The game is, as stated on the website ‘an action adventure game that plays like a mashup of Zelda: Link to the Past and Ultima VI.’ and does it. However, does the The Real Texas live up to this statement?
The Real Texas, created by Calvin French, really does stand out from the sea of indie games for many good reason. From the unique, artistic blocky style which gives the game a warm and somewhat cute feel, to the well written and exquisitely planned out adventure. The game just has that enjoyable feeling to it.
The adventure you undertake is a long and mysterious one with twists and turns at every point. This is where I was first surprised. When I heard about this game from twitter user @S0phieH I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would this be a quick game with a lacking story? Who knew. However after watching the trailer I got a good feeling for The Real Texas and jumped into it with high hopes. So the surprise? Right off the bat the story is engaging and slowly pushes you forward through the game. It’s paced just right and that is a key element to the enjoyment of the game.
The story has you playing Sam, a Texas rancher who on a holiday to England falls into a blue portal and lands in a strange Texas. Interesting already, isn’t it? This is the second surprise I found with The Real Texas – the gameplay and story having you jumping back and forth between the two worlds to solve a range of tasks and hidden objectives to reach the end goal. From witches and wizards, to ghosts and smiles there is a bit of something for everyone. It’s the wide mix of different elements and genres, in a way, which kept me engrossed in the game’s worlds.
Speaking of gameplay, how does it feel? In short the gameplay is a positive point towards the game. You will be using the mouse a lot during your time spent with The Real Texas as you move, interact and adventure through the world. At times items can be hard to click on and now and again you will stop moving for no reason but they really are nothing to get in the way of enjoying the game. One thing to note, however, is the annoyance which comes from using the inventory system. Sadly the game won’t pause the action when you open it up and this lead to a few unwanted deaths through my time with The Real Texas. This rolls onto the combat.
“Delicious!” @S0phieH when asked to sum up the game in one tweet
That’s right, combat. In true Texas style you will find yourself with a side arm throughout the game and the basic combat is point and shoot. This is where things get challenging and some what frustrating. At times it feels like the game is against you with a large number of foes on the screen at one time and when you need to swich out to a different weapon you end up getting hit too much. That or you just can’t hit them regardless due to being hit too much. It’s annoying and can really put people off the game. However it should be noted that in retrospect, I could have avoided much of this by taking more care but then, why should you have to? Difficulty is something of an acquired taste in The Real Texas. It’s not game breaking but some players may get agitated by it.
Progression however is a different story. It should be noted that the game plays out much like a Zelda game. You find yourself running around the world trying to find people and objects to help you move forward. There are many different ‘quests’, as they were, going on at one given moment. This is sadly where I found my biggest issue with the game. With a good two weeks of play time built up of much of this was spent scratching my head thinking ‘What am I meant to do now?’ as I ran back and forth looking for that one key. I resorted to using the forum which to be fair, even the developer suggestions using when stuck. It’s not that the game is unhelpful, no it’s much the opposite, the game gives you all you need. You just find yourself so lost in everything that you really are confused with what to do next.
That or you get so drawn into one quest that by the time you have spent two days finding the key you forgot you had that other item to push the other quest forward. It can become a chore and get insanely frustrating at times but regardless the game is still fun and very enjoyable. I always wanted to know what happens next to the world, to the characters and of course, to our humble cowboy.
To conclude, it’s fair to say that The Real Texas is a gem of sorts hidden within a sea of copycat games. It has moments of frustration and scenes of complexity which will drive you insane but at it’s core it’s brilliant, creative and charming. Sure, I got annoyed at dying a few times but as a whole the time I spent with The Real Texas was an enjoyable one. It’s an experience which is worth your time and trust me when I say you will love the soundtrack.
The Real Texas is available for Windows, Mac and Linux now at a 40% discount. Best hurry though, no one knows how long the sale will last.
To buy the game and more, head over to wwww.therealtexasgame.com now.
Words: Nikholai Koolonavich
All images belong to their rightful owners and used under fair use