Editor’s Note: As a result of a game fix making Boot Hill Bounties run again (YAY!), we have amended our score. Check below!
I’ll admit that I’d never played Boot Hill Heroes, but when I heard about Experimental Games’ sequel, Boot Hill Bounties, it sounded so fun I thought I’d give it a whirl. Sadly, while there is great potential in the game, it’s not quite ready for prime time. This is our quick-hit Boot Hill Bounties review.
Boot Hill Bounties Review
Here’s the lowdown dirty description from the devs themselves:
Bronco County is on the brink of war. A conspiracy to provoke a conflict between the western settlers and the Chepakwik threatens to destroy both sides. Only Kid, Doc, Moon and Rosy know the truth. But to save their homes, they’ll have to hunt down five legendary outlaws whose very names strike fear into the hearts of men.
Boot Hill Bounties continues the saga of Kid and his companions as they journey deeper into the darkest corners of the Wild West and come face to face with the evil Creed Little, Stampede Sally, Tuco Delgado, Scorpion Saint and Burning Crow.
If you played the original Boot Hill Heroes, you’ll be happy to hear that you can import your progress and you’ll find a familiar romp through the Old West. In the new game, you will be sent off in search of five new “boss” outlaws within a sea of 250 enemies in a meandering non-linear stroll through Bronco County. It’s a rootin’ tootin’ trip through the Old West with towns to explore and locations that include deserts, caves, forests and more. During the journey, you can expect your typical goofy jokes, cowboy vernacular and even find animals that are willing to throw down.
During the game, you’ll have a party of four (either AI-controlled companions or through multiplayer), though it is built over time at the start. Each one comes with its own abilities and strengths/weaknesses and that is best suited to specific attack types. The combat is not considered turn-based with all party members engaged for the entirety. This requires you to keep close tabs on which abilities are ready to use during the fight. Skills can be charged up to make them stronger both for the Kid (that’s YOU!), your party and for enemies. It’s important to keep eyes on the enemy for sure as a charged attack can do a lot of damage. Interestingly, visual clues are provided that make it fairly easy to mitigate the attack. Unlike most other RPGs, defeated enemies stay beaten and there are no random encounters. If you see an enemy on the map and travel to them, that’s where you’ll land without any stops between. Also, once defeated, always defeated and foes will run away if you find them again.
Yella bellied cow’rds.
But it’s not all about fighting pigs and pig-headed fools either. There’s a lot to do outside combat that will suit any RPG fan. There are over thirty hats to find and secure that provide you with buffs to a variety of skills. Similarly, you will want to look around for weapon mods that apply status ailments like bleed or poison. These can definitely turn the tide of battle.
But there’s also non-combat fun to be had as well including farming, reading about your exploits in the local paper that also offers riddles to be solved. You can also tumble your tumbleweed into local restaurants to gorge on food that provides battle buffs and other perks. Like the food enough, and you can take your kettle on the road to take part in “Chuckwagon Chief”, a competitive cooking competition that’s all based on a theme.
There’s loot in them thar hills as well and it’s best to scrounge around the battlefield to pick up the loot to sell for money that leads to purchasing a lot of the stuff mentioned above.
But wait! That’s not all! You can also be wounded in ways that, in a sense, reminded me of the old school game “Oregon Trail”. You can get wounded in battle, fall and break a bone or even suffer from such illnesses as dysentery — all of which remain persistent until cured or treated by a doctor or, if it suits you, until you hang your doctor’s shingle and take care of things yourself.
And there’s even more: Find coupons with shop deals; sit and talk with your companions to learn more about them, apply trinkets to your characters to customize them, and much more. In fact, it’s almost overwhelming and with a non-standard control system, it can be daunting. It feels like BHB is spread to thin.
Honestly, however, there’s a real game inside, but it needs time. More than once I encountered graphical bugs and would be randomly tossed out of the game and even crashed on loading the game a frustrating number of times. I’ll admit that I don’t have a lot of patience with buggy games and am generally unwilling to slog through anyway. If it feels at least partially broken, it usually goes to the heap.
UPDATE – January 5th: With the latest patch, the game is much less likely to crash and is easily launched without crashes. It’s nice to see a developer who is so keenly interested in their creation and who so quickly address issues players are having.
It feels like the game has got a lot of potential and the developers seem keen to make sure that that potential is fulfilled. They quickly address the game’s problems and work with the community to find solutions. If you liked Boot Hill Heroes, this game will probably instantly be of interest to you and if you like retro-styled games with interesting mechanics, this one’s for you, pardner.
A Steam game code was provided for the purpose of review.
- goofy fun cowboy humor
- deep and engaging systems
- lots of graphical bugs
- last update killed my game
- too easy to break quest chains if conversations are missed