Wagons HO! – It’s time to saddle up, get provisions, and head west!

“Wagons HO!” is a game were you can travel to the west in 10 minutes or less.  It’s actually a game I had done the programming on (although the design was not mine).  At first I was a bit wary or reviewing this considering I had worked on it, so I might be a bit biased.  But I decided to let you know that I worked on it and not try to misrepresent myself.


The goal of the game is simple.  Try to get to the west without losing all your wagons in the process.  There are several sub-goals such as getting to the west with the most settlers, the most money, and the most food.  Basically the US is setup as a playfield of squares.  You move by clicking on a square.  Your wagons are represented by a wagon icon.  There is different types of terrain that have different turn costs.  All along the trail are icons representing good events, either trading, or just getting resources.  There are also some “settlements” and “indian trading posts” along the way, for you to trade for food, wagons, or whatever.  The trading posts are cheaper than the settlements but you have to actively search the indian icons for the trading posts.   Along the way you can run into bad events, including storms, illness, and what not, bad settlers, and bad indians.  You also have to ford a river.


In order to unlock the harder skill levels, you must unlock a number of territories as evidenced on the territories screen.  To do this you must do something such as reach the west with a certain amount of food, or a certain number of settlers, or gold.  To see how much you need to unlock the territories you must mouse over the lock icon in the territories screen.


All in all it’s a fairly fun game.  I believe we successfully got the “casual stategy” thing down quite well.  You have to make choices based on amount of turns a move takes, what bad events you run into, and what “good” icons you land on.  It took quite a long time to get the balance right, but I can’t take credit for that, I mostly did what I was supposed to and that was program and implement any changes needed.


The artwork was well done and to me invokes a sense of the old west.  The only thing lacking in the art was the tile art.  The company that did it, couldn’t fit it properly to the way I had programmed the terrain generation.  Part of it was probably my fault for doing something complex as I did.  If you want to know more about the development you can contact me, in any case let’s get on with the review.


The music is actually pretty good, and is done by a guy named Seth Freeman, he also maybe a bit unfortunately did our sound effects.  While the sound effects are adequate, I find that they lack a certain polish, I guess in the future we need to find someone that does sound effects, rather than just music.

The only issue with this game is that the game play is lacking somewhat in the replay value department.  While we did add unlockable skill levels, and bonuses based on territories unlocked, it doesn’t go much farther than that.  Originally this game was meant for cell-phones, and as such was designed around the premise that a player would only have about 10 minutes at the most to play.  So as such a single game is only about 10 minutes.  I think we succeded in making a short, but pleasant, diversion, but since this is a downloadable pc game, I think we should have added more things to unlock, and more tasks to complete.  In fact the lead designer wanted me to add some stuff, but because we were so close to finishing, and the fact I would have to have done some major rewrite, we didn’t end up adding that extra stuff that would have put this over the top.


Name: Wagons HO!

Final analysis: A good little diversion for Windows from IWin Games.

Price: $9.99

Where you can get it: IWin Games

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