• Tiny Tower Review - Apple iOS

    Itís two oíclock in the morning and Iím struggling to sleep because as fast as I can stock them, toy blocks are selling out. I canít quite work out why the people of my high-rise are so obsessed with buying toy blocks, but they are. At least I feel confident that as the tower grows I wonít find myself with a Ballard-esque nightmare on my hands, because the only thing the residents are interested in is toy blocks.

    I stock the toy shop for the fourth time and put the game down beside my bed. Minutes later thereís the ping that notifies me that the restocking is complete and so I open my eyes and tell them to start selling. It happens again. The customers flood in, the toy blocks begin to sell out, and the cycle repeats.

    I wonder if Iíll ever get any sleep at all, I canít drop off knowing that my toy shop is closed because the stockís run out. Where will my residents get their toy blocks? What if a toy block shortage is my towerís equivalent of a dead dog in a swimming pool? What if that nightmare really is about to begin?

    And thatís the experience of the first few hours with Tiny Tower, a free game available on various iOS devices. A game that gets its claws into you quicker than a cat would if your face was covered in nepeta cataria.

    Thereís no real goal, itís simply up to the player to add more and more floors to a tower that expands ever upwards. Floors can be either residential or various types of commercial and itís important to balance the two because, even though you get very little income from the residential floors, you need the residents (called bitizens) to work at your shops. Construction takes a few hours in real-time but this can be sped up by using Tower Bux.

    Bux is the gameís (inevitable) premium currency, but itís completely optional and, indeed, Bux are available by various other means and for free. A Whereís Wally style mini-game occurs at random intervals and asks you to find a specific bitizen, with a Buck as a reward. Ferrying people up your tower via the elevator also yields Bux now and then. Bux are used to ďhurry upĒ processes, so floors can be built instantly, or shops restocked without any delay and various other things. Thereís no need to hurry up, though, and if you just let the tower grow at its own pace thereís really no need to pay any money into it at all.

    Where perhaps the game is best is in a way that could equally be a failing. Thereís no Facebook integration at all and, as far as your friends go, youíre limited to simply viewing their tower. This means thereís no need to play quicker and quicker to compete with your friends so you can share items, you can simply play at your own pace and thereís never pressure to make these in-app purchases to keep up. There are so many apps that offer similar gameplay to Tiny Tower, but so few that make the player feel in charge.

    While Bux are optional, the gold coins in the game are not, and this is the currency the game is played with. Youíll never be charged for these, unless you choose to convert some paid-for Bux into them. Gold coins are earned through your bitizens' rent payments, income through shops and from moving passengers through the tower on the elevator. The gold coins are spent on more stock for shops and also on building new floors, which get progressively more expensive the further up the tower you build.

    The beauty of the game is in its residents. There may be no Facebook integration but it does include Bitbook, which is Tiny Towerís often hilarious approximation of the social behemoth. Your residents each have their own personalities and their own skills, their own dreams. If you give them a job they enjoy they might post to Bitbook that they love their new job (8 bitizens like this) and conversely, they could speak of how miserable they are when you force them to work in a diner when all they want to do is DJ at a nightclub (3 bitizens like this). Alongside this, there are loads of silly comedy updates that add a ton of personality into the lives of your bitizens and into the game.

    Bitizens can be moved between jobs freely, and itís important to put them where they want to be if you can, not just for their own happiness. Each has their own skills and is better working in some types of shops than others. If you manage to put a bitizen in their dream job theyíll be twice as efficient as they would be in another role. There are also bonuses depending on whether you can get every item on a floor stocked at once. There are three products available in each store, and you need one employee for each. The first item will sell for one coin, the second for two and the third for three.

    Thereís a lot of management needed to get people where they want and need to be while balancing ordering stock and ordering your bitizens to sell it, but thereís no pressure to do any of it if you donít want to. You can restock toy blocks every ten minutes and stay up half the night in an addicted daze if you like, but if you donít thereís no punishment for not doing it. The only thing youíll miss out on is the income youíd have earned from having the items available to people.

    Tiny Tower is a game that youíll get as much out of as you put in, and a game that can fit around any life. If youíve got a minute to spare, check in and stock your shops. If youíre sitting in front of Eastenders you can mindlessly move bitizens around in the elevator earning coins and restocking the shops the second they need it. Itís definitely worth being aware, though, that itís very easy to get involved in your bitizens' lives. You may intend to play for a minute but Jose dreams of a job working the mini golf and how can you live with yourself knowing that heís rotting away in the video store?

    And now, if you donít mind, Iíve got a toy shop that needs to be restocked.

    - No pressure to be suckered by IAPs
    - More charm than a charm convention
    - Suits the lifestyle of anyone

    - Seconds turn to minutes
    - Minutes turn to hours
    - Hours turn to insomnia

    Score: 8/10
    Comments 62 Comments
    1. EvilBoris's Avatar
      EvilBoris -
      Sounds like a knock off of Sim Tower / yoot tower.
      Consider it bought!

      oooh it's free
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      It's like a really simplified Sim Tower that you can play for 30 seconds at a time and still get loads of enjoyment from
    1. Friction's Avatar
      Friction -
      I'd never heard of this before until I read this review, looked like my kind of thing and most certainly was! Really good fun and very addictive!

      Great review!
    1. langley's Avatar
      langley -
      I am starting to wish I had not read this review.....I am utterly hooked on this now, and have a tower on both my iPhone & iPad, it is just so addictive and should come with a health warning.
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      That whole review was basically a warning
    1. Friction's Avatar
      Friction -
      Question about this someone may know the answer too. I'm utterly hooked on this, and have an epic 19 storey tower! Anyway the description on iTunes say you can back your save up on the server or something like that.

      I installed the game on my iPhone, after playing it on another iDevice and on loading it said something about 'detected a saved game on the server, would you like to use that?' I said yes, and it loaded the save, but it was an earlier state of play than my current game.

      Does anyone know if I can run the same save - up to date at that - on two devices so I can never be without my current tower?
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      As far as I know, it backs it up to the server every four hours but I don't know when/why/how or if that helps you. You won't be able to transfer the up-to-date save itself without backing up one device and restoring it to the other device, I would think.

      But think about it. You could have... Two Towers
    1. Friction's Avatar
      Friction -
      Thanks for that - I confess I don't actually know how to back up one device and restore to another - I thought they were separate 'backups' saved - that's the one thing of iTunes I've not mastered to be honest!

      Hmmmm Two Towers you say.....
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      There was never actually a Tiny Tower thread, was there? Shame.

      I finished it today, almost four months to the day after starting it! Didn't have to buy a single IAP to do it, either, although I have now that I'm done.

      Here's my tower, in all its glory.
    1. koopatroopa90's Avatar
      koopatroopa90 -
      Don't know how I missed your review (or how you managed to write so much about it!) but I didn't realise the game had an end thought it was just one of those things that went on for ever. I mean, what game ends on level 145?

      edit: have you renamed your floors then? Noticed the plane'arium
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      Yeah, I've tried to rename as many as possible after businesses/places in pop culture

      Plane'arium is one of my favourites, but I imagine most people would miss it

      If you can think of any I've not got, do help! And the game doesn't end at level 145, you can still play, but you're only allowed to build one of each kind of floor so until they update with new floors I've built everything in the game.
    1. koopatroopa90's Avatar
      koopatroopa90 -
      Ahh ok, well I'm currently building floor 61 so hopefully by the time I get to 145 there will be at least 5 more to make a nice round 150!

      Haven't bothered renaming my floors although I might if I can think of any decent names. Definitely need a Big Lebowski reference floor to complement the bitbook rug reference - smiled when I first saw it (and a couple of others but none come to mind right now).

      One thing I was going to ask that you didn't write about in the review is levelling up your floors. Have you done this, and if so, what is the point? Think it costs 3 bux to go to level 2 which I have done for one floor (the pub, I believe) but can't remember it actually making any difference....
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      I've got a Big Lebowski reference in there somewhere

      Floor levelling wasn't available at first, which is why there's no mention of it in the review, it came in an update a few weeks back. Every level up adds 75 units of stock to each tier of the store, and means it costs a little bit more and takes longer to restock. It also means that you'll have to restock it less 'cause stuff stays in stock longer. It makes no difference to profits, etc, but it's less work to keep your tower stocked. All my stores are at level 10 and you really notice how much less you have to check in. Bar nuts go out of stock in two minutes, but if you level it up you can keep the pub running for hours instead.

      Also, floors come in batches of eight, you need three residential for every five stores otherwise there's not enough bitizens to work there!
    1. koopatroopa90's Avatar
      koopatroopa90 -
      Found it - should have known it would be there love Dexters Lab too.

      I think that must have been why I levelled up the pub as the bar nuts only ever had about 15 units in stock or something stupid. Still goes out of stock all the bloody time at level 2 though haha hence why I had forgotten what it did!! Nearly got enough bux for the 499 lift so will start levelling up floors once I've bought that, which I assume is the best as it's the one your tower has...

      I like the order of your floors by the way - 3 residential then 1 of each type of commercial (or almost, not 100% sure). Mine is completely haphazard! There are a few floors you could rename that I've seen so far but not sure to what. Furniture Store should be called Ikea though. Not a film ref but come on.
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      Quote Originally Posted by koopatroopa90 View Post
      I like the order of your floors by the way - 3 residential then 1 of each type of commercial (or almost, not 100% sure). Mine is completely haphazard! There are a few floors you could rename that I've seen so far but not sure to what. Furniture Store should be called Ikea though. Not a film ref but come on.
      I just ordered 'em like that so my tower was always even while it was building. If you focus on certain types of businesses your demand for that type goes down and so you get less coins per minute.

      I should call it Ikea, probably, and might eventually. For now I don't want to give up though so I'm still trying to think of film/tv/game/book references for them!
    1. koopatroopa90's Avatar
      koopatroopa90 -
      Yeah I tend to keep it steady between all the shops but my residential floors are all over the place, mainly as I build so much commercial then realise "oh crap, there are no workers for this new shop and half the others are down to 1 or 2!"

      And your Health Club should either be Average Joe's or Globo-Gym.
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      You can move floors around for a buck a piece, if you want to tidy it up a bit.

      Man, now I can't decide between the two!
    1. koopatroopa90's Avatar
      koopatroopa90 -
      I see you decided.

      I now have the best lift! And 63 floors.

      Both my brothers now have the game and we've been looking through the leaderboards - over 3000 people at least have more than 145 floors??

      I also wish they would add the ability to swap bitizens with your friends so if I had someone who's dream job was to work in the Arcade but I wanted someone to work in my Hat Store (true story), and someone else had the opposite we could swap them.
    1. toythatkills's Avatar
      toythatkills -
      Quote Originally Posted by koopatroopa90 View Post
      Both my brothers now have the game and we've been looking through the leaderboards - over 3000 people at least have more than 145 floors??
      Yeah, you can carry on building floors after 145 but there are no stores to fill them with. Those people will have 145 floors and then just a bunch of empty floors that they can't do anything with.
    1. Gradius's Avatar
      Gradius -
      I've been playing this for a few months now and i'm still obsesively tending my flock several times a day.

      I'm up to 132 floors with 240 residents.

      My tower's floors are in order of business type with all the residential at the top. I constantly evict residents when a more suitable one moves in.

      Rather than level up each business the same amount i have leveled them so that they all need restocking at the same time. Each level up adds 5 minutes to the restocking time.

      I don't think i have played a game so compulsively since Animal Crossing on the Gamecube, i need it to reach a conclusion so i can leave it alone.

      My game centre name is gradius57300 if you fancy a butchers

      Edit- added link to my tower.
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