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7 Underappreciated Space Western Games

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 21:10 PM

Mixing two great genres together, Space Western games come in all shapes and sizes, with some of them, unfortunately, going unappreciated.

p>Despite seeming like polar opposites, the mixture of the Wild West genre and science fiction lends itself to an ideal best of both genres. Some of the most famous examples of space westerns in gaming are the Borderlands series and the Fallout franchise. Both capture the wonder and fantasy of both genres and blend them into iconic experiences.

However, as good as those aforementioned games are, they tend to overshadow others. Over the years, many space westerns have been released and despite decent reviews, never quite sell as well as expected, or have simply gone unappreciated for many years.

7 Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (2002)

This game about Jango Fett is far from perfect, as the controls can feel stiff and awkward at times. However, when it works, it delivers a proper bounty hunter game that acts as a precursor to the likes of The Mandalorian. Much like the show, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter shows Jango Fett, the famous Mandalorian, doing his job. He gets into plenty of trouble along the way, while gunning down enemies that get in his way.

From rival bounty hunters to fighting gangs, there are many similarities to classic westerns, which should be no surprise to Star Wars fans. The franchise has always paid homage to westerns of the past, even to this day with The Book Of Boba Fett.

6 They Always Run (2021)

Imagine if The Mandalorian went full R-rated and was turned into a sidescroller. That is essentially the concept of They Always Run. In this game, the player controls a multi-armed bounty hunter in a 2D action platformer that harkens back to older action games of the 90s and early 2000s.

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From the main character's stylish poncho to the setting itself, many elements emulate old-school westerns while also incorporating cyborgs, spaceships, and laser blasters. They Always Run excels most with its puzzling platforming and bloody combat, adding an extra layer of challenge and grittiness to everything.

5 The Outer Worlds (2019)

Considering that The Outer Worlds was made by Obsidian, the same studio behind another famous sci-fi western game, Fallout: New Vegas, it should be no surprise that it features a heavily western-inspired style. It may feature alien planets and energy weapons that make it feel more akin to No Man's Sky, but that's only part of it.

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It still features that classic formula of a mysterious stranger that goes to settlements to help those in need, fight outlaws, or take on bounties. It just goes to show that some things never change, even in the distant future in entirely different galaxies. Sadly, The Outer Worlds was only mildly successful, but with the sequel on the way, now is the best time to give it a shot.

4 Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (2005)

The Oddworld games are known for being dark sci-fi puzzle platformers. However, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath changed genres, swapping to a third-person action shooter that keeps its roots in the Oddworld universe while parodying westerns.

Die-hard fans might not have cared for the gameplay change, but that doesn't take away the fact that Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath still delivers a quality experience. The controls are fun and easy to learn, with the camera swapping between third and first-person angles for combat. It provides plenty of challenge and manages to blend the Western genre into the dark and twisted world of Oddworld surprisingly well.

3 Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (2014)

Where the main Borderlands trilogy were all smash hits, the first spin-off title, known as the Pre-Sequel, did not do nearly as well. There was very little marketing for it and as a result, it flew under many people's radars. It's a shame, because it still has everything that makes the Borderlands games so beloved, including some of the best classes.

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From the downright ludicrous humor to the mixture of RPG and first-person shooter gameplay, this game is as challenging as it is fun. Like all other Borderlands games, the Pre-Sequel retains a western vibe, this time going to the extremes with the sci-fi element, considering a large portion of the game takes place on the moon's surface.

2 Gunman Chronicles (2000)

It was easy to miss this one, since it was a mod of the original Half-Life. However, instead of feeling like an identical clone, plenty of changes were made in the mod to make Gunman Chronicles a dynamic shooter experience. There are obvious similarities to Half-Life, but there is enough flavor added to keep it from becoming boring.

Gunman Chronicles mixes elements from many genres and sub-genres. There are plenty of western elements, such as the enemy faction resembling cowboys, but then there are dinosaurs, aliens, and mutants along with intergalactic marines with futuristic weaponry.

1 Exoplanet: First Contact (2016)

Survival games have become a bit overabundant, with games like Minecraft, Rust, The Forest, Trove, No Man's Sky, Don't Starve, and ARK Survival Evolved all finding massive success. As a result of this saturation, sometimes the rare gem goes undiscovered. This is the case for Exoplanet: First Contact, which released for Early Access back in 2016.

There's plenty of resource management, crafting, and survival aspects that gamers who enjoy the previously mentioned titles will appreciate. Where it shines the most, though, is with its unique and massive alien world full of monsters to fight, sci-fi weapons to craft, and cowboy-like characters to evolve.

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