You like games. We like games. We like writing about games. But writing takes time, and since time is finite and new release lists are damned near infinite, you can probably see the quandary we’re stuck in. Indies at a Glance lets us discuss games we’re playing without cranking out a marathon review. That way, we can write about more games, and you can read about more games that we’re writing about.
For many twenty-to-thirtysomethings, The Oregon Trail is fondly remembered as a welcome distraction from the rigors of middle school. Computer Lab was the best part of the week — this game provided all the edu-tainment you’d need to slog through fractions in the afternoon. Super Amazing Wagon Adventure channels the spirit of the classic school day time waster but updates the gameplay entirely, providing a fresh take on a familiar chapter in American history. This game is a clever call back to its inspiration, but it’s slightly disappointing that the game isn’t a little more fair.
The game sets you up with a party of three and sends you out under the guise of Manifest Destiny. Half of the game is spent in the wagon, while half takes a character out of the coach and sets them in the wild. Therefore, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is 50 percent shoot-em up and 50 percent twin-stick shooter respectively. You’ll meet all manner of beasts on your journey, from turkeys and deer, to skunks and buffalo. You’ll have gunfights with bandits and do battle with bears. Running over the carcass of a slain animal grants you its pelt, which can sometimes be traded for upgrades at random intervals throughout the game. But its the random nature of events like finding an NPC to trade with that ultimately hurts the game.
That’s not to say the game isn’t fun in general. You may have to grind and hope for a set of instances that’s manageable, but the base gameplay is solid enough that it’s worth playing over and over… so long as you don’t mind losing more than winning. And to be fair, the game does reward you for perseverance. It’s possible to unlock bonus modes and additional wagons with special abilities. The random nature of events ensures that playthroughs should vary a little. The trial version provides an entirely accurate example of what you can expect from the full game, so it’s probably worth a look if you find yourself curious about reliving Lewis and Clark’s great journey, albeit slightly warped and a bit more pixelated.
Price: 80 MSP ($1)