Developer: Astraware Limited
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

This is a virtual villagers / sim style game. You control the people to gather resources, defend your land and generate a thriving community. You play as a Frontier settler and it has nice graphics that makes the westward ‘cowboy’ theme look really fun. Like all sim games this can be a real time hog so be warned!

img_0013This app is a complex villager / sim game that has tasks set that you need to accomplish before new tasks / levels are set. From the developers they have described some of the features:

* Guide your townsfolk to make camp and build communities
* Explore 4 different locations over more than 20 levels
* Create and customize towns using more than 25 types of building
* Includes additional side levels for extra Frontier fun
* Enjoy your own music whilst you play

This is a great game actually and I found I was enjoying it more then another popular sim game.

This game is good because the maps have enough scope to keep you occupied, and the buildings are fun to be able to ‘purchase’. Having to give your villagers work to gather resources is a nice idea. They become an employee and you have to first get them to quit their current job before they can work somewhere else. Not sure if this is one step too many and to be able to just click them on a new job may be better.

As with all of these types of games the screen size can make it difficult to play and become immersed. However with Westward I found that it was not really an issue. There seems to be enough localized ‘action’ to stay in the same area for quite a long time.

img_00144It was also fun to have new villagers arrive nearby and to get them to move in to your town. Additional to the simple yet fun town building, there is a theme running throughout. While you are building these towns and gathering resources etc, there is a Mad Russian, a con artist, who you must try to bring to justice, (before he can cheat anyone else). This is a nice little addition that gives a bit more dynamic to the game.

Options you can configure includes sound, adjusting the sound effects or music volume. Game options is to include map scroll momentum and fast jump to next unit. Both of these options I had enabled. You can also load the last game you were playing, or load a saved game. (As well as start a new one.) You can pause in the game, this brings up the options to save your game (DO IT!) restart the scenario, go to the main menu or resume play. You can also check your current uncompleted tasks and look at what buildings are available to place. That building screen also lets you know what you need in order to build it (wood / gold number etc…)

You can also click to see the entire map (with it’s unexplored areas). While in this screen you can click on info, which tells you about your population what they produce and what they use.

Watching the food consumption but the -1 appearing on the person is a nice indicator. As is the display above the heads of the characters to indicate if they are looking for a home or work etc.

Unfortunately with these games, you put a lot of work into your village, and community. Because of this, it the game crashes, you will find yourself pretty annoyed. I had been working hard on a level, and was just about to meet the requirements to complete it when it just died on me. When I re-launched the game, my progress was gone. Now I realize that it’s just a game but I was very annoyed and will alter my playing style so that I play in short bursts on the game.

Also because it is such a detailed game there is a lot to learn about the controls and interface. The tutorials do walk you through it, but it is so much to take in that a lot of it I forgot. Also I couldn’t figure out at all what some of the controls actually do, or mean, so had to redo parts of it.

Overall, this is a really good game, and the amount of things to do will keep you occupied for a very long time. If you enjoy this style of game it has scope and really nice graphics. the subtext of finding the bad guy, defending your town and building up your resources means you will be occupied for hours.

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