Review by Chocobahn

"An addictive tower simulation game that is anything but Tiny"

Just prior to me writing this review, Nimblebit sent an open letter accusing Zynga of blatantly copied their top selling game, Tiny Tower, in their own game, and with good reasons too. Tiny Tower has just hit 10 million iOS download (as of Feb 2012). 10 million! That's a big number. A huge number. So what make this game such a huge success? Read on to find out how Tiny Tower becomes one of the most played game on the iPhone and/or Android.

First off, Tiny Tower is free. It does not cost anything to play or otherwise engaged in any financial transactions. That along already made this game half way to being the one of the most popular game. That said, you can spend real money for some in game purchase (more on that later).

The aim of the game is to build a skyscraper, one level at a time. You can build a residential home for your tower occupants (called bitizens) to live in, or build any one of five types of business. Once you have built an apartment, bitizens will move in. And once they have moved in, you can assign them to work at any one of your many businesses.

Apartments can fit a maximum of five bitizens, while a business requires anywhere between one and three bitizens to restock.

Each bitizen has five stats, corresponding to each type of business. The higher the number (maximum 9), the more discounts you'll get when restocking. So you can have anywhere between 0% and 27% off the restocking cost.

Manning a business also serve a more important function. It determines what items you can sell. Manning with just 1 employee, and your shop will only be able to sell tier 1 items. Having two employees will allow you to sell tier 2 items, and maximum three employees allow you to sell tier 3 items. Regardless of whatever shop you opened, tier 1 items sells for 1 coin; tier 2 items sells for 2 coins, and tier 3 items sells for 3 coins. The higher the tier, the more inventories you can hold. But that comes at a cost, both coin and time.

Building and restocking items requires time and coin. Coin you can get from rent, selling items in shops, or tips from transporting visiting bitizens to their desired floor in the tower. Time is where things get interesting. The higher you build, the longer it takes. The more stock your business can hold, the longer it takes to restock them. You can shorten the time by using Tower Bux.

You can buy Tower Bux with real world money in game. If you don't want to spend any money, there are still many ways to obtain them. Bitizens will randomly tip you with Tower Bux instead of cash for transporting them. You get one Tower Bux for every new level you build. You're rewarded with Tower Bux if you can help find certain bitizens. You can also go on missions.

Other than shortening time, you also use Tower Bux to upgrade to a faster elevator, or buy costumes for your bitizens. You can change the look of your bitizens without any cost, but you can buy a specific costume, be it a pirate, a cop, or even a mime.

Mission is another way for you to gain some Tower Bux. It basically requires you to stock a certain amount of inventories for two different items. The items can be from the same store or from two different stores. Once you have accepted a mission, all stocks of the items will be assigned to the mission until it's fulfilled. In essence, you are paying the restocking cost to get the Tower Bux.

There are many other things that you can do in Tiny Tower. You can upgrade shops, use Tower Bux to sell all stocks, assign dream jobs, VIP visits that help with all aspects of your tower. Tiny Tower is more than just a simulation game.

Tiny Tower utilise the throwback of 16-bit graphics for its look. You can see a lot of pixels, definitely, but that is intended. Personally, I don't mind the graphics one bit. In fact, I thought it was quite cute to see the 20 pixels high bitizens walking around aimlessly inside the equally pixelated surroundings. Colour is vibrant and pleasant to look at. If you don't like a particular colour scheme, you can paint the shop until you find the one you like.

Tiny Tower is a simple simulation game, yet it is very sophisticate. It engages the player with the use of time based tasks, so that the player is not required to constantly pay attention to it. It is a cross between two popular 90's games, Bandai's Tamagotchi and Maxis' Sim Tower. The game mechanics works well in such a way that you won't feel bored as you build skywards.

The game is simple, fun and well balanced. With over 10 million download in less than a year of existence, Tiny Tower must be doing something right. No wonder Zynga is copying the game.


* Colourful graphics
* Easy to control
* Well balanced


* Cannot choose which business to open
* Some might not like the 16-bit graphics

Score (out of 10)

Gameplay: 9
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Replay: 8

Overall: 9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/13/12

Game Release: Tiny Tower (US, 06/23/11)

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