Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year in Review – Become a Real Estate Mogul!

Naturally, as an obsessive casual gamer I’ve played all the Build-A-Lot games on the PC. So imagine my delight when they came out on the iPhone! Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year is, as you may have guessed, the second title to be released on the iDevice. And jolly good it is too.

For those of you not familiar with the franchise, the premise is that you’re a real estate tycoon. You must build, buy, improve and sell houses to make money. Within each level you’re given set tasks which you must complete before time runs out. It starts off simple, and you’re expected to make a certain amount of money, build a certain amount of houses, and so on. As you progress, however, it becomes more difficult. You have to be more careful where you’re building your properties, because if you build a house next to a Workshop, for example, its “Curb Appeal” will be reduced, putting a dent in your profits, and the happiness of the neighbourhood.

There are different types of houses you can build, from tiny bungalows to plush villas. The bigger the property, the more money you make in rent from your tenants. Sounds good, right? Trouble is, these large properties also take more building materials, more time and more workers. So it’s a fine balancing act to make as much money as you can and complete the tasks before time (or your cash flow) runs out.

As well as building homes, you can also build shops, parks and buildings. These include recycling centres, bookshops and cafes. These buildings give another element to the game which makes it more exciting than simply buying and selling houses.

What makes the game so great is its simplicity. You simply tap what you want to do to make it happen. The sound effects are fun but not too over the top, and you can quite easily keep playing level after level and lose track of time. It becomes very addictive as you watch your Career Earnings mount up – and then you realise that sadly, it’s not real money and you’re not really a property tycoon. It’s a fun game and a great time waster – so keep an eye on the time!

The only real downsides to this game are the price (I just don’t think the current price of admission is quite justified for the amount of gameplay) and the fact that some things are a bit tough to see on the small screen. Otherwise Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year is great, particularly as it’s updated to iOS4, meaning you can quit out of it and then go back in right where you left off without losing your progress. This is essential as some of the levels, especially later on, are a little long, so it’ll definitely come in handy if you only have five minutes here and there to play the game.

App Summary
Title: Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year Developer: Glu
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 19.08MB
  • Colourful graphics
  • Unobtrusive music and sound effects
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Addictive
  • You can skip tutorial mode
  • Overpriced
  • Levels are a little long for a casual game
  • Some things difficult to see on the small screen
  • Little replay value


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