Review of We Rule for iPhone: Farmville, But Not Really

Farmville.  The mere mention of the name can either whip people into a drooling frenzy of exitement and pure joy or a bloody, hateful, destructive rage.  Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, Farmville (playable on Facebook) is extremely popular and here to stay.  We Rule for iPhone aims to capitalize on this by creating its own social, micromanagement based game.  It's been featured on the App Store and is primed to be well-talked-about, for better or for worse.

What is We Rule?

At its core, We Rule is a simple, Sim City-esque farm and town micromanagement simulator.  Like SimFarm Lite, if you will.  You plan crops and harvest them later.  You build tailoring shops so other members can buy stuff from them.  You build up your experience and coin reserves so you can upgrade your town center, expand your territory, and create more stuff.

It's more than that - of course.  Various crops require different times to mature for harvest (i.e., 3 hours, 12 hours, 1 hour, and so on) and this happens in real time... whether you're playing or not.  The same goes for buildings you are creating, orders from other players that you are fulfilling, etc. 

But isn't that... boring?

Not really, actually.  I've quite enjoyed my time with We Rule.  It isn't trying to be an in-depth, massively multiplayer wonderland nor is it complex and involved like a true simulator.  Simply planting crops of your choice, harvesting them later, and hearing that nice little "cha-ching" as your coins and experience roll in is pretty addictive, and doesn't take a whole lot of your time.

How is it social?

This is the part I like most, actually.  Rather than alienating and/or annoying your Facebook friends with meaningless, silly updates on the new golden chicken you found, We Rule takes the social component to a minimum.  There is no in game chat or messaging service that I know of.  You simply add friends and they show up on your network of towns, enabling you to commission orders from their shops and simply peek in.  And that's about it.

Is We Rule for you?

Maybe.  Do you like mindless, simple resource gathering games?  Are you interested in being involved with other players but not diving headfirst into a full-blown MMO?  Do you like the concept of Farmville but dislike the game itself? Do you want a lot of gameplay for free? (You can pay extra to build your town faster if you wish.)

Then We Rule could be a fun title for you to pick up.  Expect to spend a few minutes per day prettying up your town, rearranging a few buildings, creating a new store, and planting/harvesting a few crops.  That's pretty fun in and of itself, and doesn't require a ton of time to enjoy.

Some caveats...

There are several things I do not like about We Rule.  First of all, it's pretty buggy.  Not all of the features (for example, commissioning things from other members' stores) work all the time.  Sometimes you can't even connect.

Second of all, it's kinda slow, especially if you have a 2G or 3G iPhone rather than a 3GS, or haven't rebooted your device in a while.

Third, it's overly simple.  It would be nice if they could add in some minigames to spice up the gameplay, add depth, and make it a bit more interesting.

Fourth, the game controls leave a bit to be desired.  Sometimes, you have to click multiple times just to get one farm harvested, or you click on something and an item you didn't want to activate activates anyway, causing "grrs" of frustration.  Re-arranging your town with the touchscreen ain't too easy, either!

Overall, regardless of the inevitable nits, We Rule is an entertaining, if not repetitive, town building and farming game that is best enjoyed in bite size pieces.  We Rule is available on the App Store for free (link.)


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