Welcome to another installment of Games For The Rest of Us, for people who don't want a 40-hour committment, just something to play in the ad breaks of Glee (or, er, whatever you happen to be watching). This week we are putting on our hard hats and jumping into the construction-mad world of Tiny Tower.
Platform: iPhone/iPad/Android (reviewed on iPhone)
If you're one of the tiny handful of people who have a compatible device and don't have Tiny Tower, please do me a favour. Go and download it right now. No, I do mean now.
You done it?
Ok, we can continue. What you now have is one of the most addictive games of the year. In Tiny Tower, your goal is to act as the almighty ruler of your building by constructing shops & apartments, and then filling those apartments with people to work in the shops. You will soon have a booming self-sufficient economy. Well done, you!
The shops that populate your newly constructed floors are randomly generated (though you can choose the general type of shop you want; retail, food, creative, etc), and each of your slaves, er I mean, Bitizens have an ideal job. Putting them in their ideal job makes them happier, and improves the restocking time of the shop. There is nothing quite like the suspense of coming back after a few hours to find what kind of shop you've been landed with. Will you be delighted that you can now put some of your Bitizens in their dream job, or will you be groaning in horror and wondering why anybody thought a paintball arena in a high-rise building was a good idea in the first place?
As far as these sort of world-building app games go, this one is by far the best. Firstly, it's free (a fact which I can still barely believe). Secondly, it's simple and engaging. Running errands and taking people up the elevator is a good way to kill time while your shops are restocking or floors are being built. And thirdly (and this is the biggest tick for the game), it doesn't bully you into buying the 'premium currency' with your own money. Many of these sorts of games will either crawl along at an excruciating place or hit a roadblock if you're not willing to pony up the cash for in-app purchases. Not Tiny Tower. It still takes time, but it's easy enough to get a couple of Tower Bux in each sitting. And even then, the things you buy with Tower Bux aren't essential to the game. Sure, the elevator upgrade is handy, but you don't NEED it. You can pay to have your restocking and construction completed faster, but again, not a necessity. Tiny Tower really allows you the freedom to play the game the way YOU want to.
The only (very tiny) gripe I have is that it's not overly social within the game. Outside of the game it is quite often the topic of water-cooler conversation, but it would be great for the game to be able to see other people's towers without having to have a Game Center account.
Overall, this is the closest thing to a perfect game app I've come across. It's free and it's totally amazing.
I give it 5 satisfied Bitizens out of 5