The simplest way to venture into the Wild West.
The North American west in the 1800s was a rough time: settlers striking out across vast expanses of land to create new homes, resources always at a minimum, and some bossy person with a cursor always telling you what to do. Ok, so that last bit is exclusive to Big Bang West, a light-hearted simulation game that lets you build in the frontier one small town at a time. But the rest holds true!
Much like other time management and building games, Big Bang West puts you in charge of creating towns, one structure at a time. You start with a series of vacant lots and must construct houses, farms, ranches, lumber yards and sheriff’s offices to keep the town safe and prosperous. Each level has a specific goal to be met, usually involving reaching a population threshold, building certain structures, or upgrading things to a specific level. Do it all within a set number of days and you’ll earn the gold. And as everyone knows, people in the Wild West love gold!
Resources are your main concern in Big Bang West. Workers are necessary to build things, and the fewer you have, the longer it takes to win. Hiring them is a simple matter of spending some gold. Lumber and stone are basic components of most buildings and can either be purchased or obtained by setting up lumber mills and stone quarries. Money is the most difficult resource to come by, but it’s also the most important. Without it, nothing happens. Running low on funds means you have to sell something for some quick cash, otherwise you’ll be stuck waiting to collect rent.
Meeting your town’s goals isn’t always a straightforward affair. Some buildings can’t be placed until you’ve reached a certain “town level,” a number that increases as your city grows over time. This prevents quick and dirty shortcuts for meeting level goals, by forcing you to actually sit down and plan what to build and when to build it. It also cuts down on the franticness often associated with time management games, allowing you to focus on just one or two things at a time.
Expanding on the basics listed above, Big Bang West introduces random events such as theater troupes entering town or bandits hopping along to cause trouble. Side-quests and unlockable trophies also serve as diversions, but the vast majority of the game will be spent fiddling with resource menus and making sure you have enough farms to keep the population fed.
Big Bang West is very casual in nature, meaning it doesn’t bother itself with most of the complexities associated with building or simulation games. Your tasks are strictly confined to keeping track of resources and making sure you meet the set goals. It’s comforting not to have to run your cursor around the screen to get things done, but the game’s insistence upon keeping things simple does hurt the overall experience. There’s very little challenge, almost as if you’re just going through the motions, and clicking where you know you should click without the possibility of failure. Events and quests help relieve the monotony, but you won’t be able to shake the feeling that the game could have been a lot deeper than it is.
Despite dropping a few too many elements from its gameplay in the name of simplicity, Big Bang West pulls through as a good game. The artwork is fantastic, and very appropriate for the theme and setting. It manages to convey a sense of rustic hardship without losing its cartoonish appeal, which is a great balance to strike. If you’re in the mood for something that doesn’t require fast reflexes or intense thinking, Big Bang West just might be your diversion!