The game is set in a mythical place that very much resembles the American west as we know it from Sergio Leone's westerns, borrowing some of the most popular characteristics such as gangs of outlaws, shady saloons, and desert landscapes, all served up with a good helping of sarcasm and irony. The journey begins when a farmer and her son El Hijo are attacked by bandits who raze their farm to the ground. The mother, confronted with a difficult choice, decides to leave El Hijo with a group of old monks at a secluded monastery in order to protect him. However, El Hijo decides that the monastic life is not for him, and he decides to escape.
The player sneaks through three different environments - a remote monastery, a harsh and unforgiving stretch of desert, and a frontier town rife with crime and villainy. In every environment El Hijo must contend with different opponents that will require the player to come up with a mischievous master plan to progress through the game by combining stealth and puzzle-solving. The further El Hijo proceeds through the game the more complex the combinations get.
El Hijo is a non-violent stealth game. Violence is instead exchanged with the mischievous, playfulness of a young child. The bandits, monks, and lawmen that populate the world each require El Hijo to adopt a different cunning method in order to sneak past them. In the game you:
travel through three environments: the monastery, the desert, the frontier town
hide in shadows to avoid monks and bandits
use toys to distract opponents
solve environmental puzzles
jump into laundry baskets, bathtubs, and coffins to stay hidden