Westward Review (by Gamezebo)
Forget everything you know about how the west was won. In Westward, it's up to you to decide the fate of brave settlers as you set up camp, harvest resources from the ground and eventually build a thriving community that will attract other passersby.
So if you're bored of the countless gem-swapping puzzlers out there in cyberspace and want to try on a tougher strategy game,Westward is for you.
And dagnabbit, it's one helluva good time.
The core game-play will be familiar to those who've dabbled in real-time strategy (RTS) games, where you must control your characters from an angled top-down perspective, build structures and complete missions to advance to the next stage. (Unlike turn-based strategy games, such as Chess or the Civilization computer games, RTS means you don't have time to stop and think out a next move as everything happens in real-time, which adds to the excitement.)
After the lengthy tutorial, players will be familiar with the game mechanics, which includes scouring the area to collect wood, mine gold and harvest food. You must build houses and camps to accommodate your growing population, while lumberyards, gold mines and farms can help speed up your resource collection. You can also set up trading posts to buy, sell and trade resources with others.
Without giving much away, the story surrounds a handful of frontiers who were all duped by a Russian con artist (a k a, "The Mad Russian"). Not only were many people sold the same piece of land, but it also proved to be dry patch of desert instead of a fertile spot. Players will take on various missions while wading through this fun and light-hearted tale of early Americans in search of happiness and prosperity. For example, at one point you build a saloon to keep your residents from leaving town (after all, they want some fun after work), but doing so requires a certain amount of wood and gold to complete -- not to mention townfolk required to construct the dang thing. Once it's built, there's good news and bad news: the good news is you can then hire gunslingers who can take care of the bandits who will appear in your town and begin to destroy buildings. But the bad news is some of your productive workers turn to the bottle, so you must deal with ye old town drunks, too.
Eventually you can build a general store, which lets you buy items needed to solve other issues, plus you must make it through natural disasters such as drought, deal with desertion, and explore your surroundings to make sure you have enough food, gold and wood to sustain your growth.
Controlling your cast of characters is as easy as clicking and dragging them from one spot to the next (a lasso appears when you drag the mouse around more than one person). Structures you can build will be at the bottom of the screen; clicking on an item -- such as a well or water tower (to help fuel farms) or outhouses (to prevent plague) - tells you how much it'll cost in resources to build. Also lined along the bottom of the screen is your mission list, a mini-map (for a larger view), compass, and more.
Aside from the deep and addictive game-play, two of Westward's greatest strengths lie in the high-production values and in the clever writing. With the former, the graphics, sound effects, music and speech is on par with $50 computer games you'd buy on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, plus it never deviates from the western theme. The writing is also quite funny, be it some of the characters you'll meet (Harris Pilton, a hotel mogul!), funny dialogue (Esmerelda Fitzsimmons says "I just can't get good tiramisu around here!") or the silly advice when a level loads up ("There is northing more dangerous than a bear holding a shark" or "Saloons are a great place to kick back or get kicked in the back").
By the numbers, Westward offers up to 30 hours of single-player game-play, spread out over 20 increasingly challenging levels. Players have access to more than 10 playable main characters (and dozens of secondary ones) and more than 25 unique buildings to create to support your growth.
Westward isn't perfect, however. For one, many real-time strategy games let you zoom in and out of the map so you can get a better look at the action, but in Westward, it's a fixed camera, so I often had to use the mouse to push the edges of the screen to move the camera to another area. Another issue is you cannot speed up the action if you're simply waiting to complete a scenario, such as collecting 1000 Gold to pay off a debt. Finally, the game has a few minor bugs such as four or five people getting stuck together in the same spot (they can't move and you can't click on one of them) and some "pathing" A.I. issues, such as characters that take an odd route around an obstacle (such as a canyon).
Overall, however, Sandlot Games' Westward is a fun and fresh western-themed strategy game that is difficult to put down. Its high-production values and clever writing also help make it one of the more polished and interesting adventures to mosey our way in a long while. Be sure to lasso this one.
Westward Review (by Gamemile)
For «mature» players who need more than an easy little game to pick, play and drop, we've got something that is... well not very brand-new and hot, but the game that has been in the top downloads lists at many portals on the net.
Westward, by Sandlot games, fathers of Super Granny, TradeWinds Legends and other funny games featuring serious quality was released in November 2006. It is a simulation, or strategy game just like Virtual Villagers, Kudos, and Fish Tycoon.
The point of it is to feel yourself in the shoes of the first settlers and found your own town, decorate and maintain it in a proper condition.
Your task list will include a lot of functions such as:
- building new homes and repairing old buildings;
- finding wells, golden veins;
- building farms, lumber camps, recruiting settlers;
- taking care of settlers and satisfying their need for accommodation, food, health and job
- keeping bandits away from the town, haunting and defeating them. It is to mention, sometimes you'll have to do a lot of restoration work after a crew has some fun in your town.
What do you need to play Westward? Time...it'll take you at least one hour to get used to your new role as a master of the settlement in the wild west. And of course, you'll need an ability to read; ). Prepare to read a lot. You'll get the instructions from your Tutorial teacher and plus, you'll have to read what other characters will have to say in the process of the game. So, if you're full of patience and willingness to create and grow something great go Westward!
Westward gameGame interface is user friendly and helps you get the information about the current stage of your affairs.
It displays information about the level of your food, water supply as well as the supply of wood and gold.
At the bottom of the playfield you'll see a toolbar indicating your tool kit as well as a number of buildings to construct.
The basic actions you need to take to advance through the game are:
1) Drag the characters to a desired destination.
2) Drag and point your mouse around several characters and drag one of them to spread the lasso and be able to move several characters together(berry bush, bank, camp, farm etc. ).
3) In order to construct a building, pick it out of the number of buildings and click on it. Then, click on a toolkit and construction will begin.
According to Gamezebo, Westward has 30 hours of single-player game play, spread out over 20 levels. Plus, you can decide on a destiny of 10 characters. By the way, switching between them is extremely easy. You just have to click with your mouse on the toolbar with the character info at the bottom of the playfield.
As a usual simulator, Westward is rather easy to play and does not require much of your computer. But as for me, the only drawback here is that the game is a bit slow. So, I wish there were an ability to speed up the game and characters.
Modem (56K): 59 min
ISDN: 26 min
DSL: 3 min