Awkward Times in the Wild West
Not to be confused with the Korean game of the same name, Wild Frontier is 37Games‘ newest awkward mobile game. Leading a group of 19th-century settlers, you are tasked with building and defending your new town. What makes things easier is that you don’t fight, your troops fight for you. But it’s not all work and no play; stop in the saloon to woo different women when you need a break. Though there’s a lot to do, the game lags in certain areas and is inconvenient in others. Some of the hiccups can be forgiven since it’s a newer game, but fans can only be patient for so long.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Flirtin’ Cowboys
Upon arriving at your new settlement, you must immediately defend it from a gang of outlaws. Well, the game does, otherwise you’d be dropped in without knowing what to do. To make your settlement thrive, you need people to defend it and people to run it. Train an army of Young Guns, Highwaymen, even Lumberjacks at different camps like Cavalry and Pistoleer to increase your combat power. Make sure a hospital is nearby because even game characters aren’t invincible. Keep your settlement fed by placing farms and upgrade your buildings with wood camps. You can also earn food and wood by sending out troops and complete quests and achievements. Using these resource systems, you’ll earn so much so that it’s unlikely you’ll ever run out.
When you’re not busy running the settlement, you have the option of flirting with different women. Wild Frontier gets creative with this, as flirting goes beyond simply tapping the girls. Increase their affection by playing a card game: spend a rose, watch three cards shuffle, then tap the one you think is the Joker to get the most affection points. You’re not just flirting for your benefit; you’re also flirting for your people. Reaching certain affection milestones earns you rewards for your troops to increase their fighting ability. You can also buy the girls gifts, unlock outfits and even change their names if you don’t like their defaults. It’s nice to see developers not leave their female characters hanging.
Before the game begins, you’re introduced to a beautiful 2D image of settlers on horseback. It reminded me of a mural, and I hope whoever drew it was well compensated. The game’s CGI isn’t bad either considering it’s on mobile. Whether your troops are training or marching, their movements are very fluid and believable. However, when it comes to the women you flirt with, the CGI increases in quality. They have their own movements unique to their character types, plus a range of colorful outfits that move organically with them. Giving voices to the women was an interesting choice. Not only are their voices distinct, they’re also soothing. Though they only have three phrases each, every line is delivered beautifully.
The Good, The Bad and The Awkward
Though Wild Frontier has in-app purchases, there’s not as much pressure to buy them as is with other mobile games. Since it’s easy to get food, wood, and even experience points, this game is easy on your wallet. But that isn’t to say it doesn’t have its problems. When characters are talking to each other, the dialogue comes off as unfinished and awkward. Words are missing or uncapitalized when they shouldn’t be, and I wonder if the writers weren’t given time to make final edits. Plus, you can only collect rewards one at a time, and if there are a lot, tapping meticulously gets old fast. There’s also significant lag time when collecting, which the game could do without.
Additionally, there’s no way to earn roses without paying for them. Some appear every day, but it’s unclear how. There’s a chance you earn a certain amount when you log in every day, but again, unclear. The game could benefit from an easier way of earning roses to flirt with the girls more often. Lastly, you can only upgrade two buildings at a time. When I try to upgrade a third, the game tells me I either need more people or to spend coins on extra help. This might be standard gameplay, but as you need quite a few buildings, it’s also frustrating. There should either be less required buildings or an option to upgrade three at a time.
“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle” – Winston Churchill
Overall, Wild Frontier is a graphically stunning Western packed with almost unlimited quests. Whether you’re improving your settlement, training your army or flirting with women, you will have a hard time putting this game down. There are a few awkward moments, but the developers have been very responsive to feedback, so it’s good to know they’re on top of things. Some fixes could easily earn the game a higher rating.
Is It Hardcore?
A lot of love went into this game and its graphics are a testament to that love. Pretty art can’t hide lagging, however.