BITG Preview: West of Loathing (PC)

On July 06, 2005 a considerably younger and less stressed version of this very reviewer sat down to his PC and signed up for a web game called Kingdom of Loathing on the recommendation of a Canadian friend, in Canada. Over a decade later KoL still amazes me with its constant additions and refinements, with the writing as sharp as it was in the early days. But now the world of Loathing is about to expand as we go West of Loathing.

Now, hands up I will admit that I have been looking forward to this game for a long time, and as a fan of KoL I could be labelled as having a weighted amount of bias, but I would also throw in that I was a little concerned about the game moving away from a web browser based set up into a full Steam release. Why didn’t they do a Steam adaptation of KoL? Will it be as funny? Will it be watered down? Will there be Ninja Pirate Zombie Robots? Surely after twelve years of working on KoL the creative pool will have been exhausted?!

So yeah, certainly coming at this from a point of enthusiasm and reluctance, but the game lives up to my expectations and has been produced in a smart way. Now there will be a full review up on this very site (and other, bigger ones hopefully) once the embargo drops later this month, but I am permitted to briefly describe the prologue and how the game handles.

WestofLoathing-6-Conversation

So. Gone is the web browser set up BUT it still feels like Loathing of old, the art style is still delightfully low-fi stick folk, in a delightfully low-fi stick world, but now we have a Paper Mario style gameplay set up (I opted for point and click but you can go keyboard if you have the capability to use your fingers in that awkward claw format that always eludes me) with turn based combat and very smart environmental elements (bump into a cactus and you will react). Most importantly this is a smartly written game (as expected) so don’t go skipping dialogue as you will miss 80% of what makes the Loathing world great. By the time I left my home of Boring Springs I had laughed out loud at least four times, and getting a laugh from a gamer is not always an easy task. I interacted with everything I could find, enjoyed every moment and as of today (when I ‘completed’ the main story) I can say that it didn’t diminish either. That’s about all I can say for now, but I cannot stress enough how much you need to try this game when it releases on August 10th. Full review will hit on launch day, so feel free to pop back then and hear more about a wild world of comedic RPG adventuring with Stick Bhall.

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