Gaming

WickLands could do with more speed and depth

WickLands does have the potential to become an addictive wall climber if it sorts out its problems and other niggling issues.
WickLands does have the potential to become an addictive wall climber if it sorts out its problems and other niggling issues.PHOTO: POLYWICK STUDIOS

WickLands by Polywick Studio is a vertical climbing game, where your character races upwards through terrain while avoiding prickly obstacles.

It is in the same vein as mobile games like NinJump and Wall Cat Run, although its clean, silhouetted graphics look more refined.

The game mechanics are simple. You control two blobs - James and Jeremy - who by default travel in the middle of the screen.

If you tap the right side of the screen, the pair move right; if you tap left, the pair move left. If you tap both sides at once, the blobs split to either side. Players have to use these manoeuvres to evade obstacles that appear.

While the duo start off moving quite slowly, the game speeds up every 15 obstacles. There are three difficulty levels to the game, and each is unlocked by hitting level 80 in the previous stage.

WickLands has a simple, dark aesthetic, reminiscent of games such as Limbo and Badland. The overall feel of the game is evocative, with characters and obstacles taking the form of black profiles against downy backdrops.

However, while WickLands looks alluring, its gameplay is less than addictive.

  • 6/10

  • RATING

    PRICE: Free on iOS and Android

    GENRE: Mobile wall climber

The game starts off too slow to feel like a challenge, even at higher stages, and takes too long to kick into gear.

While mobile games should feel snappy and sharp, it feels like the first 30 seconds of each WickLands game are quite monotonous. It is only when you reach around level 50 that the game starts to pick up.

There are also no other elements to make gameplay more varied; no coins to collect and no power-ups to activate. After the first 10 to 15 runs, it feels like you have plumbed the depths of the app, and it does not have much more to offer.

There are also several more niggling issues with the app, such as odd menu symbols (the settings button is an "I"), and strange ad placement.

The ads kick in about a second after the level has started, which means that, after you close it, you are just a hair's breadth away from hurtling into the first obstacle.

While, in its current state, WickLands does not feel like a polished game, I think it has the potential to become an addictive wall climber if it sorts out its problems with pacing and variety.

But until these issues are fixed, I probably will not be spending much more time on the game.

•Verdict: WickLands has an alluring art style, but is let down by poor pacing and a lack of variety.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'WickLands could do with more speed and depth'. Print Edition | Subscribe