Westbound Review

Westbound Review

Dec 30, 2013

Westbound is yet another entry in the well-worn city builder genre. Does it differentiate itself?

Westbound begins with the player saving a frontiersman named Carson who somehow got his leg stuck in a wagon wheel. Soon after, a frontier lady named Ruby Mae joins him town and from there Carson decides to build an entire frontier town right there in the canyon in an effort to impress the pretty Ruby Mae. Ruby Mae meanwhile is searching for her missing daughter. The game’s story is pretty incoherent. Battle Nations this isn’t.

Screenshot_2013-12-17-10-09-25From there, the game enters a very familiar routine that will be all too familiar for players of Farmville or other games of this type. Buildings are built, resources are harvested and gradually the town takes shape. Mini quests frequently appear to give some direction. Money is needed for completing tasks and is gained from planting crops, selling items and so on. Since the game takes place in a canyon a large part of the game is about using pickaxes to mine out new space for houses and other objects. Mining is also often used to complete quests.

Unfortunately, Westbound has a few mechanics that suck the fun out of the game. The most overt of them is the total reliance the player has on pickaxes. Without pickaxes the game cannot really be played. The town can’t expand, items needed for quests can’t be found and the entire game grinds to a halt. The only way to obtain pickaxes is to buy them with real money or download other Kiwi games. Unless cash is ponied up the player will get nowhere in Westbound.

The game also relies heavily on timers for any task. Even the most basic money making tasks take three taps and about 30 seconds of waiting and anything more advanced, such as chopping wood takes five to ten minutes or even longer.

Screenshot_2013-12-17-00-37-12Westbound features a lot of ads. One time two ads to purchase pickaxes and another ad advertising another Kiwi game appeared in the space of a minute, interrupting gameplay each time. Ads are a necessary evil in freemium games, but this is a bit much.

Westbound doesn’t look good. The graphics succeed in driving home the game’s frontier feel, but they are poorly detailed and while some of the characters in game looks OK, there is little interesting to look at. The sound is workman like as well, with all the beeps and clangs common to this type of game.

Westbound is a poor game. It has little fun gameplay, it has too many restrictions and it does nothing new with the city builder genre. There are much better games of this type in Android. For a fun city building experience, check out Clash of Clans, Total Conquest or even Castleville.