I am a sucker for the games Kairosoft releases for iOS. I just have to play them, and once I start I am hooked completely. For days all I think about is the game I am currently playing. Whether it is about creating a games company, keeping guests entertained at a spa or get a school up and running doesn’t matter. Mega Mall Story is the fourth entry from Kairosoft in the App Store, and initially it blew me away. It is what I hoped Tiny Towers would be. You get to develop a mall from the first staggering shops to a Mega Mall. It is a simulation, but it doesn’t require too much knowledge from the player. As long as your numbers aren’t in the red it is quite easy to get the customers into the mall. It all ended too soon though, and there is little to no reason to go back to it.
The game is touch controlled, and as such it works really well. As the mall expands the clutter that ensues means that it gets harder, and harder tapping the shop you want. Placing new shops can also be a bit of a hassle, as it requires you to double tap where you want to build. Other than that it is an enjoyable experience panning around, and checking up on your shop owners.
The simulation part of the game is divided into yearly cycles. This makes it easier to feel the flow of time, and since you only have 14 years to make the most of your mall it is important to keep track of the seasons. Winter sales, summer showers and autumn storms all affect the economy of your mall. Furthermore the game throws national economical trends at you, and recessions have to be survived.
Building a mall is quite easy, but getting it to maximise profit is the real challenge. To get the most from your shops you have to create combos. These combos can either be bought once a year, or had by accident. At times it is also possible to guess what combos are in the game. Combos affect the attractivity, and quality of shops and facilities. This in turn increases the likelihood of customers becoming regulars. A regular usually give some kind of bonus such as a sum of money, a project to invest in or a new shop to build.
There are some financial decisions to make, and most of them concern what shop to build when. A larger issue is the fact that you can invest in the surrounding neighbourhoods to attract more customers, regulars and lessen effect of recessions and rain. Investments are also available for the mall with new means of transportation, and unique facilities to build. Personally I have always prioritized making all investments as soon as possible. You can only have one project going at a time.
Mega Mall Story is quite easy, and both me and my wife beat it within two days. I have had more hardship with the earlier games from Kairosoft. Mega Mall Story is still addictive, but not to the same extent as Pocket Academy or Game Dev Story. Too much time is spent just waiting around for time to pass. Upgrading shops, and moving things around to create combos is all I was left with for the last five years. Once a mall gets going it is hard to fail, and I would have liked some kind of natural disasters or opposition to actually matter.
The presentation is good as always with cute animations, and retro graphics. The sound is limited to the odd fanfare. I like that the game allows for either portrait or landscape orientation. I have had some slight slowdowns when running the game on the fast setting with a maximised mall. Other than that the graphics are enjoyable.
Some kind of online functionality is needed to motivate me to play the game again. Writing down the final score, and show it to someone isn’t that impressive.
Mega Mall Story is a fun simulation game with cool graphics, and a enjoyable vibe. Being on the easy and short side, and lacking online leaderboards hurt it quite a lot. Still it is worth getting if you have enjoyed the other titles from Kairosoft. Try the lite version if you are on the fence.
Mega Mall Story $3.99
Seller: Kairosoft Co., Ltd