Friday, August 31, 2012

Casual Corner

Welcome back to the latest instalment of the Casual Corner. This month, I have three TM games to talk about: “Be Richest!,” “Dream Builder: Amusement Park,” and “Shop-n-Spree: Shopping Paradise.”

I will start with the last one named, “Shop-n-Spree: Shopping Paradise” by Viqua Games is the last instalment of the “Shop-n-Spree” series. While the first two, however, were very nice HOG games where you had to find the customers’ orders in a huge chaos of objects, this one is far more of a TM game. You still have to manage and enlarge shopping malls, open new departments and spend time there to do some work directly for the customers. Instead of the pictures filled to the brim with objects, there is now a design to each department that is easy enough to keep in mind. You still have customers ordering objects from the screen, but you don’t have to search for the objects, not really. Instead, you have to keep an eye out for filling up the shelves, you need to assemble objects, add decorations, or gift-wrap them. This makes for some hectic gameplay, because for additional money, you should keep the combo-meter filling up (my best was something like a 44 combo so far). On the whole, however, “Shop-n-Spree: Shopping Paradise” is a very good game, fun to play, with nice, bright graphics.

“Be Richest!” by Divo Games is a third part as well. After “Be Rich” and “Be Richer,” you have a much higher goal in this one. Instead of building up a new company, you build a city. Well, you rebuild it, anyway. Story is that the last mayor ran away with all the money and the city fell into disrepair. The game is a solid builder with nice levels and quite a bit of humour. You will meet Professor Jones (senior) and help him with a lot of excavations (and build a museum in the end). You will have to deal with annoying Yetis. And there are a lot of people who want something from you – usually a better place to live or shop or work. The game allows you to finish levels in your own time. There is a gold and silver time, but if you need longer, you need longer. You don’t lose a level, just because you need longer. On the whole, “Be Richest!” is a lot of fun to play and a very good, solid builder. The graphics are very nice and the gameplay is well balanced.

Finally “Dream Builders: Amusement Park” by FUGAZO, a ‘light’ version of games like “Theme Park” or “Rollercoaster Tycoon.” You build your park, add and research attractions and rides, earn money, and fulfil tasks. It’s easy to make money with your park in the game, so I shy away from calling it a business sim. On the other hand, it’s sometimes difficult to fulfil a task. Every task you choose (there’s various of them after the first few) earns you an award and with enough awards, you can open up a new amusement park somewhere else (4 locations are offered by the game). You have to provide rides, advertise your park, offer attractions, restaurants, toilets, and decorations. Grouping certain objects (not only rides and attractions, but also restaurants) will give you special zones that earn you more money (for objects fitting with them) and are required for some tasks. On the whole, the bright game is fun and not too hard to play – it’s a long one, too. It’s a nice builder game of a different kind that reminds me of “All My Gods,” but without the pesky gods trying to ruin everything. And without divine powers.

August was a good month for TM games. What will September be like? We shall see…

No comments: