If you've ever been to an amusement park then you know that queueing up is as much a part of the experience as buckling into the rides.
Figuring out which rides have the shortest queues is a game of sorts: of course, it's no fun because you're just standing around waiting. There is a slow build up of anticipation but you wait hours for a ride, only to queue up again for the next.
We Rule feels much the same, its slow-moving gameplay requiring an investment of time that's far more significant than the reward.
So while polished presentation and clever use of social features make it an interesting concept, as a game We Rule is about as exhilarating as queueing up for three hours to ride "it's a small world".Farm-opolis
Still, it's hard to think ill of the game when it looks as adorable as Disneyland's famous attraction.
As ruler of your own personal kingdom, you're charged with raising a strong society by planting crops, building structures such as houses and commercial stores, and forging friendly connections with neighbouring domains. Naturally, money is what makes your little world go round.
Generating income for new buildings and services requires harvesting crops. You begin by sowing corn: it's free to plant, but nets you only a small amount of money. Saving up gold allows you to purchase more lucrative agriculture or more farms to generate large yields.
Successful harvests earn you both cash and experience, of which the latter goes toward raising your kingdom's level. Each level acquired unlocks new crops, buildings, and other upgrades such as expansions for your castle or more land.What's this queue for?
It sounds good until you discover the game lacks a compelling incentive structure: in other words, the motivation for investing time into We Rule is slight.
Following the brief tutorial, you're left to your own devices. Hand-holding isn't necessary here, but supplying objectives or missions would give the game some direction. We Rule assumes that you're content levelling up your kingdom and working toward the nebulous goal of having the biggest castle on the block.
Perhaps that would be enough motivation if the pace wasn't so slow. Crops grow in real time with the amount posted until harvest appearing with a tap. Corn takes a few short moments, but any of the worthwhile cash crops demand hours and even days. This results in an immense amount of time spent waiting, rather than actually playing.Cash crops
Lavishing a crop with mojo, a special currency that eliminates the wait, speeds things up. Unfortunately, you're granted only a limited supply and must pay to acquire more. It's optional, though, and doesn't exactly impinge on gameplay when you consider that not buying mojo won't prevent you from progressing - it will just take you longer.
Yet herein lies the problem: the long wait time for crops encourages the purchase of mojo, but there's no reason to rush because the incentives are not strong enough to feel rewarding.
The issue isn't about paying for mojo: it's about the game's hollow structure. It never feels like you're doing much, and so often doesn't feel like a full game.
Much like waiting hours for that amusement park ride, you're underwhelmed when it's over. Even when you pay to skip the line, you're left feeling like it wasn't worth it.Socialite
Better social networking could displace such triviality, yet We Rule doesn't meet baseline expectations.
Communication features are sorely lacking. The inability to send messages to other players is an oversight, not to mention the inability to trade crops and other goods.
You can use other players' facilities to produce items for your kingdom, but this doesn't result in any ties that bind you together. Allowing an advanced player to shadow a newcomer could really liven up the experience.
Worst still, the persistent nature of the game means that crops can spoil. Allowing friends to harvest crops for you (much like a pal can care for your puppy in Touch Pets: Dogs) could eliminate this frustration. Life happens and I can't always be obsessively checking my device, even with the neat addition of push notification alerts.
Finally, server issues have resulted in many of my actions going unsaved. While I expect this to be addressed as ngmoco and developer Newtoy continue to toil away at the issue, it's aggravating to return to your kingdom and discover the upgrades, crops, and buildings you just commissioned aren't there.
Server problems will be fixed and new features are sure to be introduced, but the question to be asked is whether We Rule can grow into a more compelling experience?
Certainly the potential is there, but at the moment, this is one ride lacking in excitement.
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