A noteworthy indie PC game finally hits Steam long after being ported to consoles. What is all of the hoopla about?
PROS: A decent shoot ’em up wrapped in an homage to Mecc’s Oregon Trail.
CONS: Difficulty swings wildly between easy, and hard.
WHY?: Did it take so long for Valve to green light the game?
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, or SAWA is just one of many games that have come out in recent years with the purpose of remembering The Oregon Trail. For anyone who grew up in the 1980’s or early 1990’s it was a memorable part of school. Students had to huddle into groups, and decide what steps were necessary to get from one coast of the US to the other using a wagon. What supplies would the group bring? How much food, water, or ammunition? What usually happened was one person would be overzealous with the purchase of hunting weapons so that they could play a hunting minigame.
Of course, this usually resulted in the wagon being too heavy with beef carcasses, and the group getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, running out of meat, and dying.
This game essentially makes the entire game the hunting game, by turning the coach into a ship like one would use in R-Type. But it doesn’t drop the Oregon Trail influence there either. The game starts out by asking you to name your party, pick mug shots for each, and begin. It also takes the random nature of it’s influence by throwing you into situations. You may be in the middle of chasing down buffalo, and then the game decides to put in more animals. Often times however the game just goes all out zany.
For instance there are times when you choose to attempt jumping a river. So you end up in space shooting down asteroid fields. Or the game throws you into a Civil War section. Or it decides your rider ate hallucinogenic vegetables, and tosses you into a Robotron 2084 inspired stage. This is where the game becomes really fun because of just how over the top it becomes. You can replay the game hundreds of times, and it’s different almost every time even if a couple of sections repeat.
On top of that there are all kinds of secret unlockable wagons, and modes based upon whatever random challenges the game throws in. Like a lot of other retro inspired indie games, this one also has 8-bit effect modes like scan line emulation.
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is certainly worth looking into. Especially if you have a low rent laptop, and want to put something on it as a time killer when waiting on a meeting. Or if you have some downtime while you’re out. It’s one of those games you can play for five minutes, or five hours. It will make you laugh whether you win or lose, and the randomness of it all can be quite fun. Arguably, it can get shallow in spots, but there are far more worse indie games for more money than this one. If you can skip a trip to Starbucks for a day, it’s certainly worth the asking price.
Final Score 7 out of 10