App Review: Westward® by Sandlot Games Corporation
Westward is probably the most complex game I have downloaded from the iTunes App Store yet. This game is based on the PC game of the same name by Sandlot Games and is much like Sim City. You are an early western settler trying to establish a town on the western frontier. You start with little resources; exploring your surroundings in search of money (gold), food, water and wood. These things are used to build farms, mines, wells, and lumber mills that will produce the resources to support the needs of your growing town. As you build your town, more and more settlers come to live there. Their basic necessities include a place to live, a place to work, food, and water. You are responsible for assigning each person that joins your town to a home and a job. If you do not meet the needs of these people, they will leave. That is just the beginning, though.
Along with building your town, you must also battle the natural and man made disasters that existed in the Wild West. Your town may be struck by bandits, fire, plague, drought, or famine, each of which takes a toll in its own way. So, you must prepare your town for anything and provide them protection in the form of gunslingers and a sheriff. Others from outside your town may also stop in and ask for help. It may cost you up front to help them, but they often repay you in the form of money or knowledge.
The depth and intricacy of this game is incredible. The possibilities seem endless. The developers even went so far as to allow you to reform the town drunk by taking him to church. Completing a game takes hours and hours. Fortunately, the game is capable of saving up to 5 games at a time so that you don’t have to do it all in one sitting. For me, the details in this game actually became somewhat frustrating. There are a lot of rules governing what you have to do, what order you must do them in, and how they must be done. I was grateful for all of the instructions and hints that the game provided because I had a hard time keeping everything straight. It took a long time for me to figure out how to play and still I had trouble figuring out how to do things after several hours of game play. The game does give you a task list and pretty good instructions on how to accomplish each task. There were some instances, however, when it would give me instructions on what to do next and I couldn’t figure out what I needed to tap on to follow the instructions. These instances were quite frustrating. However, I know that for some, this type of intricate game is perfect. If you are looking for a challenge that will carry you through hours and hours, this may just be the one.
Westward is on sale for $2.99 in the iTunes App Store.