El Hijo – A Wild West Tale — Review
Follow Genre: Stealth, Strategy, Casual, Exploration
Developer: Honig Studios, Quantumfrog
Publisher: HandyGames
Platform: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Tested on: PC

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale — Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: Stunning visuals, Challenging gameplay, Gratifying backstory
Bad: Insensitive controls, Unclear interaction prompt with environment
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Nothing’s stronger than a bond between mother and son. El Hijo – A Wild West Tale shows this magnificently in its stunning stealth indie game where you have to bring out your best wit and stealth skill. Put it to the test and hopefully reach the end safely. Sneak in the shadows, create distractions, and slip right through enemies’ fingers so the pair can be reunited.

We start the game off at a farm where a woman and her little son (“El Hijo” means “son” in Spanish) are attacked by bandits who plundered and burned their farmhouse right down to the ground. Now that the pair is homeless, the mother decides to leave “El Hijo” at a secluded monastery in order to protect him. She gives him a framed family portrait and a small catapult as a parting gift and says her goodbyes. However, the monastic life doesn’t suit “El Hijo” at all and he decides to escape and goes on a path in search of his mother.

Meanwhile, his mother is trying to survive in the harsh Wild West, avoiding merciless bandits who are only up to no-good.

In El Hijo – A Wild West Tale, we get to see both sides of their stories and see them come together nicely. Sneak past dangers, overcome challenges and find your escape from the remote monastery, the unforgiving stretch of desert, and a frontier town rife with crime and villainy. Will mother and son be reunited once again?

Graphics

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale has a stunning cartoonish art style, nostalgic to common children’s books. It gives off just the right presentation of how a small child-like “El Hijo” – would see the world: vivid and cheerful. This makes the game light and playful, and very enjoyable to play through. The game also gives us beautiful cutscenes from time to time so we can appreciate the visuals and story in their entirety. 

Sound

Behind the charming visuals, there’s also a wonderful soundtrack that backs the environment perfectly. The melodic music combined with on-point environmental sounds creates a lively atmosphere that sucks you right into the game. It’s one of those occasions where the graphical side and the sound design work together perfectly.

Gameplay

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a charming stealth-based indie game where you need to strategize your way out of a situation without getting caught. As the player, you guide a little boy on his quest to find his mother. You’ll notice the journey is tough, and the path to his mother is all but easy. 

You start at the monastery with “El Hijo” but slowly move on to other areas the more you progress through the levels. The game consists of 29 maze-like levels, each with its own theme and challenges. This is very enjoyable since the scenery can change up from a boring monastery to exciting train rides. The main goal of this game is to stealthily escape from a location by hiding in your surroundings e.g. shadows, bookcases, curtains, etc. It’s not that hard to figure out, but it’s never clear what exactly you can interact with. You could be stuck at a certain point for a long time, only because you didn’t realize you could hide in that certain spot.

There’s also shadowplay in the game, which is a nice addition besides hiding behind big pots and crawling under tables. You’re practically hiding in plain sight. There’s one thing that is noticeable when playing the game and that is that it can be quite frustrating while playing with a mouse and keyboard. The controls aren’t very smooth and walking/running diagonally feels rough. Navigating along a diagonal shadow is basically impossible in one try. It also feels like the responsiveness occasionally doesn’t work or takes seconds to register, causing time-based interacting and hiding to become a nightmare. 

Luckily El Hijo – A Wild West Tale does not only entail hiding behind barrels and cowering in the shadows. We reckon this sounds tiring after a while – and it is. In some situations, you will need to create a distraction which makes the gameplay a bit more exciting. Along the way, you gather distraction tools and add them to your arsenal of e.g. stones, smoke bombs, your faithful catapult, etc. You can also use them to shoot open locks among other things.

Conclusion

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a beautiful game with a charming storyline and stunning visuals. It’s great for casual play and fans of strategy/stealth games. the game is not too long, not too short. It all depends on how long you’re stuck on each stage. The levels are not that difficult but can get challenging by the laggy controls and unclear interaction prompts. The gameplay can get tiring after a while, but this also depends on how you play.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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El Hijo - A Wild West Tale — Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
JenRox


“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

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