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World to the West Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . World to the West is a good game that has a hard time maintaining its wit and charm. The longer it goes on, the less compelling it becomes. There are still a lot of good ideas here and I enjoyed most of what this game has to offer, but it becomes a bit of a slog after a while and never fulfills the promise we saw early on. When it comes right down to it, I'm more impressed with the intricate world Rain Games created than I am with the adventure. Rating: 71%
World to the West
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World to the West World to the West World to the West World to the West
  • Review Score:

  • B
This is the story of Lumina, a curious young woman who accidentally gets transported to a strange new world when an experimental teleportation device goes awry. It's also the story of Knaus, who works in the mines and has been brainwashed to believe that he is on the Moon. And then there's Lord Clonington, a strongman who travels by boat to become the greatest socialite. And don't forget about Teri, a professional thief who gets screwed over by her employer and left to rot in a jail cell. What do these four unlikely heroes have in common? They're all part of a prophecy that could spell the end of everything in the brand new game World to the West.

At first glance, this looks like an homage to games like A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap. It's an overhead adventure set in a colorful world where the four heroes work together to explore the map and find a way to defeat an evil capitalist named Tychoon. But look closer, as this is more than a simple adventure game, because the emphasis here is on puzzle solving. Lots and lots of puzzle solving.


We're shown early on that all four characters have their own unique abilities and moves that will help them traverse through the large open world. Lumina is able to do her best Mr. Shifty impression, literally teleporting between spots in the blink of an eye. Lord Clonington, on the other hand, is large and strong, able to climb and destroy the boulders laying around. And then there's Teri, who can use her scarf as a grappling hook and command the nearby animals to do her bidding. The youngest hero, Knaus, is also useful, as he can fit through small passages and throw sticks of dynamite. The world is set up in such a way that these four unlikely friends will need to unite as a team to clear the path, collect the treasure and defeat Tychoon once and for all.

Exploration is made a lot easier thanks to a series of totem poles that are spread throughout the World to the West. Once you find one of these landmarks, you'll be able to warp to it at any time. The tricky part is that the totem pole will only show up to the character that finds it, and getting the other heroes to that spot will usually require a different path with a new set of obstacles. This means that the four friends won't always be working together and will often be spread throughout the area, eventually coming together to solve some of the more complicated puzzles. This is a unique take on this style of adventure game that I mostly enjoyed, though it can be frustrating and a little repetitive at times.

Early on, the game is split up into a series of short chapters that introduce us to each character and their unique abilities. This is easily the best part of the game, as it's focused and full of witty banter. Unfortunately, once everybody comes together and we're told what is really going on, the game starts to lose its focus and become more about looking for treasure than solving quests. In a strange way, World to the West loses a lot of its charm when the map opens up and we're left to do little more than explore. It's not that poking around isn't fun, but it pales in comparison to the missions we went on in the first few chapters.

World to the West (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Part of the problem is that it ends up being too much about getting around. It's easy to see where we're supposed to be going, but getting everybody to that spot can be a real nightmare. This usually involves traveling through the same areas multiple time with multiple people, each using their abilities to figure out how to solve their side of the puzzle. You'll often run into spots that only Knaus can fit into, or areas that the others can't access because you'll need Lord Clonington to clear the way first. These situations can be rewarding and satisfying when you figure them out, but they're never as much fun as taking on the traditional dungeons we're used to in most Zelda games. Going around and collecting hidden items just isn't that compelling.

Had World to the West kept the momentum and focus of the first set of chapters, this likely would have ended up being one of my favorite adventure games of the year. I love the look, the colorful world, the different characters and even the sleazy villain. All this connected with me in a way I wasn't expecting, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. But the moment the game is supposed to open up and be more exciting, it had the complete opposite effect on me. I found the final act plodding and boring, to the point where I had a hard time staying engaged for more than a few minutes at a time. The exploration and treasure hunting can be fun at times, but ends up being too repetitive for its own good.

World to the West is a good game that has a hard time maintaining its wit and charm. The longer it goes on, the less compelling it becomes. There are still a lot of good ideas here and I enjoyed most of what this game has to offer, but it becomes a bit of a slog after a while and never fulfills the promise we saw early on. When it comes right down to it, I'm more impressed with the intricate world Rain Games created than I am with the adventure.
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