Tiny Tower Review

Building management in real life is no fun. You need to keep vacancies low, tenants happy, and make sure everything is safe and up to code. Despite some similarities to the real thing, however, building management in Tiny Tower is a blast.

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Deeper than Hotel City yet simpler than Yoot Tower, Tiny Tower delivers a delightful building management experience

Building management in real life is no fun. You need to keep vacancies low, tenants happy, and make sure everything is safe and up to code. Despite some similarities to the real thing, however, building management in Tiny Tower is a blast.

In Tiny Tower, players fill the role of both developer and manager to an ever-growing skyscraper. As developer, players will build new floors and decide their best use – residential or business – and if business, which kind: retail, food, service, recreation or creative. Residential floors will attract new tenants to live in your building, which is good – because on the management side of things you’ll need to hire these residents to work in your tower’s many businesses.

There’s a nice added layer of depth to the decision making in Tiny Tower due to the different skills of each worker, as well as the needs of the community. Some simple stat tracking will show you what sort of businesses are most in demand at any given time, giving players food for thought when it comes to deciding what the best use for each floor they’ve built might be.

Tiny Tower Tiny Tower

Likewise, workers all have their own strengths and weaknesses in different employment sectors. Bill might have a high rating for work in the food industry, but is the pits when it comes to creativity. Since these rating directly affect the cost of each business’ inventory (ie how much it costs to restock goods), you’ll want to have the right people in the right places. Maybe Bill is a better fit for the frozen yogurt stand than he is for the photo studio after all. But with only three jobs available at each business, it looks like you’ll have to give Tina her Pinkberry pink slip to make the room needed for Bill’s new froyo career.

Workers all have dream jobs too, so while Bill might be great at selling frozen yogurt, what he really wants to do is work at Sky Burger. Making these dreams come true can have big financial benefits for players, so it’s important to stay on top of everyone’s individual life goals.

One of the biggest problems with freemium-style games is how they seem to be designed counter-intuitively, keeping playtime to a minimum. Rather than encouraging players to stay engaged in a play experience for as long as they can, freemium titles often chase players away, saying “you’ve done all you can do for free right now, so come back in 3 hours to play more, or spend some money you cheapskate!” Tiny Tower manages to fly in the face of this terrible convetion, giving players reason to stay in a play session as long as they like.

That’s not to say there aren’t elements of the game that offer that timed element – constructing new floors and stocking new goods follows the tried and true “wait or pay” freemium games formula, but if you choose to wait, you can always stick around earn more money by donning the role of elevator operator. Your tower is a bustling place, and there are always people looking to get to the right floor. Help them with that, and you’ll end up with far more coins than you would have if you’d simply shut the game off. Long play sessions are also rewarded by little search’n’find missions, where you’ll be asked to track a specific tower resident down.

Tiny Tower Tiny Tower

The game’s premium currency, Tower Bucks, will allow players to speed up things like construction of a new floor or the restocking of goods. Tower Bucks can also be traded in for the game’s regular currency, coins, which can then be used to purchase everything needed in the game. What’s great about Tower Bucks is they’re not needed to see everything the game has to offer. Nimblebit has made sure that players who don’t want to spend a dime of real world cash will have the same access to content that premium currency buyers have—something that’s a rarity in the field of freemium.

And you’re not forced to make a purchase to get this premium currency, either. Tiny Tower is quick to reward players with Tower Bucks on a regular basis for doing things like helping to locate individual characters or delivering certain visitors to certain floors who are willing to tip well. What’s more, if you do want to make an in-app purchase, you can get a tremendous amount of Tower Bucks for a surprisingly low price.

In addition to the gameplay strengths, Tiny Tower manages to shine in terms of presentation. The chunky pixel graphics here are oozing with personality, and the soundtrack offers up catchy midi tunes that go perfectly with the game’s retro style. Other little touches, like reading the status updates of your residents on “Bitbook,” manage to help give the game a great deal of charm.

By flying in the face of tradition and encouraging players to stay engaged for as long as they like, Tiny Tower has set a wonderful new standard for freemium games on the App Store. With great presentation, style, and gameplay, this is one tower you’ll want to move in to.

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      90 out of 100
      Jim Squires is the Editor-in-Chief of Gamezebo. Everything you see passes his eyes first, so we like to think of him as "the gatekeeper of cool stuff." He likes good games, great writing, and just can't say no to a hamburger. Also, he is not a bear.