Developer: Wooga
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Taking a slightly different approach to the popular settlement building genre, Pocket Village offers some charming graphics and relaxed gameplay, but suffers for that very same reason.

pocketvillage3Tranquility is the key to Pocket Village, as the description suggests. Players are tasked with building up their settlement, through the services of the cute Pocketeer people, with little structure to pave the way, other than the urge to expand. Unlike many other freemium titles, there’s no constant flurry of objectives to adhere to, nor even a particularly detailed tutorial. Players are left to do whatever they like, really, developing their village exactly how they want.

The only real hint of structure comes from the balloon trader who arrives often to arrange trades of produce in exchange for money, which can then be used to expand the Pocketeers’ world. These items work on a simple scale of all being linked in some way. Gather wood and berries then use them in a processing plant of some sort to turn them into planks, juice and other useful things.

Such flexibility leads to a disjointed experience, however. Leaving the player to do whatever they want is immediately quite calming but it also leads to boredom. It’s only so long before one finds themselves craving more of a purpose than simply expanding and watching the experience bar slowly increase. Tasks take increasingly long times to complete, too, frequently leaving the player with nothing new to do and even less control than is usually expected of such games of this ilk.

Pocket Village might be fun for a short time, and simple enough to avoid paying out for any in-app purchases, but its longevity is seriously lacking. Objectives in some games may feel too rigid, but in this case, it feels all too relaxed and unfocused. Style over substance is an unfortunate trap to stumble into.

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