I’ve not played the newest Red Dead Redemption (Let me tell you of the woes of having a reviewers backlog), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to get my cowboy on and go on my own rootin’ tootin’ adventure.
Colt Canyon might be my way to keep my Wild West-ing in the indie sphere. A striking, atmospheric and brutal roguelike, I was ready to sit down and play Colt Canyon for an hour or two at PAX East…if I didn’t have more indie games to see! That’s always a good sign that I’ve found a special game.
Colt Canyon is a stylish 2D pixel art twin-stick shooter with roguelike elements in which you control a cowboy (or a cowgirl!), whose mission it is to save his kidnapped partner from ruthless bandits. Take your revolver, knife and TNT and shoot your way through a hostile canyon full of hidden treasures, weapons, obstacles and all kinds of bloodthirsty scum. Perhaps you can save more people than just your beloved one.
Colt Canyon keeps it very spaghetti Western with its setup: you’re a mysterious man/woman looking for you kidnapped man/woman, with a whole bunch of ne’er-do-wells and desperados between you and their rescue. It’s simple, compelling, surprisingly inclusive and gets you right into the action.
And boy is that action brutal! Don’t let the sepia tones of the landscape fool you: you’re going to be painting those hills red really quick.You start the game off with a shotgun and a knife, but will quickly find another weapon. You can hold two at a time, but you might want to keep a mental note of where they are in each level, as you’ll occasionally find captive you can free and arm. In my time with the demo I found bows, crossbows and rifles.
The gunplay feels fantastic. Shotguns and Rifles sound amazing and deal out raucous death. Bows and crossbows let you take a stealthier approach, though it took a bit to get used to aiming at this particular angle. The enemies are numerous, but the landscape is surprisingly well constructed, providing lots of cover and opportunities to break line-of-sight. I found myself most comfortable with a crossbow and a shotgun, switching between them as the situation called for it.
As you slay your enemies, sprays and pools of blood add bright red to the tans and browns of the game. It’s a super simple aesthetic, but it’s incredibly effective and done perfectly. Each fight is brutal and quick, and as this is a perma-death game, the stakes feel appropriately high. I felt myself getting cunning, sniping bandits patrolling by themselves with my crossbow, and then using the crags and rocks to get up into point blank range while avoiding their hail of return fire.
Then I figured out how to throw dynamite:
Colt Canyon is incredibly well made, atmospheric and exciting to play. There’s also a local co-op mode, so you can team up with a friend (no word on whose beau is being rescued…awkward moment ahead?), and apparently there’s a host of unlockable characters with there own special styles, so there’s a lot of potential replayability.
Colt Canyon is currently expected to be released in Q3 of 2019 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.