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A quest for justice (sort of) in the Old West (sort of), May 12, 2022
The Legend of Horse Girl is a gleefully absurd take on Western tropes, starring a heroine raised by wild horses and featuring a bar staffed by coyotes, apparently sentient tumbleweeds, snake oil farmers, dairy spiders, and more. Itís also pure, (mostly) unadulterated fun. I am not exaggerating when I say I laughed out loud multiple times while playing this game. I was unreasonably amused when the character Butch McCreedy turned out to have a twin named Femme McCreedy, for example. And then thereís one puzzle solution that involves (Spoiler - click to show)dunking bats in milk as if they were cookies until they get fed up with this treatment and fly away, the mental image of which just killed me. (I thought I was going to be (Spoiler - click to show)actually drowning them, which would have been ridiculous enough, but the way it played out was funnier.)
Speaking of the puzzle solutions, theyíre generally just as absurd as everything else in the world of the game, but most of them are signposted well enough that it works anyway. Given that the gameplay is very straightforward (get items, use them on other items, repeat) and requires few unusual verbs, one could say that trying to figure out what might work per the internal logic (such as it is) of the zany setting is the puzzle, in most cases. And when that works, itís tremendously satisfying. There were a few places in which the leap of logic the game wanted me to make was a bit too far for me; I donít know if there were things in the game that I missed that would have hinted at these solutions, though.
I did wish a little bit for a built-in hints function, although the list of necessary verbs in the ďaboutĒ text sometimes proved helpful Ė not so much for guess-the-verb issues, which I didnít feel the game had many of, but because in some cases the very presence of a verb in the list hinted at an approach to a puzzle. Also on the subject of quality-of-life features, I did appreciate that the game usually removes objects from your inventory if you donít need them anymore.
There was also one aspect of the structure with which I struggled a bit: you can, essentially, encounter the introductions to the majority of the gameís puzzles right off the bat, without even beginning to solve anything. This made it sometimes unclear to me what order I should be trying to solve the puzzles in, and whether I didnít have what I needed to solve a particular puzzle yet (probably because it was gated behind the solution to some other puzzle) or whether I did but hadnít figured out how to use it. But this is, I think, not an objective flaw but a matter of taste Ė I personally get a little overwhelmed by having a ton of "open" puzzles at the same time, but others might prefer that to a more linear approach.
And in the end, the charm of the writing carried me through these minor frustrations without much difficulty. Despite any nitpicks, I had an absolute blast playing this game, and thatís the important thing.