Review: Western Press

Taking you back to an era when the duel abided, Western Press is a fast-paced duelling simulator best enjoyed with a bunch of friends, or by people with super-human reflexes.

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When I was growing up, one of the Commodore 64 games my circle of friends used to like playing as a group was Law of the West. A single-player only game, you were tasked with attempting to Sheriff a lawless town, but gave you the chance to start a gun duel in order to settle a discussion. We’d often sit there as a group taking turns to insult people, then try to get the draw on them to shoot first, only to suffer through a long load time when we failed for the next person to have their go. That’s probably as close as the similarities go, but for me Western Press’ pixel-art graphics and gun duelling invoked memories of this nearly forgotten retro-title.

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The first release from Melbourne-based indie studio Bandit-1, Western Press calls itself “the most historically accurate frontier duelling game ever (probably)”. And to be honest? While I’m unsure if the gunslingers of the wild west needed to press 10 random buttons in order to shoot, I’m more than happy to accept this claim. Featuring 12 unique characters, several different local and online multiplayer modes for up to 16 players, Steam Workshop support (for creating your own duellists or stages), and a single player Skill Tester mode, there’s a reasonable amount of content on offer here.

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Matches in Western Press play out in a fairly straightforward fashion: pick your character, select what input method you want to use, then get set to reel off 10 commands as fast as humanly possible.  First person to complete their key combination in the fastest time, or with the least amount of mistakes wins. While it sounds deceptively simple, you’ll need insanely good reflexes to beat your opponent – press first, think later! One thing that is surprising is the different variety of controllers Bandit-1 have included support for. Allowing you to choose from keyboard input to XBox or Playstation joypads, and even Dance Mats (but sadly no steering wheels or Power Glove), the game will even automatically change the on-screen icons depending on what you’re using!

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As with similar games in this genre, I found the most fun I had with Western Press was against other people, and not trying to outsmart the AI. My attempts to best the skill tester left me angry and frustrated, as my poor old reflexes just aren’t up to the task of beating a perfect, immortal machine! If you’re someone who digs local co-op competitive multiplayer games and wants something else to add into the catalogue of games to play with mates, you won’t go too far wrong with giving Western Press a shot.


trailer source: Bandit-1

Western Press is available now from Steam for Mac and PC. Review copy provided by Surprise Attack Games.

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blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

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