Ostritch Banditos delivers a sun-soaked, pitch-perfect Western action adventure with Westerado. You, a strong-silent-type cowboy, return home from chasing down a stray buffalo from your family's herd to discover tragedy waiting for you. Revenge is the only answer, but first you'll need to track down clues to the identity of the coward what dun it, and more often than not you'll need to let your gun do the talking for you. Can you track down a villain and mete out the only cold, hard justice that matters? Of course you can. You wear a stetson now. Stetsons are cool. Oh, and when your Uncle tells you to get a pen and paper? He's not being cute. Apart from visual clues to the murderer and a simple map, the game doesn't keep track of anything for you, so you'll want to write down your jobs and such yourself, including any important topics the people you meet talk about. Just like they did in the olden days! Another important thing to remember, however, and perhaps the most important, is that this game does not save progress. If you leave and come back, you will have the option of skipping straight to your Uncle's house, and the map will have all the locations you unlocked, but that's it. Man... the olden days are, uh, a lot harsher than I remember.
Use the [WASD] keys to move, hold [left shift] or double-tap the directional key to run, [P] to open your map and [E] to interact when the prompt appears. When you receive it, pull out (or holster) your gun with [J], tap [K] to cock it, and [K] again to fire. When you're out of bullets, tap [R] to reload one bullet each time, but try not to stand around in plain sight while you do it, since getting damaged knocks off one of the cowboy hats in the upper-left corner. When they're all gone, you'll die the next time you get hit. In order to track down the murderer, you'll need to do odd jobs for and earn the trust of the nearby townsfolk. Not only will this get you cash, but they'll help provide you clues to the killer's appearance so you can eventually get your revenge. It'll take a lot of work, though, and you'll find yourself traveling all over the land, though luckily you can use horses to fast travel to different locations. Herd buffalo, protect caravans, root out bandits, play cards, and more. Sadly, no apple-bucking is to be had.
Westerado is an amazingly gorgeous game, both visually and aurally. Suspiciously gorgeous, really, in that I remain unconvinced no infernal bargains were struck in the course of its design. (Who was it? Mephisto? Clavicus Vile? David Bowie? You can tell me!) It sounds amazing, with a perfect instrumental soundtrack that sets a new standard in music for browser games, but the amount of detail and atmosphere the retro-style visuals deliver to your environments is fantastic. The control scheme, however, is going to be a bit of an acquired taste for most people, especially since figuring out how best to aim your line of fire takes some trial and error though it will eventually become second nature. It also feels a little bit buggy in places as of this writing, with enemies occasionally getting stuck below the screen in certain missions and forcing a reload. The big killer for a lot of people, however, is going to be the game's decidedly old-school approach to play, and by not allowing players to save their game, it's definitely limiting its audience. Those willing to stick with it and take their own notes, however, will discover that Westerado is a sun-soaked masterpiece of design that will take you down your fair share of dusty trails. Try it out, and if you find it to your taste, Westerado will keep you busy for quite some time.