Mega Mall Story ($3.99) by Kairosoft Co.,Ltd is another business simulation game with as much charm as Game Dev Story, only this time, your goal is to build the best mall there ever was.
Kairosoft, I'm not sure how you do it, but you have managed to suck hours of my life away last night with the release of this game. I kid you not folks -- I literally spent all night playing this. Think of it as Nimblebit's Tiny Tower, only infinitely better. Yes, I will say it is that good.
So when you start out, your mall is a tiny little thing. Your goal is to become a five-star rated mall and get tons and tons of customers to sell various goods to. To do this, you must get shops in the mall, get enough income, expand the size of your mall, and make investments in the neighborhood around you to bring in more customers.
As your mall gets bigger, there will be opportunities for your businesses to grow. You can level up stores (needs a certain customer requirement) to increase quality, reputation, and stock of items. Each customer in your mall also has a preference over type of stores they will go to -- if they go to certain stores enough, they become a "Regular" (denoted by a star on the customer) and will increase sales, give you bonuses, and even introduce a new shop or facility to you.
With more floors will be more responsibility. There will be people that you can hire for floor managers, and they each have their own unique ability to increase sales or get you more hearts -- read the descriptions carefully! Also, make sure you can afford them, since you know, they don't work for free.
In addition to stores, you can build facilities in your mall as well. Things like restrooms, vending machines, rest areas, and more -- these won't give you money, but they will earn you hearts, which are necessary to get plans for different types of facilities and shops, and even getting new services for your current stores.
Sometimes, your shops will need to advance but they are unable to level up yet because of the customer requirement. You can give these shops a new "skill" that will help improve stock amounts and sales. These will require hearts, and make sure to pay attention to the difficulty of the research -- if it's too hard, there is the chance you will fail, and waste the hearts.
Advertising and various public transportation methods will help bring in more customers to your mall. There are also some special facilities and stores that can be built in your mall too. These Specials mean that you can only have one of them in your mall at all times -- however, if you remove it, you can add it again later, or just move it.
If you look at the bottom of the screen, you will notice a bar with the label "Pop." This is the current popularity level of your mall. Once it reaches 100, you will go into "Fever Mode." This means that every customer will give you hearts, and the sales will be through the roof -- expect stock to sell out very quickly at the popular stores.
Combos are a very important part of the game. Every now and then, you will encounter a salesman that will sell you "secrets." These are successful combinations of various stores and facilities that will result in an increase of reputation and price for the stores involved. They must also be in the exact order to get the bonuses.
Finally, how well your mall performs is also dependent on the weather and economy. You'll eventually go through several recession periods (hey, it sounds like current times!), so make sure you're doing well enough to make it through.
The goal is become a five star rated mall in 15 years. Once you "beat" the game, you end up with an overall high score and then two options: start a new game and beat your record, or just keep playing on your current save.
Mega Mall Story works in both portrait and landscape mode, and you can bring up a D-Pad at the bottom if that's how you would prefer to move things around in the grid that is your mall.
So what are you waiting for? If you enjoyed any of Kairosoft's other games, particularly Game Dev Story, then you will absolutely love this one. It simply blows Tiny Tower out of the water (if we should be comparing them).
One thing that blows my mind though -- these absurd prices for items! For example, if you have a candy store, the starting price of goods is $100. Really, that's how much a piece of candy costs in this game? I suppose it's good that I'm the one reaping the benefits, right?