7 indie games featuring wild western elements

At time of writing Red Dead Redemption 2 has just launched, if you’re not the kind of person to have a spare $60 laying around for Rockstar’s next title, but you have a thirst for The Wild West then we’ve got some good news for you!

We’ve prepared a list of some great, affordable games with that charming Western setting — and we’re here to save you some bucks all while supporting smaller developers.

Dead Horizon by 14 Hours Productions

Completely free to play, Dead Horizon is a first person arcade shooter which follows the tale of Bonnie Starr a former farmgirl turned into an outlaw pistolier.

It’s a short but memorable ten minute experience which features a tight narrative as well as a handful of enemies to dual against — and even a boss fight of sorts. While it is not going to hold you for long, while it does it though, it will hold you tight and likely leave you longing for more.

West of Loathing by Asymmetric

Looking for a comedic, open-world western adventure? West of Loathing has you covered. This black and white RPG has you fighting skeletons, demon cows and all sorts of bandits in this slapstick comedy from the creators of Kingdom of Loathing. You can even customize your stick-figure character with more than 50 hats!

When it comes to replay value, West of Loathing has it in spades! I have played 26 hours at the moment and I have yet to get even half of the achievements. It’s not that they are difficult achievements either, there is just that much to do.

Wrote our reviewer, Erica, when she reviewed the game earlier in the year.

Hard West by CreativeForge Games

Perhaps you like your Western theme with a bit of X-COM-style turn-based styling? Hard West may be the game for you. Death doesn’t seem to even be able to stop you as a pact with the devil brings our hero Warren back to life to settle a score and get his just revenge.

Cowboys meet demons in this supernatural tale of good vs evil where choices you make unravel the multiple endings of the game.

Westerado: Double Barreled by Ostrich Banditos

I’d like to think that if the Old West had pixels, this is what it would look like. Westerado: Double Barreled is an open world take on the gritty realism of the classic cowboy story. As you seek to avenge your family murdered by an unnamed desperado, you can shoot anyone and anything in your way.

Ride your horse, shoot some bandits, and play your own way in a game that pushes the boundaries and allows you to play out your western fantasies. Yeehaw!

Steamworld Dig (and 2) by Image & Form Games

Steampunk and Western themes tend to go hand in hand, and Steamworld Dig is no exception.

Both Steamworld Dig and Steamworld Dig 2 have you diving deep into the underground to dig for gems, power-up your tools and defeat both menacing creatures and robot cowboys alike. The randomized worlds and Metroidvania-inspired progression lend well to these grand adventures you won’t want to miss!

Steamworld Dig 2 refines itself perfectly. I honestly doubt they could top themselves after this game. I obviously highly recommend this game to just about anyone. Especially fans of the original game. There is no doubt that the developer poured some of their heart and soul into this game.

Wrote Jorge when he reviewed the game on its release.

Westslingers by Tailwind Games

With a simple visual aesthetic, but some extremely clever tactical mechanics, Westslingers is a massively underrated game which fans of squad-based strategy will absolutely adore.

While it can be tough to get going in the beginning with Westslingers, the combat mechanics, satisfying sound effects and overall feel of the game make it great fun to play. Completing missions feels like a genuine achievement.

Wrote Katherine when she previewed the Steam Early Access version of the game.

RimWorld by Ludeon StudiosWe can’t mention the Western setting without mentioning the extensive, and deadly, colony builder RimWorld. The team have been evangelising the game to one another since it was in alpha, and between all of the podcasts and chats our own Katherine even managed to make an extensive 0.8 Getting Started guide which came complete with mod recommendations and more. (You can read it here).

If you’ve any experience with tycoon or management games, and are a fan of games which can snatch out hope (and restore it equally in kind) within the blink of an eye, then RimWorld and its AI storytellers will be good companions to take you late into the night.

Authors: Bryan Taylor and Dann Sullivan.

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