We’re back in Loathing again, well, West of Loathing on the Nintendo Switch, as I’ve kindly been provided with a review code not long after covering Shadows Over Loathing. This earlier game was the one that got the hype, and it was one that I missed. Is it still worth playing after ‘all this time’? In short: yes.
Almost halfway through 2023, and Asymmetric’s… comedy RPG is the game I can’t stop playing on the Switch, regularly playing to the point of the battery shutting down as I’m too into it to charge up the heavy rectangle. It’s not that the game is always on my mind, but it helps defrag the day. The equivalent of a hot bath, a litre of wine and a decent Netflix series.
West of Loathing takes place in the Wild West – before Shadows Over Loathing prohibition era if you’ve just tuned into history. Like its successor, you pick a name for your character, then hit the road to seek your fortune. You aren’t able to customise your appearance, but the wealth of hat options are sublime. And, compared to the number of hats, the game has so many unique perks and stat upgrades, making this a memorable experience.
West of Loathing Switch Review
That fortune-seeking narrative is relatively weak and a mild nudge to get you started. In reality, the game is a bulky collection of side quests – it just so happens that these quests, or errands, are one of the game’s main draws. Your hero, in this case, Bobcat, heads off to Dirtwater and immediately befriends the local bartender and sheriff looking for work. What starts as a few bounties soon evolves into sourcing soap for NPCs, raising the dead, and hunting down mystical rocks.
West of Loathing is an open world that unlocks through the quests but is different due to its random approach. It’s so madcap that one would think the developers had too many ideas and didn’t know how to capture them in one coherent experience and chucked them into the pot for the hell of it. Maybe they did, but it never feels messy and instead a hilarious stand-up routine that takes you around the houses but reaches a satisfying conclusion, keeping you on the toes throughout.
Once again, the writing is hilarious and practically faultless. There wasn’t one moment where it dragged, despite the walls of text and lack of voice acting. The comic timing, intelligence, and variety have been eye-opening. How can a game be so consistently funny? Play the game, and you’ll unlock a creepy passion for spitoons. Just don’t go developing a spit fetish, you freak.
A perfect game, right? What defines perfect? Is there a perfect game? Regardless, there are a few irritants in the game. As per the previous experience, the combat wasn’t great. Having played the later game, I understood it a little better, what with the muscle, moxie and mystical powers, plus the vast display of perks that can turn a battle on its head. It was just a little meh again.
My beef, if you can even call that, is the easy wins – often one-hit kills or the sudden jumps where an enemy would attack first and beat you in the first turn. Dying isn’t the end of the world as you continue from where you left off, or the worst case scenario, you’ll return to your base and lose any daily buffs achieved through potions. The emphasis here: it’s not the end of the world.
Another thing about West of Loathing is the repetition of side quest content. If you’re ok with the grind, it’s no issue, but story-wise, it might be too samey for some. I was fine with it, as, despite the wealth of errands to do, they never felt the same – even when they were structurally the same missions. We have to tip our hats to the unequalled writing once more. Plus, the silly walks. They never get boring.
Maybe you’ve already played, finished, or whatever else you can think of when it comes to West of Loathing. Maybe it’s new to you, or you were on the fence about it. If it’s the latter, I’d encourage you to seek this out. It’s easily one of the best games on the Switch (not technically intense!) and one of the most consistently funny games I’ve ever played. Is that enough of a recommendation?