El Hijo – A Wild West Tale review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Publisher: Handy Games
Developer: Honig Studios/Quantumfrog
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a stealth game. I?m usually horrendous at stealth games. This feels like it?s going to be a quick, unfairly negative review.

It?s much to El Hijo?s credit, however, that even though I?m the least stealthy person imaginable when it comes to games, I nonetheless enjoyed it. I mean, somewhere around the middle of its approximately six-hour playtime, I started wishing for at least one level that didn?t involve moving slowly and sticking to the shadows, but still: this is a stealth game through and through that?s pretty enjoyable for what it is.

It probably helped my enjoyment of El Hijo that the game is geared towards a younger audience. Sure, it makes claims of being a spaghetti western, and you occasionally have to elude capture from bandits with guns, but you?re playing as a six-year-old, and it?s not like there are violent consequences to being caught — the titular boy sticks his hands up, and it immediately puts you back to the last checkpoint.

More to the point, El Hijo?s age-appropriateness comes into play for less stealthy players because the levels are a) fairly short, pretty straightforward, and easy enough to figure out, and b) very generous with their checkpoints. Every so often you?ll come across a point where you have to look around and get a lay of the land — and get caught a few times in the process — but those are rare, and when they do pop up, you never find yourself losing too much progress as you figure things out.

The other big thing in El Hijo?s favour is that it looks fantastic. For a stealth game, this game is fairly bright and inviting, and even if you?re only seeing the world from an isometric perspective, you still get a pretty good sense of the spaghetti-western theme the developers were going for. The few cutscenes add to that as well, with a slightly washed-out look and a score that has a couple of nods in the direction of the late genre master Ennio Morricone.

In other words, all things considered, El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is pretty enjoyable. In fact (and please forgive me for the terrible pun I?m about to inflict on you), you might even say it?s a stealth game that stole its way into my heart.

Handy Games provided us with an Ej Hijo – A Wild West Tale Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-