Wild West is a great setting for many game genres, especially point-and-click adventure games. Some of the greatest games in the genre such as Full Throttle or Indiana Jones And Fate Of Atlantis are inspired by western elements, and many more directly use western themes. So whenever there is a new point-and-click game in the wild west theme, expectations are high.
Lone McLonegan, developed by Sonomio Games and published by Flynn's Arcade is an old-school point-and-click adventure game, where we have to help the cowboy Lone McLonegan on his journey of becoming the most wanted outlaw in the wild west. The game is filled with surreal and surprising comedic moments, pop culture references, and interesting puzzles. Playing Lone McLonegan was a wild ride, so let's see how it went.
The game starts in Lone's house, as he hears on the radio that another outlaw, Bragg Badass, has replaced him as the most wanted outlaw in the wild west. He decides to go after Badass's wealth and rob him to reclaim his honor, and this is where the journey begins.
On his way to the town where Badass is staying, their stagecoach is attacked by outlaws, and he has to find his way to the town on foot, and find a mechanic to fix the ride. This is where the classic point-and-click gameplay starts. We have to talk with different NPCs, find items, and solve puzzles in order to reach our goal.
The game starts simple, and puzzles are usually logical. I didn't get stuck in the first portion of the game, mainly because we only had access to one town, a few NPCs, and a handful of items. But after our first confrontation with Badass, both the puzzles difficulty and the acidity of the comedy are cranked up.
Point-and-click adventure games have simple gameplay, but a good UI design can make or break a game in this genre. Lone McLonegan's UI design is, mixed. Some elements of it are even better than some classic games in the genre, but some of them can become very frustrating.
One of the game's best features is that every interactable object in the scene can be easily detected by hovering your mouse over it. Interactable objects have floating text that describes them, so we are never stuck throwing objects from our inventory at every pixel on the screen. This might seem a small detail, but if you were ever stuck in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow you would definitely appreciate the floating texts!
On the other hand, the inventory's UI design itself can become very frustrating, especially in the latter stages of the game. The inventory is a bar at the top of your screen, and when it fills up, you can scroll through it by hovering your pointer on the arrows at the ends of the bar. When you have too many items in the inventory, finding the one you want can take a frustratingly long time. Considering that most of the gameplay loop in a point-and-click adventure game is guessing and trying different objects from the inventory with elements in the world, most of the gameplay experience at the end game becomes scrolling through the inventory.
The puzzles themselves were challenging and fun for the most part. I was never truly stuck, and the solutions were never random. I was rarely left not knowing where to go. Lone McLonegan does a great job of pointing you in the right direction through dialogue.
It also does a great job of giving us the information we know without solely relying on our memory. For one part of the game, we need to collect a few different ingredients for creating a spray, and during this puzzle, whenever we interact with the recipe in our inventory, it tells us the ingredients. Unfortunately, the quality of the puzzles and the accessibility of the information didn't last for till the end.
The final goal in the game is finding a gun so we can challenge Badass to a duel. The way to finding a gun is a chain of trading items with different NPCs until we get a gun, and unless you know every NPC and their dialogues that you have heard throughout the whole game, you wouldn't know which item should be traded with which NPC. Playing through the whole game for me took about 6 hours in a span of a few days, and this last part was the least fun I had playing Lone McLonegan.
Getting stuck is not too off-putting for fans of the genre, but the final puzzle of the game was challenging in a frustrating way. The game would give hints for each item, but the hints relied on us remembering dialogues from random NPCs throughout the whole world.
But even after all the frustrating moments, Lone McLonegan never ceased to surprise me with unexpected comedic moments and surreal events. I want to talk about them, but I also don't want to spoil the best moments for anyone who's interested in playing the game.
The comedy is the best part of the game and the developer's biggest investment, and it pays off. From my whole experience playing Lone McLonegan, I don't remember, or to be more honest, I didn't care about the story or the puzzles. The most memorable part of the game was meeting unique and corky characters, being surprised by random and out-of-place events, or Lone breaking the fourth wall and talking to us about the game. One of those instances was when we wanted Lone to pick up a piece of paper from the wall of a disgusting outhouse, and after hesitating for a bit, he said that he is only gonna do that because we paid for the game. I thought this was the perfect opportunity for one of those unique anti-pirating measures that some games take. Playing a cracked version of the game and Lone refusing to pick up the paper unless you buy the game would be hilarious!
Lone McLonegan is a game designed with a lot of passion and creativity, and in the end, it was an enjoyable experience. I couldn't talk about the best moments of the game, because it was the surprise that got to me, and I didn't want to spoil them. But I can say that if you decide to play the game for yourself, you won't be disappointed.