Wild West Story reaches for the sky with great match-3 and town building action.
The story of Calamity Jane tells of a passionate figure who showed kindness towards the needy, and hostility towards those who threatened her people. Wild West Story: The Beginnings alters the story for its own match-3 gaming needs, showing Jane as an outcast who builds up a ghost town into a bustling place of interest.
Wild West Story is charming and enjoyable, which exciting match-3 action that provides enough variety to keep the gold flowing for many hours. It doesn’t exactly do anything we haven’t already seen, but it oozes style and flair, with city building and hidden object puzzles thrown in to keep us entertained.
Bella Jane is an ordinary girl from Louisiana, until the day her father is shot dead during a robbery. Soon afterwards, her mother dies too, and Bella is left to run away to the west, seeking a place to hide away. On the brink of death, a young boy called Coyote Cub comes to her rescue, and the two set off to create their own little paradise in an abandoned town.
Over 100 levels, you are tasked with helping our heroine mine gold, harvest wood and collect food, while also reaching each exit. Resources are displayed as symbols in a grid, and matching three symbols of a certain type will add that resource to your collection. Symbols must also be matched to help Jane push forward, and to power up special abilities.
Progression is a great feeling, as you’ll find symbols constantly comboing off your matches, and Jane making her way through each mine as you match. Trying to balance collection of resources and clearing the path makes for some exciting play, and we found oursevles scouring the screen looking for useful matches, while also keeping an eye on the road ahead.
Bonus points are also awarded all over the place, depending on how you play. It’s not essential to destroy every wall in each mine, but the more you do remove, the higher your score at the end will be. Similiarly, the more matches you make in quick succession, the more power-ups you’ll earn, such as dynamite and your pickaxes – and these can lead to big scores too.
The secondary focus is on building up your town. Initially there’s no one around, but as you earn gold, wood and food and construct buildings, you’ll put in the crowds. There’s a great sense of personality, as your townsfolk wander around the screen, muttering about what they think you should build next and generally providing an air of excitement.
Although Wild West Story provides a great time, it also begins to feel a little samey towards the end. After 50 levels, nothing much really changes besides the difficulty increasing. Hidden object levels are thrown in every few rounds, but even these begin to grow stale. As mentioned before, the game also doesn’t do much that we haven’t already seen in past games, but there’s no doubt that the polish factor is there.
Wild West Story: The Beginnings is perfect for match-3 fanatics, and the story of Bella and Coyote Cub is a charming little tale. Those who are interested can grab a copy of the demo to try before they buy.