Retrific’s upcoming top-down roguelite shooter, Colt Canyon, was one of the many indie games that received attention during the Guerilla Collective and IGN Summer of Gaming events. The game has a short demo on its Steam page, so I decided to give it a try for myself. Here are my initial impressions after a few runs with the demo.
Colt Canyon is a Wild West-themed top-down roguelite shooter with a minimalistic graphics style. The game starts off with you and your partner being ambushed by outlaws. You awaken hours later after being left for dead, with your partner having been abducted. Now, it’s time to track down the bandits responsible so you can get revenge, and rescue your friend.
As with many roguelites, this involves going through a series of procedurally generated levels, upgrading your character with new gear and abilities as you progress. While the game doesn’t have a mini-map, it’s not too hard to figure out where you need to go, as the game is essentially a side-scroller with the level exit being the entire far right edge of the map.
All roguelites generally revolve around resource management, and Colt Canyon is no different. You can carry two guns at once, and the game features five different ammo types; those being pistol ammo, rifle ammo, shotgun shells, arrows, and dynamite. Dynamite is unique because it can be thrown like a grenade, or loaded into certain guns. It’s also the most rare of the game’s ammo types.
Since Colt Canyon is a Wild West game, ammo capacity is also a fairly big part of the game’s ammo management system. Aside from revolvers, most weapons I’ve encountered are guns like black powder rifles, bows, or double barrel shotguns.
All of which can have some fairly lengthy reload times, so you’ll need to mind your ammo to make sure you aren’t going into encounters with an empty chamber.
Besides the gunplay, Colt Canyon has a dodge roll and a basic melee attack. There is a rudimentary stealth system in the game that allows you to easily one-shot enemies with your melee attack, if you can get the drop on them.
Enemies will also seek out sounds, and become alerted to your presence when they see you or a dead body, causing all enemies in the immediate area to converge on your location. It’s hardly Thief or Styx when it comes to stealth complexity, but it’s still something to consider before running in guns blazing.
Besides just finding guns and ammo in conveniently breakable boxes and crates, you can find passive upgrades for your characters by rescuing hostages. Each level has one hostage that you can generally find pretty easily by following their screams. Once rescued, they’ll give you four options to choose from.
Upgrades range from regaining one health at the start of every level, to reducing gun recoil to make subsequent shots more accurate. You can also choose to have the hostage follow you around as a companion.
You’ll need to find them a weapon to get any meaningful aid in combat, but they can be quite helpful, if only to draw away enemy attention and to have something else gradually chipping away at groups of outlaws.
While it might be tempting to spend a while exploring each procedurally generated level, you are on a bit of a time limit. If you spend too long on a level, you’ll begin hearing wolf howls. This is your cue to leave, because otherwise you’ll be chased by packs of wolves that can take quite a bit of punishment.
Colt Canyon looks to have a fair amount of replayability with your typical roguelite metaprogression that includes nine unlockable characters with different passive bonuses.
The alternate character I unlocked in my time with the demo was a Native American named Eagle that is faster than the default character and deals more damage with arrow-based weapons, but is less effective with guns. You can also unlock new starting weapons for each character.
While Colt Canyon‘s demo was fairly fun, I’d say that the procedural generation could use some tweaking. There was one time when I spawned into a level right in the middle of a group of enemies, meaning I took some damage I couldn’t really do much to avoid.
If Colt Canyon looks like a game you’d like to try for yourself, then you can find the demo on the Steam page. If you end up liking the game, then you won’t have long to wait for the full version, which launches June 16th on Windows PC (via GOG and Steam), Xbox One, and 2020 on Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.