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Published by Sam Eskenazi on Arcade

Timber West is a wild west reaction shooter that has the player murder countless ruffians through quick reaction times.

In Timber West you move from level to level – or rather, Wild West location to Wild West location, shooting the variety of banditos that appear from the left and right side of the screen.

To fire on the enemy, you hold down on the screen in the direction of the various and sundry types of enemies, keeping it down while the crosshair moves up the screen increasingly quickly. Once the crosshair is over the target, let go and BLAM.

Timber West seeks to heighten the sense of tension by including opportunities for you to earn even more gold by risking your life. As you play, gold pots will appear between levels, but even more frequently a giant bird – or even a flying pig, for some reason – will fly through with some gold seemingly stapled to their legs.

To get them, however, requires you to make a choice between shooting the enemies that are most likely preparing to murder you, or to try and grab the gold. The decision making inherent in this means you’re always on your toes, always trying to weigh up the benefits of risking your life.

The reason you want gold is to buy more characters with different weapon types. The only way to progress through the higher levels is to get these characters, as they afford you multiple targeting reticules and increased firepower. This means you’re able to take down the hugely increasing multitudes of enemies, each with their own weapon types.

The costs of the new characters, however, are far too high. It takes so many failures progressing through the same first few levels to be able to afford new characters, only to be able to progress a tiny bit more so as to afford more characters, creating a continuous cycle of irritation that leaves a bitter taste in the player’s mouth.

... creating a continuous cycle of irritation that leaves a bitter taste in the player’s mouth.

Timber West manages to balance tension well enough to give the player enough enjoyment to keep going, but sours it with the feeling of constantly never having enough gold to do well enough.

Were the costs balanced better, Timber West would feel enjoyable throughout, with well-designed progression mechanics and fun gameplay.

As it stands, however, Timber West is good enough to play for a bit, but too frustrating to play long term.

Our Rating

ProsCons
The gameplay is engaging and tense. The variety of characters gives you some room to experiment with different styles.The high price of new characters means you are trapped in an endless cycle of repeating levels for gold.
Rating
7/10