By Mairie "Mary Appins" Heijnen on July 11, 2018
Let me rewrite this introduction really quick just before sending in my review. My sincerest apologies for handing in this review too late this month. I know all of you are waiting for my next review each first Wednesday of the month like it is Christmas morning. I was on holiday and sadly didn't have access to WIFI... yes, these places still exist. So that is why my review is a bit later than usual.
Disclaimer before I start writing: I haven't watched the series Westworld (yet). I was planning on doing so, but another lovely series got in the way. Okay, two lovely series, to be honest. Now, I know we are a game review site and do not usually deal with TV series, but just a tip: go and watch La Casa De Papel (with subtitles unless you speak Spanish).
Okay! So, on to the app game. Without any knowledge about the story line of the TV series with the same name, I downloaded and installed the app. When I opened it for the first time my immediate reaction was "Cool! A game like Fallout The Vault". But no, the only thing similar to that game is the look of the part of the screen that is underground, the rest is very different to say the least...
The screen is split into two parts. Okay, not really split, but it consist of two "playing" areas. One above ground where the Westworld is actually located and one below ground where all the behind the scenes stuff is taking place. As I said, I don't know the show so this is a complete assumption based on the game. As far as I can see/feel, Westworld is a place (let's call it a "Theme Park") where people go to and get to play Cowboy/Cowgirl. This means they get to do all the things one sees in the good old (and new) Western movies, ranging from robbing a bank to getting lucky (in different ways) at the Saloon.
Contrary to game like, for example, Rollercoaster Tycoon, the people working at the park aren't really people but robots. Or, better said, sentient artificial intelligence androids called Hosts. Now, these Hosts all have their own specialization within the theme park; some have multiple tasks, like Teddy. Oh, I love Teddy; he comes in really handy on many occasions. I would love to have more Teddy's, but I just can't figure out how to make them. Yes, you can and must make/create/produce additional Hosts as your park grows, which is done in the underground area of the park. To make hosts, you need codes. Most of these codes are randomly generated but there are also specific codes for specific hosts which you will obtain over time. But I just haven't been able to figure out how I can obtain the specific codes I need to fully and correctly satisfy some of the guests. Yes, just like every Theme park has guests, so does Westworld. And, like guests all over the world, they have needs that have to be satisfied. This is done by letting Hosts interact with them.
Some guests may want to rob a bank or want to be in a real live jail break, while others want to get "lucky" at the saloon, which can mean two things. And to make sure your guests have the best experience possible while also having the feeling that all of this is real, you need to assign them a host who is trained in the theatrical play the guests want to participate in. And not all of them can fulfil all roles, except Teddy (and Lawrence), so this means that you'll need a wide selection of hosts, each with different abilities.
The game is basically a theme park management exercise; build hosts for a certain task and make sure all the guests (which arrive by train) are kept happy. Besides making sure your visitors have the best experience by assigning them the right Hosts, you must also make sure you have enough different experiences for them to choose from. This basically means that you'll have to build different "rides" for the guest. Now, these are not your typical Theme Park rides, no sir! Instead, these "rides" are the typical buildings you see in as old time western village. Each of these buildings have their own theatrical plays imbedded in them, resulting in a different experience for your customers to enjoy.
Okay, lets me round things up with a general over view of the game and a bit more information on how to play it. Above ground, you have the saloon, bank, jail, etcetera. In short, every building you choose to build in your ever-growing western town. By double clicking on these buildings, you can actually enter them. When you are inside a certain building, you'll see guests that must be satisfied (and yes, in the saloon this might be in a very literal sense). By clicking on the guest you can link them to one of your Hosts. Be careful when selecting the appropriate host and make sure you pick the right one for the job! The host's abilities, experience but also their hat colour matter.
You really need to check if the "level" of the guest and the Hosts match. This is easily visualized in the game by a number that has a colour, ranging from dark red (not good) to green (good). If the level of the host is too low (red), they won't be able to fulfil the wishes of the guest and might be killed (yes killed) if the guest isn't fully satisfied. Thankfully, quite early in the game you'll receive a section to place in the underground portion of the game where your hosts can be repaired. So, if something terrible happens to one of your hosts, just send them there for rebuilding. The easier thing to do is just making sure nothing terrible happens by assigning the right host to the right guest. When the guest is satisfied you will get rewards, which are the basics that more than half the games on this planet revolve around: money and XP. If you are lucky, you might even receive some hosts codes so you can build new hosts.
In general, Westworld is a building game in which you must expand your park as well as your selection of hosts. Always make sure the guests are happy, especially the VIP guests, who are more difficult to please compared to the normal ones. Just compare it to a shooter, where you have lots of "normal enemies" but, once in a while, a boss character appears. The VIP guests are a bit like that. Harder to please, but when you do, they usually yield better rewards!
Right, that's it for me this month! Now, I'm going right back to relaxing on the beach and enjoying my vacation. And, of course, continue playing Westworld every now and again. It is a nice app game which, I guess, gets even better once you know the series. So, that's another thing to add to my To-Do-list. Now, if only I had spare time... Oh well, I wish you all a nice summer vacation and hope to see you all again next month!