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XCOM: Enemy Unknown vs Tiny Tower

I love strategy games.  They allow for a pacing and approach allowing you a chance to theorize and consider.  Not as frantic and panic stricken as Fighting games or Racers.

Inside that genre you could ask me about almost any title and if I haven’t played it I’ve played something similar.  Whether or not I heard about it is another matter.

Mid last week I picked up a free smartphone game ‘Tiny Tower‘ also available on iPhone (more on that in a moment).  Tiny Towers sets you in a managerial position of operating a highrise starting with the first floor.  The lobby is in itself nothing special as I started on Android.  As a casual game it’s pretty solid, much akin to Game Dev Story what ate my weekend some months back.  You make income from tenants living in your residential levels to work in your various merchant levels.  Each floor you add gives you space to fill with merchants as you wish, each tenant working in a store unlocks the ability to ‘stock’ an additional commodity.  Stocked commodities sell, earning you cash you use to buy more levels.  Each floor can have one of six options, each option having many many variations.

Your tenants each have their own array of stats indicating where they’d best be situated and a dream job.  Placing a resident in their dream job does two things.  One, you get paid 2 Bux you can use to speed up stocking or trade for cash.  Two, one of the three commodities gets doubled for it’s output vastly increasing the profit margin from restocking fees.

Many of the concepts will be familiar to anyone who’s played a mobile/facebook game in the last three years.  The concepts of Do x, Get y are very similar.  It’s the Magic Money approach that caught me off guard and keeps me playing.  The Bux you earn from various tasks ‘can’ be bought with real money as with many games.  But they can also regularly and easily be earned by just playing the game.

Visitors will show up periodically including VIP’s that reward you in cash or Bux for helping them get where they’re going.  All in all, I can play this like a Facebook game and plug in for five minutes every hour or so.  Or I can keep playing, sending visitors along their way and making progress as I go.  That being said, I’ve logged more hours in Tiny Towers than I thought I might.  I had fun and for ‘Free’ I can’t suggest anything other than Try It Out.

XCOM has a rich and well respected history as turn-based strategy with strong combat themes.  The core idea is that aliens are attacking Earth and you’re the only line of defense.  I haven’t actually played the latest incarnation but everything I’ve read and seen suggests it’s a quality addition to the XCom lineage.  A word of caution, XCOM is and has always been a strong mix of Long-Term strategic resource management and Tactical effort.  From my understanding this isn’t a ‘fast’ game.