Build-a-lot is one of those games that has been on the reviewing block for a while. Why? Because aside from being addictive and tough, there’s a lot to complete to finish the game! Did I mention it was addictive? Build-a-lot is the best time management game that you never knew about.
Now you know.
Don’t let “time management” scare all you noobs away! This one is easy on newcomers to genre, and provides plenty of instructions throughout the campaign as you progress. It also isn’t as stressful as a lot of other TM games. It starts out easy, and slowly adds on new gameplay elements that add challenge. Even then, you generally get plenty of time to complete each “mission” in the game, with a medal being given if you can complete it in the preferred time.
The game puts you in a residential sim city builder of sorts. Essentially, your job is to build up neighborhoods by building/selling various houses and other buildings. You do this for an excellent interface that has you tapping lots to build, tapping buildings to upgrade, and building other buildings like banks and workshops to help you out along the way.
You have to hire more workers to build larger homes, buy supplies, perform upgrades, and pay taxes or repair homes if needed. All of these have future items to counter them. You can donate to charity to make the houses tax exempt, or inspect the houses to keep them from needing repairs. When you get to later neighborhoods, you really have to put thought into your build order. Starting off each level right is critical.
The goal of the game is generally one of three things: reach a certain sum of money, gain a certain level of rent, or build specific numbers of house types in the area. The missions vary per neighborhood, and many times will change on the fly based on progress. You can also receive letters from the some of the houses that will provide you with one-time money bonuses.
All these is done in a nice sprite style. It would have been nice to see things upgraded visually for the iPhone compared to the original mobile versions, but it works well, and is pleasing enough. Oh, and the music actually isn’t annoying!
Presentation & Graphics
Graphics aren’t super impressive, but they work well enough, and are certainly polished.
Good music and sound effects. Nothing is amazing, but it works, and doesn’t get annoying.
Completely addicting. I have absolutely no complaints. Didn’t really know what to expect when I first started playing, and before I knew it an hour had passed. I’m not normally a TM type of guy, but this game has a lot of polish and charm to it. Interface is excellent, and the fantastic “teach as you go” aspect is perfect for noobs like me.
There are 8 neighborhoods with around 4-6 missions each. You will have to replay of the lat it’s er ones to change your strategy. Because each session doesn’t take a huge time commitment, not that bad to do this. There is even a casual mode with ßœ missions for when you complete the main campaign.
Build-a-Lot takes a casual time management game and combines it with the charm of Sim City. It is a great first game for newcomers to the genre, and still a great challenge to those with experience. If you’re skeptical of such a high score for a game like this, I recommend trying out the lite version. I have no doubt that most of you will be hooked, and for quite some time.