Overview

We Rule is finally live for the entire world, and after our sneak peek, it’s time for a full review. At the most basic level We Rule is a kingdom building sim with Farmville elements. Your kingdom has humble beginnings where you start to plant crops, earn coins, and then on to constructing buildings.

The main aspect of the game is the social connectivity allowing you to visit your Plus+ friends kingdoms. As everyone’s kingdoms advance you build shops that are open for business for your friends to come and place orders. Every action earns XP which you keep leveling up which unlocks bigger kingdoms, new buildings, and more crops. Find out if you should pay any money in Ngmoco’s newest Freemium game.

Features

To begin with there are twenty types of crops, and you unlock most of them as you level up your XP. Fifty types of structures are included ranging from roads, signs, and trees to tailors, wizard’s tower, and dragon’s lair. The main businesses include the tailor, schoolhouse, mining camp, lumber mill, windmill, guild hall, wizard’s tower, bakery, butcher shop, stables, watch tower, tavern, candlestick shop, magic emporium, griffin’s nest, and dragon’s lair.

A magical ingredient in your We Rule universe is known as Mojo which speeds up the growth time of plants, and work schedule of shops to mere seconds. This is the in-app purchase that the free game relies upon with six different sizes to buy either five for $0.99, 30 for $4.99, 75 for $9.99, 165 for $19.99, 300 for $29.99, or 800 for $49.99.

When you launch the game you boot into a friend kingdom view which is a scrollable map to view all of your friends’ kingdoms. You can jump into yours or see which of your friends has the “We’re Open” sign so you can place an order with them. Plus+ is also used in the basic way of online high scores and achievements with an experience point table, and 19 achievements.

The Good

We Rule is an experience like none other in the App Store that has you start from humble beginnings, and work your way up building an entire kingdom from simple crops and businesses. The crop building is such a small aspect of the game, but is done well so that it’s just a tap to plant, and tap to harvest in a limited number of farms.

The game is mostly a sim building game closer to Sim City than Farmville which is definitely a good thing. You could call this game Sim Kingdom as you construct all types of shops, and then are able to redesign everything, finding places for all of the items in your kingdom. Add roads, moats, and decorative items to truly customize your kingdom, and then check your friends’ kingdoms for ideas.

The leveling up of experience points couldn’t feel like less of a chore than how it feels in We Rule. You’ll always want to level up to unlock new crops, and new items in the shop to put in your kingdom. You’ll soon unlock all kinds of shops which will only having you wanting bigger ones that earn more XP. Ultimately you’re striving to increase the size of your castle from keep to citadel and be able to build the Griffin’s Nest and Dragon’s Lair which feels like such an accomplishment.

We Rule isn’t a game you sit in for hours on end, but rather a game you pop in for a few minutes a few times a day. You just launch the app, harvest your crops, accept and deliver different orders, and maybe place a couple orders at friends’ kingdoms. Once you begin you’ll want to fully upgrade your kingdom to Citadel which will take at least three weeks if you go the free route, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

What truly makes the game, are the customizable push notifications which allows you to turn on or off a push notifying you when crops are ready, or when a shop has completed an order. It’s perfect for when you are using another app, or doing something else, and a push pops up saying your strawberries are ready to harvest. You then just jump into the app, harvest them, plant some new ones and jump out.

The game is beautifully designed with some of the best production values ever seen on the iPhone. Everything is exploding with detail from each of your villagers to all of the buildings. It’s great to redesign this beautiful kingdom organizing everything, and making it look like a real kingdom.

The normal animations of all your villagers hustling and bustling about is great to see as the random clouds float overhead. The included soundtrack is perfect for the kingdom theme which sounds like it’s straight out of a medieval movie. Then there are all the sound effects with each type of villager making a different salutation when you tap on them.

Maybe the best aspect of We Rule is that it’s completely free, and you can make it to level 20 without spending one cent, as I have done just that. If you’re patient your kingdom will grow just fine, and there are never any periods where you don’t earn XP if you don’t pay money, you’ll just earn it faster if you do. On each level up you earn eight more mojo, so you still have some to use.

Eliminate and Touch Pets were too strict as you couldn’t earn credits or play with your dog if you ran out of energy. We Rule is on the opposite end of the spectrum as it’s too lenient so you never feel the urge to pay. This is definitely good for consumers as you can enjoy this outstanding game without ever paying money.

The Bad

The in-app purchases are still consumption based so you can keep spending money, and never outright own the game which is a negative. Leveling up through the early levels is pretty quick, and you’ll think you’ll never want to buy any mojo. Then once you get past level 15, and are fully invested in the game the leveling slows down quite a bit, and you’ll have more of an urge to buy some mojo, so be warned.

The game can be heavily reliant on push notifications, but they’re not perfect yet. The biggest thing is that there is no sound so if you’e not looking at your iPhone then you won’t see it, and if you get another push before you look at your iPhone again you’ll never see the push. As stated above you can customize some pushes, but you can’t turn off the pushes of receiving new orders which soon become spam when you have a number of shops so you’ll soon ignore them all, and miss the good ones.

Maybe the biggest complaint though, is the load times. It’s understandable with all of the information they’re loading with all your friends’ kingdoms, but it seems most of the time in the app will be seeing the loading screen. The game is perfect to jump in during the few spare minutes in your day, but load times quickly eat away at those few spare minutes.

The servers have had problems since worldwide launch, but they’re better now. Though your friend kingdom list changes, and after creating a nice business relationship with some, they’re now gone which is disappointing. For iPod Touch owners just to note the game requires a constant internet connection so make sure you’re on wifi before launching the game.

One feature that could be included is a grid overlay view so you can place buildings more precisely. When ordering from friends you only go to the one’s with an open sign, but that still appears when a friend is constructing a new building though you’re unable to place an order.

You could buy a lot of mojo, and blast through the game, but that still takes away some of that feel of truly constructing a kingdom over time which the free aspect creates so well. The increments of in-app purchases are ridiculous with ones up to $49.99? Seriously they should just have $1 increments from $0.99 to $9.99, and if you pay $9.99 you can unlock some full aspect of the game, and even remove the ads.

The Verdict

We Rule is an amazing experience no matter what platform it would be on, and is even more of a stand out by being on the iPhone. This is a full on kingdom sim that isn’t watered down in the slightest, and has some of the best production values seen in the App Store. This may be the first game that is truly dock worthy since you’ll use it so frequently, and enjoy every minute of it.

The best part is you can enjoy We Rule to the fullest without every paying any real money, and yet it will still give you one of the highest replay factors around. We Rule is an absolute must for free so download it today if you still haven’t. The game is recommended even spending up to $9.99 as this game would have no problem charging $9.99 for the full experience.