App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Sometimes competitive games revolve around a metagame with tier lists comparing certain strategic choices that have the highest odds for success. Other games, like Westurn: Turn Based Showdowns, are almost all about mind games. This showdown dueling game has you staring down opponent avatars and making simple choices in hopes that you can anticipate what your foe is thinking to come out the victor. It's a fun dueling game that--despite being free-to-play--is well balanced and enjoyable.
You can probably guess from its title that Westurn: Turn Based Showdowns is a wild west themed game. In it, you choose an alien avatar who then stands face-to-face with another player and has to choose whether to load their weapon, fire it, or try to block an incoming shot. On each turn, you only can choose one action, with your goal being to eventually take your enemy's health down to zero.
This may sound like a pure guessing game, but like any seasoned rock-paper-scissors player knows, there is definitely a way to intuit and read player behaviors to anticipate moves and react to them. It also helps that Westurn has systems that limit players from simply firing or blocking constantly on every turn, which allows you to better zero-in on what your opponent might be trying to do.
Quest in the west
Westurn seems pretty clearly geared toward multiplayer competition, but the game also features a single-player campaign where you work your way through stages of AI enemies before facing a boss. Trying to predict a computer's strategy sounds like it could be pointless or uninteresting, but Westurn manages to make it work somewhat by giving these lifeless enemies some behavior traits and special abilities that keep you on your toes.
Completing quests earns you in-game currencies in Westurn, which you can then spend on powerups that can aid you in online matches or special cosmetic items that can change the appearance of your gun or bullet shield. Free players can only earn a limited amount of this currency though through a gating system for reward redemption on top of ads that regularly breakup the action.
Wild and free
Thankfully, players can opt-out of ads and earn unlimited currency in Westurn by simply paying $ 2.99 once. There are other purchases for increased shop currency amounts as well, but all of that feels unnecessary as the primary annoyance of the game is definitely the ads as opposed to any kind of lopsided pay-to-win balance.
Although there are some powerups that paying players may be able to have more access to across matches of Westurn, you earn plenty of free chances to use these same powerups and can only use one per match. Unless you are planning on trying to grind your way up the ranks of the game's leaderboard by playing continuously over long periods of time, the free-to-play rate of powerup availability is reasonable feels like it has a negligible impact on overall game balance.
The bottom line
Westurn: Turn Based Showdowns is a fun free-to-play dueling game that feels refreshingly fair. It isn't the deepest or most strategic way you can be competing with other players, but it is entertaining to try and see if you can pull over some mind trickery on others, regardless of whether you spend money on the title or not.