West of Loathing, the Sequel to Kingdom of Loathing, is Here!
West of Loathing is the sequel to Kingdom of Loathing that I’ve been waiting years for. This single player, RPG set in the Old West is full of some serious silliness, fun quests, and a bit of puzzle solving.
When I first heard about West of Loathing, I giggled with joy. Asymmetric’s Kingdom of Loathing is one of my all time favorite games. My Clan of the Cave Barr and I played for years, ascending various classes, laughing at new monsters and quests (including a boss with my name!), and generally enjoying the silliness. West of Loathing is the sequel I hoped for. It takes the simple stick figure characters to a new level, adding animation and better fight scenes. The western setting and demon cows are hilarious.
You start at home, dreaming of your character class. Each class has its own set of strengths, whether you chose Cow Puncher, Beanslinger, or Snake Oiler. I chose a snake oiler, which gave me a lovely derby, a snake fighting skill, and a briefcase of snakes. After some basic training at home, I was headed to Boring Town, a tutorial area. There, you pick your steed and partner (or “pardner”) before setting off for the main game map.
Navigating the game is relatively easy. You’re guided by pop-up boxes and conversations. I quickly got the hang of sending my Snake Oiler on quests and foraging for items. My favorite part is the conversation with other in-game characters. While wandering the desert, I quickly began to eagerly await the new puns and silly jokes in each interaction. It’s an open world map with plenty of places to explore and discover. There’s plenty of slapstick and comedy spread throughout, whether in conversations or beyond. Most of this has a western bent, but then you hit a pop culture reference, like picking Gin Blossoms on Allison Road.
The More Good
Making food, drinks, and medicine is pretty straight forward, both for new gamers and experienced KOL players. Most of the quests are relatively easy to figure out. The game seems pretty balanced in terms of rewarding XP, meat (your in-game currency), and items. I never felt like I was critically short of meat to buy a quest item, and it took quite awhile before I was killed. Your HP resets with each battle, making it easier to last through the days along the trail.
Outfitting your character is its own hilarity. My character has spent most of the game in a Pope hat, carrying a gun she fished out of a toilet, and wearing pants she hornswaggled off a passing fur trapper. The food, drink, and potions add to your skills and last until you die in battle.
Unfortunately, West of Loathing falls prey to the same reason I eventually left Kingdom of Loathing – too much memorization. This applies partly to remembering locations, such as where to craft snake medicine or buy certain items. There are also a few quests that require more information than a person can remember. Without screen shots, writing information down, or a WOL wiki, you’re out of luck.
The first time I encountered a quest of this type was in the Pickle Factory. During a dream, my snake oiler was being given a lot of information. Given this was the first quest of this type, I wasn’t expecting anything until I entered the factory. At that point, I realized there were three rooms where I needed to do very specific things in order to solve the quest. Except I hadn’t written down the numbers. Or taken screen shots. So far, I haven’t been able to enter the dream sequence again to find the information. Eventually, there will be a fan-created reference page where I can find the information. However, I was hoping to avoid that. Luckily, these quests seem pretty few and far between and are not stopping me from enjoying the rest of the game.
After multiple hours of gameplay, I still have many quests to wander to, as well as new classes to learn and pardners to experiment with. I look forward to seeing what Asymmetric adds to the game over the coming months!
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Review: West of Loathing - a Western Adventurer is You!
If you enjoy single player, role playing games with a hefty dose of black and white stick figure silliness, West of Loathing is the game for you. Enjoy this new idie release by Asymmetric on Steam as you travel through the Old West as a