While initially addictive, Viva! Mall is too glitchy and repetitive to be very fun
Viva! Mall is one of the latest in a long line of management games made so uber famous by games like Farmville. But instead of tending crops and feeding animals you tend stores, provide inventory, and log in at certain times to collect money and put out more product. You can also decorate and expand your mall, always in the pursuit of opening more stores to move more inventory to make more money. Rinse and repeat.
The game has all the addictive qualities these games usually do. There’s always that next carrot on the stick to reach out and grab, whether it’s opening a new store, completing the next quest, or just picking up trash to keep the shoppers happy. For a while I found myself logging in every hour to refill the stores, just like I was supposed to. I even invited a few friends to join in to share the load.
But it wasn’t long before I felt like I was just going through the motions, and that I wasn’t getting anything particularly interesting out of the experience: just money to open the next shop to make more money. It quickly started to have that hamster-on-a-wheel feeling. Of course, the multitude of issues were harder to overlook when the gameplay began to sag.
There are a few technical problems that definitely made playing more aggravating than it needed to be. The first hurdle you might get tripped up on is that Viva! Mall actually has system specs, which is something we’ve never really seen before in the Facebook world (and at this time the game isn’t available on Macs). The specialized plug-in that needs to be downloaded also wreaks havoc with browsing the web in other tabs while the game is open. And in addition to the technical problems, there are a few in-game issues as well.
There are quests that you are supposed to complete in order to gain experience to level up, which includes things like giving yourself a new look, placing certain stores, or selling particular items. As you complete the quests you’re given new ones to do. What is stupefyingly is that if you’ve done something before the quest pops up you get no credit for it. For instance, I had a quest to place four banners in my mall to spruce things up. I had already decorated the place with several banners previous to that, but I got no credit for spending that money or placing those items. I needed to buy and place four more.
Most annoying, however, were the glitches I encountered. Sometimes when buying and placing a new store something would go strange and it would only “half” appear. It took my money for the store but mousing over it only gave me the option to build a store in its space. The game thought it was still an empty stall, even though I was out the cash. This happened numerous times and sometimes was fixed by building a second store on top of the broken one but that cost twice the money
While I enjoyed my time with Viva! Mall initially, I think the negatives ultimately outweigh the positives. The weird quest completion recognition, the ugly glitches placing stores, the hefty system specs, and the weird side effect of the plug-in on the other browser tabs make me think ultimately if you wanted to get into a game like this there are much better choices out there.