Kiwi Inc. may be a young company, but its games have already been numbered among the Top 100 Grossing applications on Google Play. This week, the company attempts to crack the Top 100 list once again with western-themed social sim, Westbound. This FarmVille-like mobile title features everything we've come to expect from town-building games; unfortunately, it does nothing to advance them.
Westbound begins without preamble, and immediately upon starting, you're whisked away to a desert location where you find a guy trapped under a wagon wheel. You let him out, and he asks for help exploring the nearby cliffs. You go along with the idea (because if you don't, the game's over), and the two of you find a pretty lady trapped under some rubble. You help her out (while wondering if everyone out West just stands around waiting for something to fall on them), and then the three of you set about constructing a settlement.
This all sounds fairly dynamic, but like everything in this kind of game, it's all accomplished by the repetition of two things: clicking and waiting. Westbound teaches you this click/wait technique in a brief tutorial that demonstrates building structures, planting and harvesting fields, removing random debris, and exploring the surrounding cliffs. It then introduces you to quests, which are simple assignments given to you by the main characters. You might, for instance, be asked to perform some kind of settlement-expanding task like “plant two apple trees” or “build a barn.” While not particularly thrilling, these tasks do move the game along by giving you specific things to do. Once they dry up however, you're faced with a choice: extend your play time by spending money every few minutes, or stop playing altogether. Read more »