What I’m Playing: Tiny Tower Edition written by Milo Alan
Normally we here at the PCSH blog only play manly awesome games that have guns, swords, magical fire, and death. Lots of death… well, and portal guns. Portal guns are cool. This week I thought that I would review one of the games I am currently playing on my Android smartphone. What game am I playing? Tiny Tower.
Tiny Tower is a game for the Android O/S and the Iphone that allows you to build a multiple tiered tower with all sorts of cool bells and whistles. Some of those bells and whistles include residential sections, stores, restaurants, and more. The whole purpose of the game seems to be to build giant buildings with insane amounts of stores and people.
When you first boot up the game you are pushed through a tutorial that is basic enough to get you started but open ended enough to let you explore and learn as you go. You start off with three floors, the lobby, one residential, and one food place of some sort. The game sets these up for you in the tutorial to get you started. Your job from here is to build up your tower using these three as the base.
Ideally, from the tutorial, you are supposed to get five people to live in your housing and at three of those five to work in the food place. For me, it was a sub sandwich shop that opened up and, from here on out, I will refer to it as a sub shop. A maximum of three can work at each store at a time. With five residents, you figure out quickly that you have to build another floor with some kind of shop or service. Simple enough? Try balancing 4 residential places with 7 places of business. It’s difficult because the only people that can work in your stores are people who live in your building.
The sub shop will be my main example for this section. Suppose you have a sub shop in the game and, suppose you have three people working in said shop and, suppose you didn’t have any sandwiches. What do you do? You make some dummy. From a sub menu(puns… puns are cool now) you select for your “blitzens” as they are called to make your first sandwiches but, you have to wait. Tiny Tower takes into account that your workers will have to cook bread, slice meat, and chop lettuce for these sandwiches so, you have to wait until an arbitrary amount of time has passed. Then, you have to give the go ahead to stock the food. Times and variety of product all depend on how many people you have in your employ. Three employees merits three types of sandwiches at this shop and a shorter time to make stuff. Less people, less variety, more time.If you run out of product, the shop closes until you do something about it.
The residential areas are fairly basic but do require that someone does move into them which can be somewhat difficult the longer you go in the game. The first two fill up quickly but the others take some doing. Eventually you will run up on a realtor that will fill the place up for you.
Mentioning the realtor is probably a good enough way for me to transition into one of the few things I dislike about the game. In addition to watching your stores like a hawk to keep them stocked, you also have to keep an eye on the elevator. Apparently it only works if you push the button for up or down. It doesn’t really complicate the game much, it is just annoying and, the more floors you have, the more annoying it seems to get. Each person that rides will cause you to gain some money as they are presumably entering a floor to purchase goods or rent from you. Special VIP guests will ride from time to time. Each type has a different bonus ability that will do something cool for you in the game. For example, the realtor that I mentioned earlier will fill up your apartment for you. The construction worker chops three hours off of a floor/store build and a celebrity will cause your profits on a specific floor to go up.
Money is earned in two forms in the game. First, you have gold coins. These are earned from shoppers and renters. It is also the primary currency in the game used to pay restocking fees on retail floors as well as building new floors. The more stuff you have, the more gold you can earn. The other form of money is the “tower bux”. This system is a little bit stranger. You get these bux for achieving records in the games, running errands for blitzens, and as tips from blitzens for use of the elevator. These are used to purchase upgrades, speed up restocking, hurry contruction, or purchase costumes for your residents. These are harder to come by and, if you’re impatient like me, you’ll have a hard time holding onto them.
Another thing that I have found that I really like about this game is that it operates in real time and in the background of your phone. This means that if you stock the sub shop and go to sleep for a while, you will be out of sandwiches when you wake up. Just because you’re away doesn’t mean the tower shuts down.Its really like having a part time job. Wake up, check the tower, restock, and shower. Get to work, repeat task list, get a cup of coffee. It can be tedious but, I think that actually might be part of the fun and the draw of the game. It keeps you coming back.
One more thing I seem to like about this game and, it is the weirdest thing to like. The game has a feature called “Blitzbook” which is meant to mirror Facebook. Each citizen has his or her own page that acts as a method of feedback for the end user. If the bakery shuts down because you forgot to stock it, your hear about it on Blitzbook. You also get an opportunity to read about whether or not your employees are happy doing what they are doing or if they want to go work at one of the other stores. It’s pretty neat and failry intuitive.
Like I said, this game is fairly fun but isn’t really a game that you just sit down and play but more like a game you play in five minute bursts throughout the day. It is very addictive but, as I mentioned, it does seem a little bit like a second job. Matter of fact, I have done maintenance on my tower three times while writing this review. I recommend this game for those who like a casual, long term type of game. It’s different and unique enough to hold me for now.