El Hijo – A Wild West Tale Review

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale is a pure stealth adventure game developed by Honig Studios and published by HandyGames. El Hijo is a 6 year old boy who is on a quest to find his mother after they are attacked by bandits who burnt their farm to the ground. The mother decides to leave El Hijo at a secluded monastery in order to protect him. However, El Hijo decides that this is not the life he wishes to have and escapes. It seems the mother is also on the run trying to escape not only the law but bandits as well.

The first thing that caught my eye is that there is no dialogue in the game and all cut scenes show what’s going on purely through the visuals. For the most part it actually works and is enjoyable to watch. It feels like it doesn’t need all the voice acting because it tells the story as you move between levels.

El Hijo‘s gameplay it’s all about not getting caught. You will have to make use of everything that’s around you, such as hiding behind curtains, in pots, or staying in the shadows to not be seen. If you do stay in the shadows, the only way to get caught is if you walk into the enemy.

You can sprint for a short amount of time if you want to get to a hidden area quickly but be warned that it does make a little bit of noise and you may get caught. You will also have a little bird companion that can scout the area further, zooming the screen out so you can plan your next movement. It also gives you the enemy’s vision cone so you know how close you can get to them.

Over time you will unlock gadgets that will help distract your enemy. There are 30 levels to play through, each varying in time to complete, but you are looking at around 3 to 4 hours to complete the full game including time to learn the mechanics/best route.

In most of the levels you also have a chance to “inspire children” which is a form of collectable. There can be multiple children in each level and it’s up to you if you want to detour to try and free them or stick to the shadows and escape as quickly as possible.

Every now and again you get the chance to play as the mother, which is a nice little touch as she is trying to avoid capture and stay on the run. With her it’s also about using stealth and not getting caught. She can hurdle over certain objects to reach a new area and is also equipped with a slingshot that can break open locks and distract the enemies.

The cartoonish art style is one of the best I have seen in gaming in a while. I do love the feel of it being 2D art in a 3D world. Honig Studios have done a brilliant job in creating a pristine and beautiful world.

You can’t save mid-level, but you do have checkpoints throughout so if you get caught you will go back to that checkpoint. But at least the levels aren’t super long so it’s easy to save at a certain point. At the start you can find multiple ways to get to the exit but after replaying them a few times you really find the most optimal route and figuring it out is the fun part.

I did find myself only wanting to play a few levels at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time with it and it’s a great game but I guess with it being level based you can drop in and out as you see fit. It’s most likely because I would spend a lot of my time on one level trying to do it perfectly and not get caught, so I would try it again until done. It’s a great game for small bursts so I feel doing a few levels a play session works well.

Conclusion

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale is a beautiful stealth game. I do love the fact it’s not all about killing but just getting to the next area. I had a great time playing the title and I love the art style too. Like most stealth titles, if you’re a fan of this genre and enjoy not going around killing everyone then this is a game for you to pick up. 

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Stealth works a treat
  • Beautiful looking world
Bad
  • No manual saves mid-level
8.1
Great
Gameplay - 8.5
Graphics - 9
Audio - 7
Longevity - 8
Written by
For me it started out on PC, back in the Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen days. Now I play across all platforms, but I'm gaming every day, mainly on xbox. I'm easy going, with a full-on achievement hunting addiction, but you mainly can find me getting my fix on Apex Legends (Caustic FTW) Gamertag: nuttywray

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