As a Texan, I admittedly have a soft spot for anything with a Wild West theme. The cowboys! The horses! The showdowns at high noon! It’s all so exciting and epic, and its in these small details I think Colt Canyon captures the feeling of the Western genre well. Just with pixels. So many pixels.
Colt Canyon is a top-down shooter that puts you in the boots of a cowboy trying to save their partner from bandits. Along the way, you’ll run into a number of people being tormented by all sorts of troublemakers you can choose to help. Sometimes, helping them helps you. Others, meddling might get you killed by bandits. It’s all up to you to decide how you want to play.
You’ll start as a cowboy with a revolver, and you’re briefly shown how to aim, shoot, reload, and fight. It’s important to note that you’ll start out with very little ammo. Most levels have more enemies than you have ammo. Like, a lot more. This is where you’ll learn to balance rootin’ tootin’ from the shootin’, i.e. to use a little strategy before heading in guns ‘a blazing. It’s important to survey the area for barrels to break to stock up on ammo or other weapons like broken bottles.
Stealth is easily one of the most important parts of the game, since it will help you avoid being absolutely obliterated by mobs of villains. Enemies have a tendency to swarm, so as soon as one spots you, you’ll be surrounded and reloading your weapon without dying will become nearly impossible. It’ll also be difficult to take them all out with a handful of bullets on you. By using stealth, you can avoid being surrounded and pick off baddies one by one, while also giving yourself time to reload and try to find more ammo.
As you play, you’ll unlock more characters and find any number of weapons to try out. There are also several rogue-like features, like randomly-generated levels and permadeath when your health runs out, which means you’ll probably be replaying the game for a while to complete it. Each run, you can pick new characters, which lets you to try new weapons and abilities. This gives the game a lot of replayability, which is important. It will definitely keep you entertained (and frustrated) for a while.
As hinted above the visuals are pure pixels, to an impressive degree. Every level is covered in wooden fences, cacti, and tumbleweeds, all gritty and pixelated, giving it a very Western feel. The music only adds to the atmosphere; the soundtrack is full of ambient sounds, guitar twangs, and the shriek of harmonicas. It all sounds very authentic and I’m there for all of it.
Between the gunslinging gameplay, gritty graphics, and rustic soundtrack, Colt Canyon is a fantastic Wild West adventure full of action and excitement. The shooting mechanic takes a while to master and can get frustrating when you’re surrounded by enemies and having to reload all the time, but if you make use of stealth, it becomes far more manageable. If any of this sounds like your cup of campfire coffee, then saddle up and get ready for a wild ride.