A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Westerado: Double Barreled is a downloadable action game set in the Wild West. This is a game about someone avenging the murders of his entire family, gunslinging his way to tracking down the culprit and meting out Old West justice. Along the way, you can try to do the moral thing for others who also seek your help, but this isn't a title about exploring the "right" thing to do; you only try to do the best with the limited options you have left. Though there's frequent violence, and blood is spilled through gunfights, the cartoonish and pixelated graphics reduce the impact of combat. Smoking and drinking are shown, but they're more background elements that are appropriate to the time period when everyone engaged in that activity. One sex scene is referred to after the fact through innuendo.
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What's it about?
In WESTERADO: DOUBLE BARRELED, a young man in the Old West returns from wrangling his family's buffalo, only to discover his brother and mother have been brutally slain. The game unravels to show itself as an open-world overhead murder-mystery shooter. What that means is you have an eagle's-eye view of the action as you run and gun or ask questions of everyone you happen upon to see whether they know anything about the killer. You also may see if they have another task for you to do, which plunges you ever-deeper into the map you'll need to explore regardless. That's the crux of the game, and it merits multiple playthroughs, as the murderer will be someone different each time. The quests you happen upon and the map itself will change as well, adding to replayability. It's intriguingly complex for a game that's proudly so straightforward.
Is it any good?
Westerado is very, very entertaining, provided you have an appetite for strategizing while wandering around maps and being ambushed at any given moment. Thanks to the random nature of the game, players can dedicate as much or as little time as they want to uncovering the mystery. This helps to makes an experience that's varied and unpredictable enough to make it rewarding in short bursts here and there. If you're determined, you can find the killer within an hour. If you take your time, it can easily take four times as long as you comb the map for every possible side quest or encounter.
Regardless, there's a pure joy no matter how long or how much you choose to invest your time here. The writing also is entertaining, best showcased in its "gunversations," conversations where, at any moment, you can draw your firearm if you so choose. You often will be surprised by the results (some people actively enjoy and will thank you for the opportunity for a showdown). Overall, it's one small element of a bigger world that acknowledges your role in it and keeps finding different ways to encourage you to tinker and experiment. All that and some straightforward action shooting make Westerado one to give a spin.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about vigilante justice. When is it OK to take the law into your own hands? Why?
Discuss citizen's arrest. When is that OK to do, and where is the line for things you wouldn't feel comfortable apprehending someone for or being confrontational over?
If you watch someone else be harmed by a crime and do not interfere, have you done anything wrong?
Should you help passersby with random tasks they may ask of you? Why, or why not?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Adult Swim Games
- Release date: April 16, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs, Trains
- ESRB rating: NR for No Description
- Award: Common Sense Media Award
- Last updated: August 24, 2016
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.