A new game from the minds of creators Andrew Katz (Car Seat Headrest) and Emi Schaufeld, Lombardi’s World revolves around the goal of defeating a final boss—Chris Lombardi, the founder of legendary indie rock label Matador Records, in the form of an animated wolf.
Lombardi’s World serves as the follow-up to Katz’s prior videogame Cossett’s World, as part of his satirical spinoff band 1 Trait Danger with Will Toledo. “The intent with this project was to make something that our fans could engage with more deeply than just a song; something they had some level of control over,” Katz said in a statement about the game. “We’re allowing fans to experience our music, our comedy and our ideas from their own exploration and engagement within the world we made for them. That’s Lombardi’s World.”
Lombardi’s World opens on a starting screen where players have the option of choosing one of the three alter-ego characters—Stoney, Tommy or Trait. I picked the character most initially exciting to myself, the drummer Stoney, and entered the game.
Players arrive in a small ghost town, similar to a main street filled with saloons from old western movies, as they attempt to navigate their way through the mazes within the gameplay. There’s additional characters scattered throughout the game, including Penny the penguin, whose voice-overs and one-liners are bound to make players laugh in passing conversations—as I did.
After being granted power-ups, I decided to explore the environment a little more. I wound up entering a portal, which took me to a place that was winter-themed—a stark contrast to the dry, sandy, western imagery. I tried (and failed) to jump up the stone path on the side of the mountain a few times, before walking away to see what else I could find.
On the opposite end away from the saloon buildings, there’s a large battle arena that players can enter. Inside, you can transform into a horse, simply by walking through the one currently standing there. Suddenly, the game’s music changes and it’s the player’s objective (as the horse) to avoid being killed with people shooting lasers at you. Another objective that I struggled with, as I routinely died and was reverted to my original character outside of the arena.
The final round of my walkthrough included a final battle with other players against a gigantic boss who shot flames. Was it practical that we would make it through the level? No. The large red text reading “Eat shit” made that clear also. Yet, that was the fun of Lombardi’s World.
After dying, I eventually ended up in a classroom purgatory with the other players who failed the boss. It signaled the end of the game, but it was also the first place that we were all in the same space. The main gameplay landscape was very spread out, so it was focused on free individual exploration and what you wanted to make of it.
Overall, the oddball quirkiness of Lombardi’s World managed to make it more endearing and enjoyable as one of the few videogames I’ve played recently. It didn’t have to rely on perfect graphics or a lengthy storyline. A few swear words in the sky, a paradoxical soundtrack and a fun misfit cast from characters to final bosses, was all Lombardi’s World needed to be an appealing sophomore game to play from a laptop at home.
Lexi Lane is an intern at Paste, focusing on music, TV, and ghost pepper donuts.