Vegas: First Look
Vitamin Games picked one of the biggest trends on Facebook for their first game Vegas, that being a city-building simulation game set in Las Vegas, but it appears that the game’s high production values and unique Day and Night timeline may be enough to set this one apart.
Vegas challenges you to build a grand version of Las Vegas, complete with all of the hotels, casinos, and entertainment you’d expect from the real thing. The game’s money-making system can be compared to that of Happy Island or Tiki Resort, in that you’ll pay one flat fee to add the building to your town, and can then “cash out” that building’s profits every few minutes or hours (depending on the structure).
You’ll be able to spend your hard-earned coins to upgrade your buildings, and in doing so, you’ll permanently increase the amount of coins each building generates. Over time, buildings will also break and need repair, which can be done with a handful of coins.
The game offers a sense of realism, with miniature cars driving around the streets, streetlights guiding their way. You can purchase and build real hotels and landmarks that you would find in Las Vegas proper, like the Stratosphere, Bellagio and even Caesar’s Palace in addition to decorative items like the Statue of Liberty from New York, New York, or the Sphinx statue seen outside of the Luxor.
The game offers another hint of realism in its energy system. You won’t be able to build anything unless you first support the area with enough power. You can do so by building substations, windmills, power plants, and the like, with every building in the game either adding to, or consuming your city’s available energy resources, depending on the kind of structure.
As your city grows, so too can your city limits, as you unlock more items to add to your town. Your progress is enhanced via the quest system, that rewards you with experience points and coins for fulfilling certain tasks, like building a certain number of entertainment buildings (bars, bowling alleys, and the casinos themselves), hotels (whether small motels or grand resorts), decorations and so on.
As you play, you can choose to experience Vegas in one of two ways (at least visually), via the game’s Day and Night view modes. Via the press of a simple button at the top of the screen, you can change the game time from day to night. During the day, the streets and buildings are unlit, as the sun provides all of the light, but if you switch it to night, the entire city glows as the buildings will light up and the streetlamps turn on.
In terms of social elements, Vegas will allow you to send gifts to your friends (using either premium currency, or choosing the free options), as well as visit your friends’ towns. Once you progress to a high enough level, you’ll also unlock the Slot Machine feature that can help you earn more rewards for your town.
If there’s anything my short time with the game has shown me, it’s that the climb to the top of the Las Vegas strip will be a long one. The game’s catalog is a small one for now, in terms of what items are available, but that seems to fit with the somewhat slower level progression.
While Vegas does function well, with no technical issues, the game is a bit unbalanced in terms of initial level growth. Even when upgrading buildings (a smart move to increase profits early on), it takes a bit longer than we would expect to level up, and without leveling up, your progress on adding new buildings will be a bit slow.
With time, it will be interesting to see if Vegas really has what it takes to topple the giants.