Be Rich has become the real estate gaming equivalent to what Turbo Subs is to food time management titles – which means incredibly fast-paced and challenging gameplay. The sequel with the highly creative name Be Richer by developer Divo Games takes exactly the same line – but is there more to discover than just a tedious rehash of what was once an already good-but-not-great game?
Like its predecessor, a really nice aspect of Be Richer is the freedom to change the environment as you like it. Streets can be bulldozed or added where you need them, because every building has to be connected to the road system. In addition to it you can also bulldoze all the other objects and buildings to create as many building sites as you need. This aspect lets you create much more realistic, crowded and lively neighborhoods compared to similar titles like Build-a-lot or Wonderburg, whose villages and cities tend to be very static and appear to be cut into squares.
Be Richer features two different modes: the campaign, where the player has to fulfill various goals in a limited period of time, and the free mode, which includes much larger maps and lengthy goals, but no time restrictions. These goals can be the collection of a certain amount of money, the possession of specific buildings, to reach a high rental income, or to finish the construction of very prestigious building projects, such as a large shopping mall, or a zoo as a welcome attraction for families. The player is spared from surprises such as the unexpected addition of new goals during the level.
The key element of the game is the rental income that you will earn from buildings and houses in your possession. In contrast to similar titles, money and workers are the only two resources you are going to use throughout the game, because as a high-profile real estate manager the player does not have to care about such ordinary things as materials.
By building and upgrading houses like cottages, modern apartments or villas, as well as adding buildings like hotel, day spa or a pizzeria to your neighborhood you increase your rental income constantly, just to be able to construct more expensive buildings or to purchase desired grounds to even widen your influence. As in the predecessor the income provided by shops depends on how many tenants are in the shop’s sphere of influence.
The new feature in Be Richer, to the disfavor of the player, is the possibility of tenants to become dissatisfied if there is no shop nearby their home. This change has two consequences which strongly influence the gameplay: for one thing it is even more important how the player makes use of free space and how to plan the arrangement of houses and buildings. For another thing it requires quick reaction as soon as tenants become discontent, because during this time they won’t pay any rent and the player will have to sent workers quickly to the said house to negotiate a lower rent.
Fortunately there is also a positive new feature related to the shops. On a regular basis certain symbols will appear on houses within the reach of shops, for example poker chips if there is a casino, or cosmetics when there is a nearby day spa. If the player clicks on these symbols quick enough, a nice amount of money will be added to the balance immediately.
The addition of a team of managers that you can form yourself is another new feature, which is basically the same as the corporate buildings from Be Rich. (The buildings have been replaced by managers, and those managers are hired with real money instead of redeeming points.) Depending on their ability, the managers can decrease the possibility of your houses being damaged, improve the construction rate or increase the income of commercial structures. To me the developer took the easy way out by just hiding the same feature under different covers to create the impression of a new feature which in fact turns out to be a copy of something that already has been there previously.
The level of difficulty of Be Richer is not what I would call well-balanced. Some levels are ridiculously easy, while others seem to be impossible to beat in expert time, no matter what strategy the player tries to apply. Fortunately it is impossible to get stuck, because no level has to be finished in a certain amount of time to progress. This means you can play through the whole campaign at your preferred pace, and return to the levels that you did not manage to beat in expert time at first try later on.
The greatest advantage of Be Richer is still the fact that it feels as fast-paced to play it as riding a roller-coaster. While the game lacks the complexity of Build-a-lot or the outstanding production values of Wonderburg or Plan it Green, it nonetheless can compete with those titles when it comes to the most important aspect of any game, which simply is how much fun it is to play it.
All in all Be Richer offers a few entertaining hours of frenzied gameplay, without overwhelming players with innovation or too many new features. If this is good or bad is definitely a matter of taste. Some players prefer more of the same, while others might be bored by the very similar formula. In any case the game is worth a try for all the fans of real estate management games, because Be Richer has still its very own charm in this by now crowded market.