Rustler Impressions: A Return to Simpler, Funnier Times

Written by Allen

September 20, 2021

Remember when games didn’t think too hard about the logic of things and just focused on being a game? Well, Rustler remembers. It in fact wants to take you much further back in the time of gaming that it may very well have mixed up its timelines as modern humor sneaks into the medieval age and you play the role of Guy, one of the many rustlers within the kingdom.

Yep, you heard me, kingdom. As in shields, swords, cows, bards that beatbox, and knights with police sirens. Yeah, some things might not be quite historically accurate there, but the game doesn’t want to think too hard about it. Rustler figures you’re going to like it, either way.

The main hook of this game is the return to more simple, direct game play. Where it makes it a point to get you to the more fun or well, funnier stuff, faster. If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto before it became a 3D game, you pretty much know what you’re in for. Part of it would be the awful driving controls. For some reason you may have to get your horse to trot in reverse because it gets stuck in some corner or somehow ended up against a tree. The rules on whether or not it can break through fences is also a little unclear. But after some getting used to it getting a handle on it isn’t so bad. Still, riding a horse to get to places may not have felt as much as a chore had I the ability to fast travel along certain points in the map. Which I didn’t.

Skills in the other hand were fairly useful, but I don’t think they were really skills. For example, one of them allows you to pick up items while on horseback. So you don’t have to get down from the horse to interact with most things anymore. To me, that sounds like a quality-of-life improvement. The ability to play the game more conveniently doesn’t necessarily change the way I would play in terms of use of resources, strategy or approach. Some other skills give you better random drops, or better stats in general, but they don’t really turn into something where I would consider a build. The skills in general just improve how you currently play the game. About half of the skills just sound boring or useless with how the game is normally played, so I don’t even want to try them. Rather than gaining new skills feel like I gained some progression for the character, I felt more like letting out a sigh disgruntlement because they could have let me play more conveniently in the first place, but simply chose not to.

The real progression, however, is through doing quest chains. It’s through going back to the same quest-giving NPCs that you get to unlock more elaborate tasks, which potentially leads to funnier situations. What they’re significant for though, game-wise is the increasing reward you get for every next mission you finish. The game sets some in-game paywalls before you can proceed with the main story which kinda sucks in my opinion. Luckily, the quests you do are rarely over fifteen minutes so the grind doesn’t become too grating.

So out of my six or so hours spent playing this game, would I recommend it? It’s not exactly a deep or compelling experience so far. But I you’re just looking to hang back, have a beer (which you may need to keep up with this title), and have a good time? Playing as Guy in Rustler is probably not a bad option.

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