World To The West Review
Developer Rain Games’ second game World To The West is set in the same universe as their previous game Teslagrad, offering some similar mechanics but experimenting with a whole different perspective, making it more of a 3D action adventure title as opposed to a 2D puzzle platformer.
This title doesn’t hold your hand, aside from the initial pop ups that display the buttons and what they do, but right from the moment you hit new game on that menu screen, the story kicks in and throws you straight into it, controlling the first of four characters you will play as – Lumina. Lumina is a young teslamancer who is late to meet with her father who is heading to a teleporter in a nearby tower. Lumina bumps into her siblings who coax her into the tower to check out the teleporter, only for one of her siblings to inadvertently whisk her off away to a strange land, where not long after, you are introduced to the second of the playable characters, Knaus.
Knaus; a young kid, having lived underground for quite some time and was under the impression they were living on the moon, discovers they’re not actually on the moon and thus goes to inform the big kids the startling revelation. He soon stumbles upon another startling revelation with regards to his destiny, only to be introduced to the third character, Miss Teri. After Miss Teri is handpicked to hunt down an artefact hidden away in a temple, she crosses paths with Knaus, where she also learns of her destiny. Clonington the Strongman is the final playable character to be introduced who, after docking from his airship, has his own quest of punching the biggest thing he can see in this new land. It’s not long before all four playable characters meet and you’re free to explore this world.
World to the West seems like an ode to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, with immediate similarities such as the top-down (but angled) perspective or even the layout of the world map. Each character has their own unique ability that are needed to fully explore this land and solve its many, brilliantly designed puzzles. Most of the puzzles can be tackled in a number of ways, depending on the character you’re currently controlling. For example, one section had you playing as Miss Teri, who has the ability to control creatures using hypnosis and her scarf – which conveniently enough, can also be used to grab poles from across chasms. Miss Teri navigates her way around a narrow path with a sleeping Grue, one of the many enemy creatures you will face, so you could either sneak past this Grue and cross the chasm using your scarf, or you could simply take control of this Grue and send it falling to its demise, allowing you to pass with ease.
The key to this title is co-operation between all four characters however, you can only switch between characters at totem poles scattered throughout the land, and even then, each of the characters must have reached a particular totem pole before they can be teleported there for quicker travel. There are the usual tropes that include returning to areas with upgraded abilities to access places previously unreachable. Each character can upgrade their health bars, with some obtainable by any of the four characters, whilst others can only be accessed by a specific character, using their unique ability to reach them.
There were a few occasions when characters got stuck in walls or underground when exploring or trying to interact with various things, forcing a re-load of the game that sends you back to the last reached totem pole. If you travelled far without reaching one, then you have to endure the same journey again, collecting everything you previously discovered which lets the game down from otherwise being a polished game. Hopefully these kinks gets ironed out through an update as this title is an absolute blast to play.
Aside from the bugs, this is an incredibly well-thought out constant puzzling-adventure that lets you decide how to tackle certain puzzles and situations that’s rarely seen in a game like this. For fans of Teslagrad, there are plenty of references with familiar abilities, but for first-timers to the universe, this is the next best thing to a Zelda title on another platform.
World to the West is available at retailers or can be downloaded digitally from the Xbox Store, priced at £19.99.
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