The six-year-old titular El Hijo has been left at a monastery by his mother. With little explanation, he’s not going to sit by and let himself be separated from her.
He may only be six, but he’s got his wits about him. And so off he sets on an adventure to escape from the monastery and, ultimately, find his mum. That’s the premise of El Hijo – A Wild West Tale, out today on PC. But as you’ll soon find out, escaping is easier said than done.
First things first, this is an all-out stealth game, so if you don’t enjoy taking your time and being cunningly sneaky, then you’ll likely not get far. Broken up into small environments, the game puts you in control of El Hijo. You’ll need to sneak your way through multiple levels, each one getting you that tiny bit closer to finding your mother. But the further you get, the more challenging your journey becomes.
El Hijo doesn’t have any real skills to start out with. He can crouch behind objects and hide in shadows, but that’s about it. But as you progress through El Hijo – A Wild West Tale, you’ll learn new abilities. Starting with the ability to toss stones, you’ll be able to cause distractions, helping you pass unnoticed in tight situations. Sometimes, though, his only option is to hide.
Working out the best way to pass through each area is rather like a puzzle, and a handy bird’s-eye mechanic will help you scout out what lies ahead. If you do get caught, checkpoints are generously placed, so you’ll never lose too much progress.
What’s most captivating about El Hijo – A Wild West Tale, though, is how beautiful its art style is. It has the charm of a Disney cartoon; characters come to life thanks to excellent animation. You want to freely explore its world, but you can’t – you simply need to tiptoe through it, unseen in the shadows.
Without any violence, El Hijo – A Wild West Tale does well to hold your attention despite its repetitive mechanics. As you play, you’ll grow to care for this mischievous six-year-old, willing him to succeed in his quest. But if you want him to be reunited with his mother, you’re going to have to be good at stealth. If you’re not, this probably isn’t the game for you.