Sweetest Thing – Wii U

From Joindots, one of the most prolific eShop publishers, Sweetest Thing is a peculiar resource management game. Nasty ants have destroyed the candy kingdom and it’s your job to rebuild it and chase out the bad guys from the game’s 41 levels.

The general idea of Sweetest Thing is for you to collect resources in order to fix buildings or take care of obstacles in your path. While each world of the candy kingdom has different resources to collect, they are all essentially the same. Whichever world you’re in, there are three different resources. The first world has sugar, jelly cubes and candy canes, and while the items are changed in later worlds, they do exactly the same thing.

You can collect a few resources from the ground, which you will do initially, but in each level there are mines for each of the separate resources which you can repair (using the resources you already have), giving you timed respawns of a particular confectionary. These must be your first priority as you go through resources rather quickly, whether repairing a bridge, destroying rocks, upgrading buildings or chasing away ants.

To make your life easier you’ll want to upgrade your starting base and maybe the mines if you have enough free resources. Upgrading your starting base gives you an extra worker to send out and perform tasks, it can be upgraded only twice though for a total of three workers at your disposal. I found this to be the most useful upgrade just because it makes the whole process that much quicker.

While the game is rather harmless, it does seem a little mundane. There is very little strategy involved in the decision making of which paths to take, because you’ll always end up heading straight for the mines. Yes, as you progress further into the game, it does become possible to fail a level by using all your resources without having access to more, meaning you need to restart, but that’s not really a big step back. The only other urgency in the game is a timer. As soon as you begin the level a timer will count down on the left hand side of the screen, the faster you complete the level, the better the rating you will get out of three stars. To be honest, the only time I failed the level due to time was before I realised it was there. While you may be a little pressed to get the full three stars in some levels, failing it is unlikely.

You also have access to short-term power ups. Most levels have three set power ups that can be used after waiting for them to charge up. There is a small variety but by far the most useful is the freezing time one, which I’m almost positive is broken. In what would assume would freeze the timer for a short period, actually freezes it for the whole level, making a three-star level run almost impossible to fail at. Other power ups include faster workers, an extra worker and increased resources, all for a very short time period.

Since all the controls are through the touch screen, you’ll be squinting at the gamepad almost all of the time. Due to the graphical style and the assets being so small, it can be quite difficult to see what’s what, even on the TV. It’s often unclear what’s interactive or not, especially at the beginning. In combination with that, The HUD that surrounds the screen with information can often obscure things behind it, hiding important buildings or resources from you.

There are hidden collectables in each of the games 41 levels. Despite each game level being only one screen wide, it can be rather difficult spotting them in the often overly busy screen. Like a hidden object game, finding them is probably the most difficult aspect of Sweetest Thing.

The presentation is pretty awful. As stated, graphically it’s rather unappealing. There’s nothing interesting about how it looks, in fact, it’s off-putting how unexciting and lifeless it is. It doesn’t help that the graphics have been stretched beyond what it was originally designed for, and so the poor resolution shows horribly. It doesn’t invite you to play. The sound design is also all over the place with very little music and annoying sound effects coming from them gamepad screen. It’s a cheap game, there’s no doubt about that.

Overall I think maybe a younger audience can find some value in Sweetest Thing, but personally, it just wasn’t fun playing. There was no satisfaction when going through the motions of the gameplay. It was mindless despite the supposed strategy in choosing where to spend your resources. I never really felt compelled to play Sweetest Thing with it’s unappealing presentation and dull, if rather harmless gameplay.

Good points

– A decent amount of content

Bad points

– Awful presentation

– Dull gameplay

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