Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Graham0
Weather Lord: Graduation Review
Summary: A highly addictive great time management game.
Weather Lord: Graduation is an exceptionally addictive time management game, and the latest in the popular series.
As with most time management games this takes place over a series of single screens (60 here). They all start the same way, with your small caravan housing your two initial workers, and your avatar standing alongside. A number of paths are strewn across the screen, littered with obstacles and objectives – all of which need a-clickin’. You click the items nearest your caravan to send your loyal lackeys out to collect them, and these resources let you buy buildings – a mine, a farm and a sawmill – which make harvesting those resources much faster. That lets you clear further paths, and ultimately lets you complete the unique objectives of each level.
A lot of imagination’s gone into those objectives, with the increasingly absurb demands of a set of bored ghosts being my favourite. They’ll insist you build them dance halls, theatres and cinemas (big horror fans, I imagine). There’s a vague plot tying it all together, something about pirate rats and dragons, and honestly I skipped past the rather crudely-drawn and non-animated plot interludes to get to the next bout of addictive clicking.
The game rewards pretty much any level of play. There’s a constantly visible timer bar always ticking down, but there’s huge amounts of time to complete each level. If your fingers literally drop off due to excess clicking (honestly, there’s a lot of clicking, don’t discount the possibility) then you may fail, otherwise you’ll be breezing each level first time.
The challenge is to achieve that gold star rating every time. Things start off simply enough, and you can play at a relatively sedate pace and still get that gold, but later on you really need to be on the ball. You’re trying to prioritise spotting when the purple crystals and the gold have refilled, you want to click your food-gathering bonus just before you send your workers out to the farm, you’ve got to disarm wandering respawning menaces with your spells, you need to fix that bridge before you can progress, oh but that needs a drill, ah and that needs a battery, and that needs a crystal and oh no you’ve just used your last crystal sealing that ghost tomb, and… It’s frantic. Or it can be, if you’re after that gold – if not, you can play it at as sedate and relaxing pace as you wish.
Of course, so far, so familiar for fans of the genre. The quirk of the Weather Lord series is that you are, well, a Weather Lord. In practice this means you always have three spells available, and can drag these on to the screen to cast them. You need to replenish your farms and sawmills with rain, see off ghosts and other enemies that scare your workers, and resupply your mines with, uh, a tornado (yep, doesn’t make much sense to me either). Essentially it’s another thing to click.
The presentation is quite attractive, with nicely animated characters. It’s important in these games that the screen is easily readable – it should be clear which resources need clicking and which need replenishing, so your roving eyeballs can pick up all the information required. These games are all about entering a zen-like zone of focus where you more or less complete the levels in a blur of auto-piloted clicks, and Weather Lord: Graduation mostly nails this.
On top of required objectives for each level, Weather Lord chucks in bonus objectives that reward you with additional points. These points are used in between levels to permanently upgrade various bonuses, such as the speed with which your workers gather a particular resource, or how quickly your spells recharge. This adds a nice layer of development that go some way to offsetting the mild existential despair that comes from repetitively doing essentially the same thing for many hours and wondering why exactly I’ve just spent five consecutive hours on an ultimately pointless endeavour (is this just me?). Technically there’s an element of choice with the bonuses, with you able to choose one of two to take each time, but in practice there’s usually an obvious choice: your workers collect 50% more gold, or a spell you barely use recharges 25% faster? Hmm…
Round about level 29 (of 60), my girlfriend joined me and we played a bunch of levels together. The game works quite well for couples like this, with one player able to point out what the other has missed.
I greatly enjoyed my time with Weather Lord: Graduation, which took around 6 hours to finish the 40 main missions, and then an additional 2.5 to complete the 20 bonus levels. It’s perfect for pretty much any age or ability and is a standout of the time management genre.
Have you played any of the Weather Lord games? Let me know what you think in the comments!