Westworld Preview: A Flawed Simulation Game

Westworld Preview

The Basics

  • Name: Westworld
  • From: Warner Bros. Entertainment & Behaviour Interactive
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Price: Free with in app purchases

The Details

  • Installed size: 444 mb
  • Best played in short sessions
  • Some bugs experienced
  • Playable Offline: No

Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Westworld is a game based on HBO’s popular Westworld television series. The game lets players take control of a training simulation in which they manage their very own Westworld park. The goal is to satisfy the park’s guests by matching them with hosts that meet their needs and wants. That can mean matching a guest that’s looking to play cards with host that specializes in gambling.

Westworld gameplay
Players need to match the park’s guests with hosts that will satisfy their needs.

Players will need to collect a variety of hosts, as each host is only suitable for a few different tasks. If a host is unsuitable for the task, a guest might decide to shoot that host at the end of a session. Worry not, hosts can be repaired and rebuilt if damaged. To grow the roster of hosts players will need to create them from host codes. There are a variety of codes available in the game, and some can be purchased with premium currency. The host received is randomly selected based on the codes used, and the odds of getting higher quality hosts are available in game for an appreciated touch of transparency. Each host can be leveled up, evolved, and equipped with new items in order to increase their effectiveness. Powering up a host can be done in one of the game’s underground facilities by using other hosts as materials.

At the moment the game has an extremely limiting host roster cap that will surely irritate players once they get past a certain point. Unfortunately the cap cannot be increased, meaning players will need to sacrifice their hosts in order to clear roster spots for new creations.

The actual gameplay of Westworld comes down to something that will be familiar to many mobile gamers: timers and time management. Each time you assign a host to a guest a timer starts to tick down to the point where the host’s job is done and rewards can be collected. That can be a few minutes or it could be significantly longer depending on the task. The core of the game comes down to checking into the game periodically to collect rewards and begin the process all over again.

Westworld gameplay
The first and biggest of Westworld’s four locations.

Of course beyond the timers there are buildings to upgrade, new locations to unlock, resources to gather and even AI interviews to conduct. Most of these come down to nothing more than having the required amount of resources and waiting until an upgrade, project, or other task is completed. The interviews are different. Three times per day players can choose to interview their hosts, asking them questions about a variety of subjects in order to see what makes their AI brains tick. The process plays out in a Reigns-like mini game where players select one of four options that will have a certain impact on the host. After each interview players are rewarded with host codes based on their performance.

Westworld runs into the same problem as many time management titles. Like Fallout Shelter, it lacks a driving force to keep players going. There are no stories to follow along with, no way of competing with other players beyond the occasional event, and nothing meaningful to strive towards. There are simply timers, a few buildings spread across four locations and in app purchases. To make things worse, the game’s roster limitations, host breakdowns, and occasional bugs take away from an already flawed experience. If you’re a fan of Westworld, give this game a try. You will likely walk away from the experience feeling disappointed, but it still gives fans a different look at the Westworld universe.

Westworld is free to play and contains in app purchases. Pre-registration is available on the game’s official website and Google Play. An early access version of the game is already available in select regions.