Western Press in its most basic form, is a button sequence western dueling game. We see less and less of button sequence experiences in gaming today, mostly in part due to being butchered by Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. My first memory of button sequences done right sits with the exceptional Parapper the Rapper, but again, this mechanic just hasn’t done well with the passage of time. Western Press aims to bring back this once dominant feature, in a test that will pit your speed and memory against those who stand opposite you. Does Western Press stand tall? No, sadly it doesn’t.
First and foremost, this game is far too simplistic and basic for its own good. Challenging your hand-eye coordination in an attempt to divert your attention from the meager content value within. The aim of the game, set within the backdrop of an old fashioned stand off, is to punch in a combination of buttons faster than your opponent. These button inputs are completely random, and require use of A, B, X, and Y, as well as the D-Pad directional commands. The game comes with a handful of modes, but in all honesty, you’ll be button smashing your way through each, trying to work out what the hell all the fuss has been about.
Skill Tester is a game against bots, in which you’re able to level up to Rank 9 through completing a range of progressively difficult opponents. Each level that you complete will dish up a new character for you to play as, but outside of this and the ranking, as well as some bragging rights, there’s very little to boast about. Next up, we have the Tournament Mode. This, I suspect, will be where those that pick up the game will spend most of their time. You’re able to fight in a one vs one duel, or with up to sixteen players. This mode also supports bots, which is a great design choice seeing as I highly doubt the appeal of the core loop will burn too brightly for long.
When playing in the Tournament Mode you can indeed adjust the bot difficulty, which is a nice touch, but hardly groundbreaking. Once in, the game will randomly pit you against an opponent until eventually, a winner is crowned. You can choose to skip the CPU duels, or sit back and watch them, whichever tickles your fancy. There’s also an Online Mode, which enables players to take to the Tournament Mode, again supporting up to sixteen players in total. That leads us to the Memory Mode. Here, you will be shown a number of commands that you will need to remember, before having to repeat them in-order to win the round. This is easily the most difficult mode out of the lot, simply due to having to relay the commands exactly as they were, to the sum of up to twenty combinations.
Western Press does offer up a great range of colorful visuals, ultimately pitching a very gritty sort of vibe. The game does well at relaying the western theme, across all of the distinct and stylish levels. Locations lend a lot from the theme, including that of a hangman’s noose, to the classic smashed up carriage backdrop. I quite enjoyed this variation, as it helps to break up the repetitive gameplay. The same can be said about the unique characters, as each typically sports a unique look and specific weapon. That being said, this pro doesn’t outweigh the shed load of cons. Western Press is short, super short. I was able to see everything and max out everything in just two hours. Make of that what you will.
Western Press is far too repetitive and far too short for its own good. The game does indeed dish up some unique locations and interesting characters, but the gameplay loop remains the same throughout the entirety of play, rapidly becoming dull and boring as a result. Marginally fun in short bursts, but this has no hope whatsoever in the long run.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.