Wicket - The Beginning Review

Our Review by Rob Rich on January 10th, 2012
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: WHAT?
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Wicket - The Beginning has all the trappings of a clever rpg-lite inspired task management game. Save the lack of any real point, that is.

Developer: Evan Szarka
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starhalfstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Sometimes I'll look at a game's description and wonder. When there isn't much to it I can't help but think that the same holds true for the product itself. Of course, there are also times when this isn't the case and the game in question turns out to be great. Unfortunately, this isn't one of those times.

According to the description, Wicket - The Beginning is supposed to be an empire-building pocket RPG. Players have to jump back and forth between three different mini-games as they attempt to collect enough wood, stone and crops to offer up to some sort of colossus. Chopping wood is as simple as timing button presses to coincide with an arrow moving along a meter (hit green, get resource). Gathering stone is trickier and requires luck more than ability as players try to guess where the rocks are hidden in a two by three grid of tiles while avoiding the TNT. Farming is the easiest of the three with players simply tapping on a tool (seed bag, watering can, scythe) to select it and tapping the appropriate spot in the field to use it.

The game is rather pleasing in its simplicity. As someone who holds much appreciation for retro-inspired games, I rather enjoyed the overall look. The simple sounds, too, although they did tend to get repetitive. The problem with all of this is that it just doesn't make for a compelling, let alone interesting, experience.

The completely inaccurate touch controls certainly don't help matters. Missing an attempt at chopping wood or watering crops because my finger was off by a fraction of a millimeter can certainly be annoying, but failure only really cost me a little bit of time. The real problem is that absolutely none of this has any point. Selling resources in the market nets me coins, sure, but I can't actually use the coins for anything except buying those same exact resources that I can sell. Likewise, offering enough of a tribute to the colossus (ten or more of each resource) will make it happy and boost the town's attack and defense ratings, but those ratings don't mean anything because there's nothing else to do in this game except play three mini-games, buy/sell resources and make a large shadowy thing happy. Plus attack and defense gets reset to zero if players fail to pay proper tribute on time even once.

I could easily overlook Wicket - The Beginning's control issues if it weren't for the fact that the gameplay serves zero purpose. There's no progression of any kind, save watching the numbers next to the gold coin, sword and shield go up. It's a shame, really. I think this game could be pretty cool if any of it actually lead to something.

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