Wildlings has received an update that improves a few of the game’s mechanics, aiding the overall flow and giving a welcome increase to the difficulty. They also made the game free, but the way they did it doesn’t sit too well with us.
In return for making the game free, they give players a new minigame before every level, wherein you spin a wheel to get power-ups that used to be free. Each spin of the wheel requires you to spend a gem, and after you burn through the five given to you, you can either wait until one appears in a level (which is rare), wait until you fill up the sun bar (which takes several levels), or reach into your wallet and buy more.
The problem is that these power-ups only last for one level– even if you don’t use them– and with the increased difficulty, they are even more necessary. We still advise caution before playing, although for slightly different reasons now.
In our three years of immersing ourselves in the App Store, we have happily watched games progress in quality. This progression has been led by well-polished games with great art, gameplay, and innovation, which we have praised accordingly. So it isn’t hard to imagine our disappointment when we found a game that raised our hopes with a terrific graphical style only to crush them with completely underwhelming gameplay.
Wildlings takes place on a series of islands that, for reasons unknown us, have become overrun with monsters. Not just any monsters, but baby-snatching monsters who, incidentally, happen to be pretty cute. They are not, however, as adorable as the babies you are tasked to defend, or even their protectors, whom you control. And again, the graphics and animation are great.
Take that! And that!
Unfortunately, the gameplay is not impressive in any way. The game puts you in command of between one and three Wildling protectors; your task is to direct them to attack encroaching monsters. This is done by tapping on the ground where you want them to move and attack any approaching foes, or by tapping on the enemy you want to destroy. There is no way to reliably command individual protectors, however, besides tapping close to one of them, which leads to a lot of confused commands and tactics rendered useless.
As you play, you collect sun points that you can use to perform special attacks. These attacks come in a variety of flavors, but the islands themselves are very formulaic, and we quickly grew tired of them. The three islands have fifteen levels apiece, and each level rewards you with up to three stars and any sun points you have left over.
The worst part about the formulaic and repetitive gameplay is the low difficulty. The vast majority of the levels are not difficult at all, which makes the repetition more noticeable. In fact, the only difficulties we had arose from the confusion caused by the clunky game mechanic. Wildlings is very polished in appearance, but being pretty on the outside doesn’t mean greatness on the inside. Use caution.