLC release free at launch (free for one week), the price then becomes $0.99 each. What does this mean? Buy the game now and get all future episodes for free.

If you've got any interest in RPG games of old, get Boot Hill Heroes. This game is special.

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