PAX WEST: Colt Canyon – Enjoyable action in the Wild West

The Wild West was in full swing at the Headup games booth at PAX WEST where they revealed an exciting twin-stick shooter called, Colt Canyon which is planned for release in 2019 for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

Colt Canyon comes from Retrific (@Retrific), a one-man German video game studio by Jonathan Mannshoven. Manshoven studied game design at Cologne Game Labs, an elite institution for game development and research. Retrific has released titles such as Shell Shift and Just Get Through. With Colt Canyon, Retrific is looking to bring that special brand of fun and challenge to the wild west.

Colt Canyon is a top-down twin-stick shooter that where you rescue your partner from the bandits of the Old West and survive. To do so, players will have to utilize their wits and skill, using a combination of close-range and long-range weapons. The opening tutorial teaches players to control and operate their weapons. Players are given a selection of six-shooters and rifles to use that must be reloaded manually. Players also have the choice of a blade or bow and arrow that are both useful in stealthy situations, but weak once the enemies are alerted. Players must use a combination of stealth and active combat to survive.

Colt Canyon was a very interesting and immersive game with a top-down perspective and pixilated visuals that remind me of an old Atari system. The use of colors and viewpoints clearly distinguish the enemies, the foreground, and the background. The ominous soundtrack, inspired by film classics in the Western genre heightens the sense, keeping players on edge as they venture through the dangerous wilderness.

During the demo for Colt Canyon, I had the opportunity to experience the unique combat. I had the choice of using a stealth attack to silently execute the enemy, sneak by and hope they don’t notice or run in guns blazing.  I chose to make the level easy on myself and use my knife to silently dispatch the enemy. As I maneuvered through the level, I was inevitably detected and the enemies were alerted, so I drew my steel and opened fire.

Shooting in Colt Canyon was sharp and impactful. The revolver sounded and fired like a real revolver, light but with aggression. The same type of weight and momentum applied to the other weapons of Colt Canyon as well: The shotgun, with its tremendous force fired with intensity and terror, causing the player to be pushed back. The rifle fired with the accuracy and swiftness of an actual rifle. This realistic type of shooting in Colt Canyon helped it to feel immersive, and it had me think about how I would use the weapons against enemy bandits. Additionally, I was required to reload each shot. There is no auto-reload in combat, which turned the twin-stick shooter into a methodical experience where I had to really think about each step I was taking, especially since ammo could only be scavenged from fallen enemies. The bow is rather cumbersome and leaves the player open to being injured. Despite this, I did manage to eliminate one enemy with the bow before he got the drop on me.

The Colt Canyon demo was quick, but it was a fantastic experience. I could see myself enjoying the full game because of the enjoyable gameplay and sharp visuals. The Wild West setting is simple but detailed and the gameplay is not just focused on satisfying action but encourages players to use methodical thinking to succeed. I had a great time exploring the violent frontier of Colt Canyon.

Colt Canyon is slated for release in 2019 for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

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