General Recommendation: I recommend this game, it’s an entertaining read.
Preview: You play as a disillusioned and disaffected, but powerful, gunslinger, searching for direction in a frontier setting on the brink of disaster.
Basic Plot & Coherence:
Nothing like an execution to pull the reader into the story!
The story’s plot covers a couple of the possible reactions to an impending demon invasion, and how that invasion plays out with respect to the main character. Consistent with the dark tone of the story, it turns out there’s very little you can do to actually stop the invasion. In the only ending in which something close to this is achieved, it requires the sacrifice of your soul. The entire story seems like an intriguing exercise in futility, exploring the various ways the main character can fail to find direction. Oddly, I found this especially apparent in the “Death at midnight” ending, an ending with a relatively smaller scope than the others. The tight focus of the gunsligner’s conflict with the pair of natives shows all the more clearly how futile his efforts are.
Though the story contains plenty of action, it is much more introspective than anything else. The action serves more as a backdrop for the main character’s reflections than as an actual driver of the plot or character change.
One other thing I enjoyed about this story was the depth of the worldbuilding, even for the elements that were not fully explored. The system of magic in the world seems very interesting, both with how the main character is actually seen using it (such as for summoning his horse), and the musings the characters and narration have on it, such as Thomas’s recollection of magic being tamer in the east. The hints about elements like Goldwater and the setting’s dominant religion game the game a sense of depth, despite covering a period of relatively small scope.
Characters & Development:
The main character’s voice was what really jumped out to me from the start. In the beginning of the story, the narrator passively watches the destruction of Redshire after barely avoiding execution, and muses over the history of the town and the natives. While this could easily be a straight info dump, the unique tone of narrator’s reflections keep it interesting, and reveal important information about the character’s outlook. This internal monologue remains consistent throughout the work, tying the different events together through the gunslinger’s perspective.
The side characters showed plenty of depth as well, illustrated both through the consistency of their actions, and the gunslinger’s thoughts about them.
I didn’t notice any errors.
Mastery of Language:
Excellent. I would say the use of language is the biggest strength of this game. The gunslinger’s narration is full of clever phrasing and metaphors that both set the mood and are a pleasure to read. The beginning immediately hooks the reader into a world with a specific tone, and keeps it up throughout the story.
There’s plenty of branching. The player’s choices are meaningful and affect the course of the game. There is a wide variety of ways the story can end up spread throughout the 7 endings.
Player Options/fair choice:
The consequences of the player’s actions are well foreshadowed, and there are no “gotcha!” deaths.
I definitely enjoyed this game, which is a testament to the skill of the writing, as I don’t usually enjoy games where the main character’s actions are so futile. Here, however, I felt that the gunslinger’s lack of direction added to the overall tone of the story rather than detracting from it.
CONCLUSION: A fun game with a unique western take on the grimdark genre.