Project Highrise ($3.99) by Kalypso is the mobile port of the popular building simulation game that originally came out in 2016 for PC and Mac. It's received plenty of acclaim and is also known as the spiritual successor to SimTower. If you liked games like Tiny Tower, Mega Mall Story, or even The Sims Mobile, then you'll get a kick out of Project Highrise.
Many years ago, Tiny Tower came out and became one of my biggest mobile addictions. It was hard to resist the charm of pixelated people and owning my own skyscraper full of various businesses and tenants, and watching them all live their daily lives. It took me a while to completely kick the habit, but I've been missing the feeling of owning and managing my own digital building ever since then. When news of Project Highrise coming to mobile tablets hit my inbox, I knew that this was something I had to have, even though I haven't played or heard of it before. Now that I have it, I can definitely see myself losing many upcoming hours on this game.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Project Highrise is fairly impressive with its 2D rendered graphics and realistic details. The game carries a rather simple and clean minimalistic style to everything, but manages to pack in plenty of detail. The environments you'll be building in are based on real-world settings, and you're able to see the ins-and-outs of each structure, which gives you a nice perspective on architecture. The people in each building are also distinctive and it's easy to tell them apart from each other, and things get lively once the building is bustling with business. Animations are smooth on my iPad mini 4, and I don't have any issues with lag or choppy frame rates. The soundtrack is delightfully upbeat and quirky, making the overall experience fun and charming. Who knew building and managing a skyscraper was so relaxing and not stressful?
There are several ways to play Project Highrise, but the main point is that you are both the architect and developer of the building, so there's a lot of work that needs to be done to become the envy of the city. You can either go into the Sandbox mode for complete freedom over your building, or Scenarios for levels with end goals to complete.
Sandbox mode has three difficulty levels: Beginner, Standard, and Challenging. Beginner starts you off with a lot of money, great economy, and plenty of tenants who are going to pay well for some building space. Standard gives you a good amount of money, solid economy, and tenants are easy to come by but don't pay as much. Challenging has few starting money, solid economy but higher costs and less revenue.
For Scenarios, you start with Downtown, but you can also get the North Side, South Loop, West Loop, and Totally Tokyo expansion packs through in-app purchases. Each scenario has a different objective that you must strive for with your limited resources, which can be a challenge in and of itself.
No matter how you choose to play, Project Highrise contains a ton of content, so be prepared to sink in at least several hours into this game. Controls are simple too, and optimized for tablet touch screens.
Everything in Project Highrise is done through the in-game menu. You can add more floors, stairs, elevators, electric storage, power lines, businesses, apartments, restaurants, and whatever else through a drag-and-drop, paintbrush-like interface. Just pick what you want, and then move it into place with your finger. Things like electric lines and floors can be "painted" on by dragging your finger across the spaces you want them to go.
As you are putting everything into place, you'll see the cost it requires to add that asset to the building. When you want to add things like restaurants or offices, you'll see what kind of business it is, the things they expect from the building, and how much rent they'll be paying you. Sometimes there are requirements, such as offices needing copying or courier services, to help keep them happy. Restaurants tend to like high foot traffic areas, so make sure you know where to place everything to maximize efficiency.
Like other simulation games, construction takes time. You can speed up the process by using the fast-forward button in the top right corner, and then resume normal speed by tapping the play button. You can also pause the game at any time if you need a moment to think and strategize.
The popular skyscraper simulation game is now on your iPad for hours of fun.
Project Highrise is a great tower simulation game, and it's definitely perfect for mobile tablets. This port carries over all of the great things about the original version, but in a more streamlined and optimized format. The visuals are rich and detailed, the music is fun and adds a ton of personality, and the controls are easy to learn. Plus, there are plenty of tutorials to help you get started if you're a complete newbie.
On top of it all, Project Highrise contains a ton of content, hours of gameplay, and you're able to freely make your own dream building. There's unlimited potential with Project Highrise, so it gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
If you're not much of a simulation fan to begin with, then Project Highrise probably isn't going to change your mind. You may need to learn how to efficiently play through some trial-and-error, so it's easier to just start over with a new building once you get the hang of things. And while the game does have four expansion packs you can purchase, it's a little annoying that there are more in-app purchases for furnishings and other extras that don't come included.
As someone who hasn't played Project Highrise before but appreciates tower building sims, I am loving the game so far. I'm still just in the shallow end of the game, but I'm enjoying it greatly so far. The visuals are great, the music is delightful, and the controls are optimized for this kind of thing. I can easily see myself picking this up whenever I have some time around the house and just losing myself for a few hours just building my dream tower.
Project Highrise is available on the iPad App Store for just $3.99. There are in-app purchases.