The Golden Years: Way Out West Review

By , on September 4, 2012

The Golden Years: Way Out West
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Engaging touch based strategy.
  • Reminiscent of earlier iOS strategy titles like Sally's Spa.


  • Hokey voice acting.
  • The buildings and people are a little small for those with bad eyesight.


A fun management strategy title about setting up a town to mine for gold in the harsh untamed lands of the west. It takes a little while to get going but is highly addictive when it does.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Looking at the image of the Clint Eastwood-esque character with his bandanna, poncho, and cowboy hat on the app store, and seeing the game titled Way Out West, the last thing we were expecting was a resource management city building simulator. Told in flashback, this game is about building a town in the new frontier to harvest enough gold to pay off your husband's prison debt, with each level adding new elements to the gameplay, and having missions and time quotas to fill as well. It's been a while since we've played a management game of this type, so let's dive right in and see what it has to offer.

Usually the goals of a level will be harvesting a certain amount of material or building a certain amount of a building type. The main resources are gold, lumber, money, and population, although workers are an important resource as well. Workers create buildings, collect resources, and repair damages. They cost money to create. Money is created by taxing your population which live in wagons or houses (which can be upgraded and need constant repairs), or by building general stores or other places for your population to spend their weekly wealth. All your buildings need lumber to build, and some need gold (or at least you need gold to upgrade). These are collected in sawmills and gold mines, which create pick-ups on a regular basis for your workers, or you can spend resources to create a larger haul. Finally residential buildings have to have access to a water tower near-by, so placing your buildings has a strategic edge to it too.

This kind of inter-connected approach to the game design makes sure that the player is always keeping an eye on every facet of the town as they are headed towards the level's goals, and it keeps the pace moving as well as making for a very addictive experience. On top of this, there are rewards connected to completing a level with-in a certain amount of time, so not only do you have to watch all your resources, you're constantly thinking of the most efficient strategy to reach the end goal quickly.

All is not perfect however. While the gameplay is top notch, the presentation does drag it down somewhat. The buildings and workers are on quite a small scale, as they obviously wanted the levels to be viewable on one screen. This can mean mis-taps when you're trying to pick up resources, and for those with bad eyesight, it's frustrating. Also the voice acting can be quite atrocious, especially the delivery of the tutorial, which is quite a downgrade after the decent delivery of the intro.

For lovers of simple touch management sims, Way Out West is a great entry in the genre. Presentation issues not-withstanding, the way the game is designed to make the quantity of each resource important lends itself to highly addictive play for genre veterans and newcomers. A strategy experience that is easy to recommend.


Screenshot 1 of 5 Screenshot 2 of 5 Screenshot 3 of 5 Screenshot 4 of 5 Screenshot 5 of 5