Keep the farmland safe from predators in this classic runner-style shooter game for PC
- Help Ernest Colt complete a variety of missions, clearing areas of predators
- Simple controls
- Classic runner-style gameplay
- Gradual difficulty curve
- Utilize a range of unique weapons including slingshots, throwing knives and more
- Power-ups such as stealth boots offer further advantages during levels
- Aim for a perfect score by studying reports at the end of each level indicating your progress
- Poor graphics and textures
- Dialogue is only available in English
Ernest Colt: Western Shooter is a free arcade-style runner/ shooter game for PC in which you take on the role of a farmer seeking favour from the local sheriff who is tasked with clearing out animals from stables and other farm areas using an assortment of weapons.
A Fun Farmland Adventure
Ernest Colt: Western Shooter takes place in the fabled Wild West era in a series of acts, each on a particular piece of farmland or other area (the chapters). Each chapter begins with a small bit of background dialogue to establish the narrative. It's unfortunate, however, that for most of the game those narrative elements are rather lacking. This dialogue is also only available in English, which might be a deterrent for some players.
Core Gameplay and Features
The main objective of the game is to clear out local predatory animals from a given area by surveying barns and other places such as nearby woodlands. The game plays very similarly to other runner games such as Temple Run. At the beginning of each level, a player is placed in the central bottom portion of the screen, after which the screen will start scrolling upward, slowly moving animals and other obstacles into a player's path. The idea is to avoid as many of these obstacles as you can while simultaneously attempting to shoot as many animals as possible.
On-screen graphics are fairly basic, emphasizing gameplay over graphical quality. Environments, however, are diverse, ranging from farms to woodland to deserts, and many more. The best definition of graphics are seen with certain obstacles, such as barrels and with animals. Perimeters of levels seem grossly underdeveloped. The menus on screen are also quite simplistic, displaying your current weapon, your health and your number of lives. The music I was quite impressed with, invoking a real western setting. Each level is also given its own track.
In the game, controls are limited to moving your character from left to right and firing your variety of weapons. These controls are displayed before beginning a level. Aiming is intuitive, performed with the mouse. Mouse buttons are used to cock and fire your weapon. Movement in four directions is done using a 'wsad' layout. Finally, the tab key changes your weapon, while the spacebar key utilizes your special weapon.
Because of the constant upward-scrolling nature of the gameplay, you must always be aware of where your character is, where enemies are coming from, and where you should move next
While seemingly basic on the surface, in reality it becomes rather difficult, even early on, to collect all items and eliminate all animals in a single level. The movement speed is rather slow and your farmer friend often does not have enough time to get back across to certain items. Because of the constant upward-scrolling nature of the gameplay, you must always be aware of where your character is, where enemies are coming from, and where you should move next. Although it is possible to move backwards, this only works for very short distances.
Enemies and Upgrades
As you progress through levels, the range of enemies will become apparent. These include rats, skunks, foxes and many more. While smaller animals are harder to hit, they will not move as quickly as others. Larger animals encountered later, such as bears, are easier to hit, but will be tougher to take down. Depending on the environment, certain enemies might also be difficult to see.
A farmer is nothing without his weapons to protect him. In this game, you are given infinite ammunition for your basic weapon, the slingshot. When you pick up better weapons, these will have a limited time of use. These include the musket rifle and the throwing knives. While each have similar mechanics and physics, they vary in overall power and speed, making them particularly useful in more crowded zones. In addition to default versions of these weapons, specialized shells can also be obtained, upgrading your weapon in the process. Other pickups such as the stealth boots prevent you from being seen for a short time.
When you complete a level, you can view a summary of enemies eliminated/ missed, money earned, and other bonuses. Money in the game can be used for a series of special missions and upgrading your weapons and other equipment.
The biggest challenge in the game comes from attempting to eliminate all enemies in an area and from the bosses that sometimes appear at the ends of levels. For these encounters, your character will remain stationary, offering the option of moving left or right to avoid a series of falling objects.
Ernest Colt: Western Shooter is a fun, oddly difficult runner game. Controls are simple to master as are the game's core game mechanics. Utilize a range of weapons to clear levels of predators. Upgrade weapons with special ammo, collect coins to earn money, and keep yourself alive with health kits. While the graphics and accompanying soundtrack are not all that impressive, the diverse environments and enemies are more than enough to keep players entertained. Well worth a download.