APP OF THE DAY: PocketWarwick review (iPad / iPhone / iPod touch / Android)
Celeb-endorsed applications are not particularly rare; we've seen a few of them at Pocket-lint, including Tom Daley Dive 2012. However, it is extremely rare that a game or app has been devised and worked on by the celebrity him or herself.
PocketWarwick is such an app - not only starring Life's Too Short, Harry Potter and Star Wars star Warwick Davis, but also created by him. And it's rather good, too...
- iPad (version tested), iPhone, iPod touch, Android
- Free (with in-app payments available)
- iTunes, Google Play (available soon)
Essentially a cross between a Tamogotchi and The Sims, PocketWarwick is a life simulation that offers all the addictive qualities of a Tiny Towers or Pocket Planes, but with the charm and wit only a British comedy actor and UK-based development team - Matmi - could muster.
You essentially control your own pet Warwick Davis who, in a plot that basically apes his successful TV show written with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, is on a mission to go from the Z-list of celebrity stardom to the top. And it's up to you to help get him there.
To do so, you must successfully get acting jobs that are offered by your agent, each of which brings experience points, further steps up the celebrity ladder and, more than likely, cash. This last award is particularly important because it is this that will help you progress and achieve the right criteria for progressively more demanding auditions.
Each audition, you see, makes demands. You will often have to wear one, two or three items of clothing/costume and have a requisite minimum statistic from Hunger, Sleep, IQ, Fitness, Entertainment and Hygiene. Should you meet the criteria, you get the gig; if one is lacking, you don't.
Each of the role playing stats can be improved by interactive elements, such as skipping to raise fitness, watching TV to entertain Warwick, reading a book for learning, etc. Many things are also influenced by items bought in the shop, and you'll soon realise why the in-game money is so important for development.
For example, if you want to raise your hunger setting more rapidly, you'll need to buy more nourishing food. And your fitness levels will go up more quickly if you have better gym equipment. It's certainly satisfying to get green bars for all stats, but can also be costly, so you have to manage what you want to pay for in comparison with the amount you can earn on jobs.
And to further complicate matters, a majority of the clothes you'll need to get certain roles must be bought. Thankfully, however, once you have paid for them, they're in your wardrobe to keep and you'll find yourself eventually going on jobs without having to visit the store at all.
As PocketWarwick is a free download, it's clear that the only way to monetise the application is to offer a real-world in-app payment system, where you can buy "gold coins" to pay for items faster than you can if you earn the cash in-game. But we found that constant play reaped massive rewards in this area anyway, and this is one of the most honest and fair apps we've seen in this regard. You genuinely don't have to pay for stuff, but some will anyway.
Certainly, PocketWarwick is a game that you'll want to return to regularly. When Pocket-lint met Davis himself not too long ago (with a full interview making up a significant part of the Pocket-lint Podcast #100), we were told that the game would be updated with new content regularly. For example, as Warwick Davis appears in real-world TV shows and films, you'll more than likely find applicable items suddenly appearing on the store. It should keep the game fresh.
In addition, as we've discovered to our cost, leave Warwick on his own in the game too long and it will punish you. We revisited the game after a couple of days of leaving it dormant and were greeted by a Warwick in his dressing gown and emitting a pungent green honk. All of his stats were almost zero too.
We soon raised him back to acceptable levels, but it's a reminder that a PocketWawrick needs almost as much care and attention as the real thing.
And, in the words of the star himself: "Who wouldn't want a Warwick in their pocket?"