Fancy a bit of an adventure that takes you beyond the confines of your average mobile game? Westbound is a game for you mobile device that involves venturing way out west to manage your very own settlement. Usually when a train breaks down you simply wait for help, but on the way to Oregon your wagon does exactly that and with no provision for being rescued. The only thing to do in this situation is obvious: don't go to another state/city but bring the city life to you! Cue the building of a new life in your very own settlement over which you have complete control.
If you've played Farmville or any of the massively popular time-and-resource management simulators over the past few years then you'll know exactly what to expect from Westbound: Pioneer Adventure. The entire game is based around the premise of building, managing, and collecting. You must construct various buildings such as residences, entertainment, and resource-production centres, all with the purpose of establishing an equilibrium that you must use to build up your town from a mere settlement into a thriving town that's prosperous in terms of population numbers and also economically.
The gameplay itself is really quite typical of the management simulation genre: you simply have to build things, click things, and then do a whole lot of waiting because, well, it's still a game that contains in-app purchases, and what else are developers going to do to get you to hand over cash other than hold your precious time hostage? It's still a pleasant experience however: planting various crops, managing them, and keeping your population happy are again fairly standard for this type of game, but it's hugely enjoyable here, and borderline addictive (the game has between 5 and 10 million downloads on the Google Play store, after all).
In order to have access to much of the land that you will need for building on, you tap on rocks to turn the land over for use. This occasionally presents you with problems and occurrences that must be overcome in order to make your town prosperous and continue its growth. These occurrences are somewhat comparable to the natural disasters in Sim City, only they are actually incorporated into the storyline in Westbound, keeping things quite interesting in the long run.
One of the selling points of Westbound: Pioneer Adventrue is that you get to explore the surrounding canyon and unearth various goodies as you go. Though it doesn't really feel like venturing into the great unknown you are still asked to explore the areas at the perimeter of your settlement in order to complete objectives and discover various new items and places.
What musn't be forgotten about this game is that it is still just a click-and-wait game at heart. In fact, waiting makes up a majority of the action since you must build things, click on them to gather stars and coins, and then wait for different amounts of time until anything else can be done or the current action is completed. The "storylines" sort of act as distractions with the main characters engaging in some almost-interesting conflicts and activities, though never enough to actually make you think the developers, Kiwi Games http://www.kiwiup.com/, really wanted to base the game around the storyline and not just have it as an additional distraction to make people forget that the game can be fairly repetitive when it comes down to its core elements.
One of the more positive elements to take away from this game are the detailed graphics, which make the game look quite wonderful even with the zoomed-in nature of gameplay. The different characters in the game also have a great level of detail, allowing them to look great even when you're zoomed in on them.
Aside from the graphics however, the isn't all that much to find that is unique with this game, particularly when you look at the management simulator genre and see that this game isn't doing anything truly new. whatsoever: it's merely recycling older ideas and not really adding anything new to the mix besides a wild-west styling of what we've all seen before.
If you're after something that's a bit different, then there's really not that much to find here in Westbound: Pioneer Adventure. You would be better off looking at other creator games that have less time/money intensive styles. It's a shame really because Westbound: Pioneer Adventure can be quite addictive but there's just nothing to separate it from a genre that already has too many clones like this.
Bebop Rating: 6.3/10