JoinDots' Sweetest Thing is a puzzle game in which you strive to rebuild the sugary realm after it has been destroyed by ants. Another mobile game which has made its way to the Wii U shop, this describes itself as a time management game, but fails to be a challenge for any fan of this genre.
When you begin the game you will be told that Candy Land has been overrun by ants and that you will have to rebuild it. You do this by rebuilding roads, clearing paths and fixing bridges. The idea is to choose which items you collect/rebuild in the right order to complete the level, and there are also achievements to be unlocked. Sweetest Thing could have done with a bit more in terms of a tutorial as it seems to assume that you have played similar games before, providing little to no explanation of what to do.
Through trial and error you begin to realise that the order in which you do things is rather important, so for example if you build the Jelly Factory before the Sugar factory, you won't be able to repair a bridge because of the lack of sugar. This will result in restarting the game, allowing you to try again. You can play in Normal mode, Multi Tap mode (which allows you to queue tasks) or untimed mode. There is a bonus bar at the bottom which, once filled, can give you a variety of bonuses such as an extra worker, fast boots, a snowflake to freeze time or an icon that allows you to produce +1 of a particular item.
There are hidden items in each level, and you can tell from the map whether these have been collected or not. Although there is some skill in the game, such as deciding what to build first and which bonuses to use against the clock, The Sweetest Thing is a little too simple and one dimensional. There could have been more depth added in terms of builds, the range of challenges (how many times can you build a bridge?) and even in the variety of candy to be collected.
Graphics are very simple and colourful. The characters are obviously Willy Wonka inspired, with a guy who looks just like him that introduces the levels and the builders have green Oompa Loompa style faces. It is aesthetically pretty much what you would expect from a mobile game, nothing too extravagant; more thought could have gone into the icon design itself as the candy canes, sugar cubes and jellies are rather dull visually. The main problem with the graphics is that you easily identify objects. For example you are tasked to build a candy mine, but there is nothing to differentiate the candy mine from the other buildings in the level.
Also frustrating is the glitching in this particular title - sometimes the builders will not respond right away, or they will get stuck for no reason. The audio jars too, with the music often getting stuck. The game has also not been modified for Wii U, so the text/time bar appear absolutely tiny on your GamePad screen, and on your TV some parts are cut off. These are simple things that can be rectified, but drag down the overall experience.
There are no rewards for collecting all the special candies, which make going back to collect them pointless unless you enjoy collecting achievements. It would have been nice to have a bonus level or something for collecting all of these, as the game itlelf is pretty short.
Sweetest Thing leaves a lot to be desired. Fans of the time management genre may find a modicum of enjoyment, but it just seems like 'My Kingdom for the Princess' reskinned to include candy. The game gives it all away upfront, so once you have played the first couple of levels there isn't much more to discover; it proves to be mundane after a while. Approach this one with caution.