Checks Out Boot Hill Heroes Part One

Dave Welch of Experimental Gamer was kind enough to send a build of Boot Hill Heroes Part One my way. As I tend to do, I sat down to play it for 30-55 minutes, and recorded what transpired. You can see it below:

My thoughts?

Boot Hill Heroes is, above all, charming and light-hearted. Even during its most intense scenes (like the one where Howl gets offed), I can’t help but want to pinch its proverbial little cheeks. It’s just adorable. Personally, I blame the incredibly cute little character sprites and jaunty MIDI score. The devs were aiming to channel the spirit of Earthbound, and in my view, they certainly succeeded in evoking some of its charm.

I didn’t get to see how the combat system worked with more members in your party, but I found the system enjoyable and easily manageable with a single character. Things will almost certainly be more hectic with a full party–however, the fact that you can pause the game and queue up your selections should assist with that. In that regard, it’s actually a lot like a real-time-with-pause system, but with visible time gauges that recall the systems of Final Fantasy 6 and 7. I found the system to be competently executed, and was positively delighted by the fact that the game rewards you with double experience and full health recovery for defeating enemies without taking damage. That really provides a good incentive for playing your best.

I mentioned this in the video, but I was impressed at how consistently the game foresaw what questions I would have about its mechanics, generally answering them within a minute or two of me wondering “what’s this feature about?” That’s always a sign of good testing and polishing.

If I had to criticize Boot Hill Heroes for one thing, it’s that the style of the sprite art can be somewhat inconsistent–sometimes using blurring and smudging techniques, and sometimes playing it crisp and clean. It’s a relatively minor criticism, though–and it says something that that’s the best I can do as far as offering a critique. This is a solidly executed jRPG with a great setting, a charming presentation, and a unique, well-executed combat system. If the game continues this fashion past the first 45 minutes, I’d say this one is an easy recommendation.

You can snag Boot Hill Heroes for $7.49; more on that here.

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