Weather Lord shoots for sunny skies, but plays like a rainy day
If there’s one thing man can’t control, it’s the weather. That may be the case in the real world, but in Alawar’s newest time management game Weather Lord (or is it Weather Master? That’s what it’s called on the title screen), you’re given the chance to take over for Mother Nature, and will be able to help humans grow fertile crops, repair destruction left behind by other weather events and more. Unfortunately, the game’s inconsistent name is the least of its problems.
Regardless of whether the game’s name is Weather Lord or Weather Master (the game can’t even decide), the experience simply isn’t very fun. You’ll complete level-based time management play, with each level having multiple tasks to complete and a far too strict time limit. At first, you’ll find yourself helping oranges, grapes, corn and wheat grow on a fairly standard farm/vineyard, but will later travel to other farms where tropical crops (or other unique offerings) come into play. As you can control the weather, you’ll drag clouds, sunshine, rainbows and more over each farm plot to help each particular crop grow in a stepwise fashion.
With just a few base elements (clouds, sun and wind), you’ll be able to create all other natural phenomenon. Combine two clouds to get a raincloud. Combine a raincloud with wind and you get a thunderstorm. Add sun to rain and create a sun-shower (with a rainbow) and so on. Some crops may only require these base weather types to grow, while others require more complex types. You’ll be able to combine and deconstruct weather systems at your will, by either dragging items on top of one another, or dragging a system to the top of the screen where it will be split back apart.
With each level having so many tasks to complete (grow a certain number of crops, upgrade farms to increase their productivity, etc.), you’ll need to manage the use of your sun and rainclouds more than anything else (as they’re the most frequently used). You can sell crops outright for profits, or can send them to processing plants to create more valuable consumer products for store shelves (cans of corn or wine, for instance). Processing plants require energy, which is created by dedicating sun to Solar Plants or wind to Wind Farms, as two examples.
The more money you have, the more individual weather elements you can purchase. Unfortunately, while you’re frantically trying to control the growth of crops or production of consumer goods, your unused weather elements are floating all over the screen and are sometimes left out of reach behind the game’s large user interface (or will get in your way as you try to activate a farm’s growth).
Adding to this are subtasks in some levels that require you to put out forest fires, dry up swamps and puddles, or repair damage left behind by tornadoes and other natural disasters. These tasks take much longer to complete than simply growing crops, so you’ll wind up wasting valuable time (and weather resources) in handling them, while the clock forever ticks down in the background. It’s probable you’ll fail at least a few levels before all is said and done, and will even have to restart quite a few after just a few seconds, as it is possible to back yourself into a corner, making levels literally impossible to complete unless you spend your starting funds in an exact fashion that you’ll need to discover for yourself.
Some bad controls and technical issues only exasperate Weather Lord‘s inconsistent gameplay difficulty. Text pop-ups won’t disappear, but will instead flash on the screen as you try to click to remove them, weather systems will float on top of crops or energy units, preventing you from picking them up, or the game will simply crash or lockup your entire system. On top of this, there are moments when the game’s basic soundtrack simply stops, leaving you to play in relative silence with no rhyme or reason as to why.
Put simply, Weather Lord isn’t worth your time or money. It’s an experience that’s full of technical issues that scream of oversight and rushed production (so much so that the game’s name isn’t even consistent between promotional material and the final product). If we were simply given more time to complete levels, many of the game’s issues could be looked past as you’d still be able to finish each. As it stands however, this is one time you’ll want to let Mother Nature take care of herself.