Hold me closer, Tiny Tower.
During my iPhone owning years, I have spent many an hour lost in the grip of particularly addictive games. Games such as Angry Birds, Tiny Wings and Game Dev Story have all sneakily swallowed huge chunks of my time, by offering a quick gaming session and then compelling me to just keep on playing. Now, another game can be added to that list – Tiny Tower.
Tiny Tower, by NimbleBit, is a free to play game for iOS that offers some in-game transactions. Before you start declaring that this means the game is not actually free and try to burn me at the stake for being a witch, just hear me out. Players may purchase one of the in-game currencies, Tower Bux, using real world money. However, unlike other games that use this method of financing, players are awarded with some Tower Bux during the course of the game and spending Tower Bux only serves the purpose of speeding things up. It is perfectly possible to play and enjoy this game without spending a single penny, if that is what you desire.
Anyway, Tiny Tower is a building management game that puts the player in control of a skyscraper, although in reality everyone begins with just one floor. It is then up to the player to build more floors and give them a use. Residential floors will provide up to five little people, known as Bitizens, and will provide the player with a constant, albeit very slow, stream of revenue in the form of rent. In order to make more money, and thus build more floors, the player will need to assign some of the floors as businesses.
There are loads of different businesses available, but they all fall into one of five different categories: Creative, Food, Recreation, Retail or Service. The player chooses which category of business to place on a particular floor, but which actual business they get is entirely random. Once a business floor has been built, up to three Bitizens can be assigned to work there.
Each Bitizen has a collection of stats relating to the different business categories. The higher the stat, the higher the discount on the cost of stock. Also, each Bitizen has a dream job which, if fulfilled, will result in double the amount of stock of that particular type.
Each business has three stock types which have to be replenished by the player. Each stock type relates directly to the employees. For example, if you have one employee, you can only order the cheapest stock which will bring in the lowest amount of money, whereas three employees will allow the player access to all of the available stock, ensuring many more coins for the player.
Everything in the game runs in real-time. To build a new floor, the player may have to wait for several hours. Ordering new stock may be as quick as a few minutes, or as long as a few hours. This is where the Tower Bux come in, allowing the player to spend some real-world cash on speeding things up, allowing stock to instantly appear, floors to be built immediately or new residents to move in straight away. Generally these things ost one Tower Bux for each hour, or part thereof, of waiting time. As their tower gets larger, they can even invest in new elevators to make the journey to each floor a bit quicker.
For those who are happy waiting, the temptation may be to order stock or set the floor building and then go away to return later. But hanging around and operating the elevator, taking people to the floors they want to visit, will allow the player to earn a bit more cash and even some Tower Bux. Players can earn Tower Bux through the special requests that pop up from time to time, requiring the player to find a specific Bitizen within their tower. They also earn Tower Bux by giving someone their ideal job, building or fully stocking a floor, or even as a tip from grateful elevator riders. Also while running the elevator, a players tower may be visited by a VIP. These come in various forms and can offer huge bonuses, such as reducing wait time for construction or stock by three hours, or attracting more customers to a particular floor.
All of this management results in what is an incredibly addictive game. Even now, whilst writing this, I have my iPhone in front of me with the game running. Every now and then I have to stop because some duck has been delivered to my Fine Cuisine restaurant, or my Comedy Club has run out of LMAOs. I check my tower first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It may be slightly obsession-building, but I would recommend that if you have an iOS device, pick up Tiny Tower now – It’s free, so you have nothing to lose except time. Now, excuse me, my Pet Portraits have just arrived.
Tiny Tower is available for all iOS devices on the App Store for free.