Note: If you played Tiny Tower and are wondering what the differences are between this and that game, I’ll list those at the end of the review so you can just skip all of this now.
Let’s get this out of the way: I played Tiny Tower to death. I mean, I maxed out my tower and had everyone in their dream jobs (I was quite unhappy in my job at the time, so I thought that getting all my bitizens into their dream jobs would somehow help me to find my own dream job through some cosmic karmic intervention).
So obviously that gameplay worked for me, but is it enough to get me to do it all over again? 50 levels later, the answer is: maybe.
For those of you who are new to this game, then know that it is a ridiculously addictive, fun and cute game… for the first few levels. After a while, it becomes a mind-numbing repetitive slog.
What you have to do is grow the Death Star, one level at a time. Levels can be made into a commercial space (like a retail shop or restaurant), a residential apartment that can house up to 5 bitizens (what the little people are called), or new to Tiny Death Star are the Imperial levels that go into the basement. So you use the commercial levels to generate money to buy new levels, and you’ll also have to get housing for the bitizens to operate the shops.
The trick is the balance. Each commercial space requires 3 bitizens for maximum productivity, and each residential level houses 5 bitizens. You can do the math easily, but the bitizens that move in also have different stats in each kind of commercial skill (retail/food/service/entertainment), and will also have a specific dream job. Get them into their specialties or dream jobs, and things will be better for you.
Where it becomes repetitive is the waiting. It takes time to stock a shop full of products to sell. It takes time to sell those products once stocked. It takes time to accumulate enough money to buy a new level. And then it takes time to construct that level once you start building it.
Where I am now (50 levels), it takes almost a whole day to save up enough money for a new level, and another day to actually get it built. During this day, I just have to log in and systematically stock all my shops and restaurants so that they have stuff to sell while I’m going about my really real life.
Not many people have this level of patience, and I’ve narrowed down the people who will actually play this game for more than a few days to a few types:
- Insanely competitive people who refuse to lose out to their friends.
- People who are getting no other sense of accomplishment from their really real lives.
- OCD sufferers.
- Unhappily employed people who harbor desperately ridiculous thoughts that virtual good deeds will bring about better fortune in real life.
If you don’t fall within these groups, this isn’t a game that will hold your attention for long.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it for a while. The game has amazingly cute 16-bit style graphics with a rich palette, catchy chip-tunes remixes of familiar Star Wars themes, and iconic characters that everyone with a decent childhood loves. And the gameplay will likely hook you in for a day or two, while the wait times are minimal and everything seems new and fun.
Anyway, here’s a list of differences I’ve noticed from Tiny Tower.
- Bux (the currency used to buy elevator upgrades and speed up wait times) don’t seem to come as easily as before. In Tiny Tower, you get bux randomly for delivering bitizens in the elevator to their floors, and for fully stocking a shop, but it seems much rarer now.
- The Emperor gives you side quests, like “Build a new retail level” or “Fully stock 5 levels”, and completing these gives you credits.
- Darth Vader also gives you side quests, but these will always involve using the Supply Officer VIP in Imperial levels to create a certain amount of level.
- Iconic characters will show up sometimes, and delivering these to a specific (but undisclosed) level will trigger a special cutscene.
- Sometimes you’ll be asked to find and apprehend a rebel, which again triggers a cutscene where you will either successfully or unsuccessfully capture them.
- The game feels buggy on my Galaxy S3. It will often fail to load properly and crash. And even when it does load successfully, it’s pretty slow. Windows 8 boots up faster than this game!
- Overall, the game feels slower… maybe it’s to subtly prompt people to buy more bux to speed up construction times?
As you can see, aside from the side quests there isn’t much that is new. It’s really just Tiny Tower with a cosmetic face lift.
PS Now that I’m in a happier job with plenty to do in my spare time, why am I still playing the game so much? I don’t know… maybe I’m more stubborn than I think I am.
PPS knowing that the Death Star will eventually get blown up by the Rebel Alliance, isn’t more humane to keep evicting the bitizens instead of luring them to their eventual fiery deaths with dream jobs and homes?