Review: World to the West (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Wii U
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: World to the West
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (3.7 GB)
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Publisher: Rain AS
Developer: Rain Games
Original MSRP: $24.99 (US), €24.99 (EU), £19.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

World to the West is a standalone follow-up to Teslagrad. It’s set in the same universe and you might even see some familiar faces from the previous game.

I’m not sure how deep the connections are as Teslagrad has been on my wishlist since it came out and I haven’t managed to grab it yet.

Gameplay:
World to the West allows you to take control of and play through the stories of four very different characters. You’ll use each of their unique skills to overcome puzzles and defeat enemies in an interwoven story across a mysterious land.

Lumina the Teslamancer is the first character you play as and she introduces you to a very interesting game mechanic, teleportation.

You can only move a short distance but it works perfectly and I loved doing it, so much so that I was disappointed when that part of her story ended and I took control of a different character.

Knaus the orphan was the second character in my control and what grabbed my attention was the bizarre and fantastical story that began to unfold, not that the Lumina’s story was boring by any means. The ability of this little character was a little more grounded, aside from when it glitched.

You can dig and burrow through any soft ground like a cartoon wabbit, complete with a line of spoiled turf left your wake. This ability allows you to dig under some large objects and enemies in relative safety.

However, it would often glitch when I emerged from the hole. Kanus would be walking in thin air just above the ground and it looked odd but fortunately didn’t disrupt gameplay.

Miss Teri the mind bender was up next and her story is similar to a few 90’s action and adventure films, at least the beginning is. Her ability changes up the game to a large degree and makes you think about the puzzles in quite interesting ways.

With a snap of her scarf, Miss Teri can control animals and make them do pretty much anything, even jump into the sea or a bottomless pit to their deaths.

I particularly like that the mind-control ability lets you perform all of the actions of the animal and if it happens to be large enough, Miss Teri can hop on its back and go for a ride. This is one of my kid’s favorite things to do and they happily take control of everything they can.

Lord Clonington, the strongman, can throw a flurry of punches and perform a charging attack that can end in a ground-shaking elbow drop or a comical little screech to a stop if you change your mind. This huge mustachioed brute can also break down certain walls and charge past some traps.

… at times it’s actually laugh-out-loud funny or at the very least, smile inducing …
He seems to have something to prove, although that’s probably more for him than others. This jolly character is the last that we meet but it still feels as if the story is only just beginning.

You can only control one character at a time and you need to get to a totem to switch, these also act as fast travel points around the map once they have been discovered. You won’t always have every character available as it depends on what is happening with their story.

There are some secrets to find and you might do a little backtracking with a new ability or character to overcome a once impenetrable area that you strolled past earlier. In fact, to get all of the sparkly Trophies, including the coveted Platinum, you will have to scour every inch of the large map.

I occasionally lost my way but a quick glance at the old-school map got me back on track as the next objective has a pin to mark the spot. Upon death, you either return to the entrance of the area or back at the strategically placed totems.

What got my attention, aside from the excellent and imaginative puzzles, was the humor. It’s occasionally cheesy or silly but at times it’s actually laugh-out-loud funny or at the very least, smile inducing.

Your enemies are both cute and relentless. They have a few similarities with animals in the real world, like some bizarre and strange squirrels, fish, and dogs. It’s like a mad scientist has gone to town with gene splicing.

The dog-like creatures even behave in familiar ways. They charge at you and if you disappear into a hole, for example, will dig and sniff at the ground as if searching for a lost bone. My kids love the little squirrel analogues, especially the way they bounce along with their large tails swaying to and fro.

… Some of the exploration and puzzles have a wonderfully classic feel …
Visuals:
World to the West can look too simple and plain for its own good sometimes. The cute and colorful world has some lovely areas that are both uncomplicated and delicate while showing just enough detail to look really nice.

Overall it’s a nice looking game and the expressive and comical creatures that inhabit this strange land more than make up for any unimaginative areas. There are a few graphical issues but they are severely outweighed by the overall look and style of the game.

There is often some screen flicker when you transition to other areas and the aforementioned walking on air. Nothing that a patch couldn’t fix I’m sure.

Audio:
There’s no voice work, which is no surprise, but at least the music and sound effects are nice and fit well with the narrative and action. It’s difficult to get frustrated at the game’s more difficult puzzles or enemies when the music is so whimsical and cheerful.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
World to the West is a great adventure game with some enjoyable puzzles and an entertaining narrative. Some of the exploration and puzzles have a wonderfully classic feel and I have a sense of where the developers at Rain Games found their inspiration.

The difficulty curve is nice and gradual with a pleasant story and inventive character switching. This can help to alleviate any boredom as you play through this longer than expected game. There are one or two bugs to be ironed out but nothing that should put a wrinkle in your enjoyment.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • George Nash

    As a huge fan of teslagrad I am really tempted to pick this one up. Teslagrad was a 2d precision puzzle platformer.

    All of the screen shots look like iosmetic view adventure game. I this also a puzzle game or is it a fighter?