Boot Hill Bounties – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Experimental Gamer Studios
Publisher: Experimental Gamer Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Boot Hill Bounties – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Atmosphere, Concept, Mechanics
Bad: Sometimes a bit too heavy in terms of conversations vs combat
User Score
10.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)

It’s no secret that some of us love retro inspired games and perhaps even long back to the golden days when the 8 and 16 bit era was still at its peak. Nonetheless, recently a title by a small developer, Experimental Gamer Studios, piqued our interest by creating a seemingly old school RPG game, with a turn based combat system all in a Western setting. While we may have missed the first part of the Boot Hill series, we were still very eager to dive into this second iteration of the series and we were quite impressed with what the small team behind  the game had accomplished.

Boot Hill Bounties

Story

The story of the game is pretty simple, as you’ll be playing as Kid in the Wild West, who is accompanied by Doc, Rosy and Moon, and you’re working to capture the Saints-Little Gang, the gang that was originally stopped by Kid’s father, and Howl’s Boot Hill Posse. Sadly, it also cost Kid’s father’s life, but it made sure a decade of peace was brought into place. Nonetheless, after a decade of peace, the Saints-Little Gang pops up again, terrorizing the west, and also instilling a war between the native people of America and the colonists, and thus stopping the gang may be the only thing that could stop the war. From here on out you’ll be able to choose from a variety of options to accomplish certain goals, such as track down the gang’s members, try to stop the war, or talk to the indigenous people to change their minds.

Even though Boot Hill Bounties is the second game in the series, the creator made sure that players can dive into this second part with enough information to play this game, without missing out too much. Of course, playing the first game helps bonding with the characters, and also helps you create a proper background for everything that is going on, but nonetheless, all characters are properly introduced and the overall picture is laid out in front of you, making sure you understand all that is going on. The information is spread quite thickly, and every character does its best to add to the story, even if it’s just a random villager.

Boot Hill Bounties 1

Graphics

Even though the game uses pixilated graphics, which may be deemed dated by many younger gamers, the amount of detail that went into Boot Hill Bounties is rather amazing. You’ll be treated to tons of different sceneries, all with enough clutter to decorate everything in sight, many different characters, different items, enemies and so on, making this a rather impressive feat to pull off with such a small studio. The only thing that could have used a bit of extra tuning may have been the combat animations, but even then, these differentiate enough to remain interesting throughout the game, especially considering the different skill sets at your disposal.

The entire world of Boot Hill Bounties is colorful, enchanting and has a real Western vibe, ranging from the old styled buildings, to the newspapers you can actually read, to all the different settings you and your party will wander through.

Sound

Sound wise the game does just as good of a job as the graphical department, even though the music was also a one-man job. You’ll be treated to somewhat old school tunes, which have a modern enough quality for you to be blown away by the authenticity and the originality for a game such as this. While some tunes may play and loop a tad too much, the music in this adorable Western title is just top notch and accompanies all that is going on perfectly.

Boot Hill Bounties 2

Gameplay

Boot Hill Bounties is a fairly old school RPG game all in the warm blanket of a Wild West setting, which works quite well for the game. The game’s goal is pretty much trying to stop a war between the indigenous people of America and the colonists, who are at each other’s throats. The game will not be a linear experience, as you’re able to choose which pressure point you want to relieve first, but the goal remains the same. This title is rather heavy in terms of content, which means you’ll be listening to conversations a lot, rather than constantly grind for experience, gear and other useful items.

In terms of exploring, finding items and other trinkets, the system is the same as many other RPGs, but the combat and gear systems are a bit different, unique and rather fun to mess around with. The combat is turn based, just like many older games but it’s not presented in the same ancient formula. Each of your characters, as well as the enemies’ will have a power bar, which gradually fills, until you can perform actions. Some actions cost more than other, thus the charging time will change accordingly. Attacking an enemy with his pants down will grant you extra power at the beginning of the battle and vice versa. If you’re playing alone, you’ll find yourself pausing the combat quite often, to properly plan the moves of your team, but if you play co-op, it’s easier to micromanage, as you’ll have less characters to worry about, seeing your friends will choose the actions of the rest of your troop, depending on how many players, and how many characters they get to manage. We have to mention that during our co-op sessions the game tended to crash quite a lot, which never occurred during single player play.

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As mentioned above, not only the combat system is quite original, the gear system is as well. Equipping weapons, armor and special items, yet again works like any other RPG, but you’ll also be able to equip headpieces, which actually represent your skill set. Each ‘hat’ contains vantages (skills) which change according to whatever hat you’re wearing. The latter can also affect the weapon you’re able to use, seeing the action ‘shoot’, cannot be performed by a melee weapon and so on. Your headpieces will also receive experience after each battle, and in time will unlock more skill slots, more skills and the ability to equip certain skills on different hats, making it so that it’s interesting to level different hats, to gain a better – combined – skill set for your characters.

The difficulty of the game is not to be underestimated when playing on the normal setting. Experienced RPG fanatics might be able to properly manage their characters, but newcomers or even inexperienced players will find the combat system to be fairly difficult as your enemies dish out a fair amount of damage. Playing on the easy setting however is sometimes a bit too easy, as you’ll wade through many battles with only a few scratches, or barely any healing necessary. Between every combat you’ll heal completely, safe for certain status effects, which will have to be healed by a local healer, or Doc, if he has learned how to treat your ailment. Another difficult aspect is working with the reagents, which can upgrade your weapons. While it’s not a difficult system per se, it’s trying out new combinations, without knowing what you’ll end up that is somewhat hard as you never know if your weapon will receive the effect you’re hoping for.

Boot Hill Bounties 4

Overall the controls are smooth, but you’ll get stuck behind small items a lot, especially when on horseback. Nonetheless, everything feels responsive, but it’s advised to play with a decent controller, rather than the keyboard  settings. If you wish to play with more than one player, one player can use the keyboard if you’re lacking controllers.

Conclusion

Boot Hill Bounties is a very ambitious project and it doesn’t fail to deliver. You’ll be presented with a cute looking Western RPG, with a fun combat system, many places to explore, an original gear system, an extensive storyline presented by many dialogues and above all a great atmosphere for a pixilated game. If you’re fond of old school RPGs, love a proper combat system and simply adore the Wild West then this second iteration of the series is certainly a must to try out. Of course, if you want the full experience, we advise you to start off with part one.

Boot Hill Bounties 5

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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Boot Hill Bounties - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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