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El Hijo review | PC Gamer

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What is it? A stealth game set in the old west.
Reviewed on: Windows 10, Intel Core i7-9700 CPU @ 3.00GHz, 16 GB RAM  
Price: $20/£18
Release date: Out now
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Honig Studios
Multiplayer: None
Link: Official site

In El Hijo, the collectibles are orphaned children. The protagonist, a six-year-old unnamed boy, walks up to them and expands their world a little bit; maybe he teaches them to juggle, or how to fold a paper airplane. Those formerly despondent kids sparkle with joy as a pop-up box informs the player that, thus far, they’ve “inspired” one out of the four children in the level. 

There are many other charming moments in El Hijo’s sepia-toned Wild West: The boy hangs off the bottom of a cow to pass through a corral undetected; he jumps in a minecart for a bit of Donkey Kong Country-style rail racing; he hides underneath a giant sombrero to protect himself from an interloping sheriff. The game has heart, is what I’m saying, and that makes it easy to root for, though as a stealth game it left me wanting.

(Image credit: Honig Studios/Quantumfrog/HandyGames)

El Hijo consists of 29 levels that follow a simple, wordless narrative about the boy reconnecting with his mother after the family farm is razed by bandits. That journey will take you through stately monasteries, arid desert wastelands, and saloon shootouts. There is danger around every corner, and calamity can only be avoided by not being seen. And so, the boy is offered the standard Sam Fisher palette of abilities. He is nearly invisible in the shadows, and he can slink along the crates, boulders, and foliage with his head down to remain uncompromised. 

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