I don’t know much about sculpting, and it’s definitely not a skill I would stake my life on, so I was curious how such a complex skill translates to a mobile game. And, I must admit, also wondering, how this concept makes it to #1 on the Google Play Store.
Sculpt people is actually pretty simple. You use a figure-eight gesture to shape the clay into a head, then with a modelling tool you sculpt eyes and the mouth. You end up with an eerie hollow eyed grinning ball, and then you add “accessories” like eyeballs, hair, hat, etc. As you play the game and unlock tools, it seems the gameplay gets a bit more complicated, but you can’t help but feel like you’re assemblingMr Potato Head instead of creating the next magnificent Rodin.
The immersion into the game is completely broken by ads popping up every 10-15 seconds. At some point almost every action you do is followed by an ad. Ads pop up between every face, when you need to unlock tools and VIP assignments, or just randomly while you are adding details to the face. Within the first 2 minutes I got approximately 4 ads, one of them an unskippable 30 seconds. After trying the game on airplane mode, because the ads just got too annoying, gameplay is improved a little, but unfortunately there is no way to progress the game without the ads to unlock clay colours, accessories, tools or VIP assignments.
Some of the creations are creepy caricatures of the people that Sculpt People want to resemble. And don’t be fooled by the 3.5-star rating, most of the reviews are 1-2 stars mainly complaining about the ridiculous number of ads, with a couple of generic, probably bought 5-star reviews. This game is set out to generate as much ad revenue as possible before disappearing into the ether, the developers a little richer, and the players a little more annoyed with the games found in the Play Store.
Don’t let the name deceive you, or the description’s insistence that “walking on the heels will make you feel like a QUEEN!” No queen wants to wear these heels, although imagining Queen Elizabeth in these is quite entertaining.
Let’s be honest, the character totters exactly like you would when you get into a pair of stilettos – arms flapping and booty swinging as your character navigates obstacles. The mechanics are simple, you swipe left or right to dodge barriers, collect shoes or diamonds. Shoes give you height and each obstacle take away from your height, so the taller you are the better. At the end of each level, however much height you have leftover contributes to your multiplayer score, and you get to do a little catwalk turn while being applauded. I must admit I found High Heels a lot more amusing than I expected.
My favourite moment is when the character does the Van Damme splits while gleefully clapping their hands when sliding between buildings. I even enjoyed failing as your character becomes jelly toppling over, its beautifully ridiculous.
True to the hypercasual genre, the game is littered with ads. Here is a tip, when offered to triple your diamonds at the end of each round by watching a video, just do it. If you decline you get hit with an ad anyway, at least this way, you feel like you are getting something for it. You can limit the ads by playing in airplane mode, but to unlock new ‘cities’, you need to watch an ad. Other than that, ads unlock items that’s purely cosmetic, like headbands, shoes or katanas.
The game is entertaining enough that ‘just one more level’ easily becomes a couple of hours (plus it’s the breakout game of Q1 2021). But the levels do become a bit repetitive after a while. With Zynga’s portfolio of hypercasual games you are bound to find something else to entertain you.
Opening Lumbercraft you are immediately hit with a privacy page, where you select your advertising preferences, plus confirming that you are over 16 (this would likely depend on your country) This was a bit unexpected, but it’s likely due to the iOS IDFA changes, which Android would inevitably implement in some shape or form in the future.
After checking the boxes according to your preferences, your game begins. You are a lumberjack in a handsome blue shirt, with a quick tutorial you learn how to cut down trees and build your first house and other buildings, which consists of a lumbermill, blacksmith and tower improvements within the first couple of minutes. You also use gold as a currency to improve your buildings. Lumbercraft has a simple concept, get wood and gold, which can be done by trading or killing enemies and surviving zones. The more you have of these two, the more you can expand.
There are no actions as such in the game, it consists of your character auto fighting, auto tree cutting and auto collecting. There is not enough variety of tasks to keep you engaged in the app, although the developer did mention that there will be a content update in the future.
The controls on the game is incredibly laggy, and it often feels like you’re running wherever you’re not aiming. At some point it got so bad, the game crashed, and my phone restarted. Which never happened to me on any game before.
In terms of ads, it’s not that bad, you only get ads between every round in the fighting zone, and optional ads to upgrade buildings or to get better trading deals for gold. The game works perfectly on airplane mode, and it does have an option for an ad-free experience.
Although this game is not exciting enough for my taste, it provides a relatively chill experience for those ‘in between’ moments. Perhaps if the content update includes a bit of variety, like other types of resources and some customization options it could be worth revisiting.