Brew Town (Free) by AppBox Media and I Fight Bears is, as the developers call it, the world's first Craft Beer Simulator. If you enjoyed games like Project Highrise and Game Dev Story, but appreciate the art of making a fine brew, then Brew Town is the perfect little sim for you.
While I certainly don't drink as much as I used to, I still prefer craft beers over the mass produced stuff that's everywhere. Yeah, I guess I was a bit of a beer snob back then, but that's because the common stuff usually doesn't taste all that great. And please, don't try and say I'm wrong — no one is going to pick a Budweiser over a tasty craft beer from a small indie brewery if given the chance. When I heard of Brew Town a few months ago, I was eager for the game's release. I love simulation games, and throw some beer brewing into that? Heck yeah I'm in. After many months of waiting, Brew Town is finally here, and it's definitely a fun sim, though it has some annoyances.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Brew Town is rendered in beautiful 3D with a modern retro aesthetic. In some ways, it reminds me of Horizon Chase, probably because of the low-poly design. Despite that, Brew Town is still fairly detailed when it comes to the architecture of each building in your brewery, and the world is bright and vivid. As your brewery comes to life one-by-one, tiny little people will populate the area and drive through, so it's fun to watch it all come together. Animations are smooth and fluid for the most part — I did experience some slow frame rates when I had a lot going on and was furiously tapping away being efficient. There isn't much going on for the soundtrack, but Brew Town has the realistic sounds of sports games, bars, cars passing by, and glass bottles clinking together.
As you design your own brews, you can customize the bottles with a variety of stickers and decals. There's a lot to choose from, and each sticker acts as its own layer. Each one can be colored, resized, or even rotated to create your perfect label. Bottle colors and caps can also be personalized with your choice of color, so every brew is special.
Brew Town has you starting from the ground up, and in the beginning you'll start with Value Hops. As you complete specific goals, you can then upgrade to the next level of hops, but all of your building progress get reset. However, as you increase your choice of hops, they become faster to brew and much more profitable, so it's completely your call. Rebuilding on the next go takes less time, but you do start over with buildings, which I found annoying.
The process for your brewery is simple, and the game does have a tutorial that explains the basics when you start. Essentially, you'll have the hops farm, and when hops are ready to be harvested, just tap on them to collect. You can only hold so many hops at a time before it's full, so keep an eye out on your stock.
The next step is to start brewing. In the beginning of the game, you get a lager, and more brew types are available. However, to get access to other types, you must do research and create or improve a formula to earn a certain amount of profits before they open up. The more you research a formula to improve, the more expensive it becomes to research. With research, you choose a new flavor to add to the formula, then play a little mini-game where you must stop the dial in the designated green areas (or at least close to the marker) to ensure good quality.
The brewing is done with timers. The more profitable a beer is, the more time it takes to brew. You start the game with 50 litre brewhouses, but you can upgrade them to increase their capacity. When it's done brewing, you send it off to the bottling plant to go into your custom designed or default bottles. Just tap to bottle — it starts with one bottle per tap, but you can increase it through upgrades. Eventually, you'll also discover the tap-and-hold bottling method, which is another costly upgrade, but you can just long-press once to bottle.
All bottled brews are stored in the warehouse, which you can also upgrade to hold more. You can stock the bar, also upgradeable, to sell a certain number of bottles per minute for profits. Your HQ gets order requests from other businesses, and serves as a decent enough cash generator once you fulfill them. Once your brewery has delivered a certain number of bottles, you can upgrade your HQ.
As you play, you'll also notice some drones flying around — tap on these for quick cash. There are also pink limos and vans driving around that can get you bottle caps with a tap or some cash if you watch an ad.
Every now and then, you'll get large requests for sporting events. These orders are special and you only have a certain amount of time to fill the order, but the payoff is worth it, especially if you're in the more valuable hops territory. When these events happen, you'll want to make sure all of your brewhouses are brewing the specified brews for the order, and you may want to sell off unwanted brews in warehouse fire sales to make room.
All of the buildings you can build and use in Brew Town can be upgraded. However, they get extremely costly, and that's why it's annoying when you move up to a better hops since it all resets. However, you do at least keep your brew formulas, thankfully.
Your farm generates a few hops at a time, but the best way to get more is to play the mini-game, Hop-or-Not. This is like a Tinder for other brew labels that people have designed, and you can rate them with a "Yes" or "No" by swiping or tapping the buttons. While you can be critical, I find it's better to just give everyone a like so you can quickly accrue more hops, as a few get awarded after every five likes.
A craft beer brewery simulator.
Brew Town is a cute and addictive little simulation game that shows what it's like to manage your own craft beer brewery. The graphics are nice, and I love the realistic sounds effects. There's humor in the game too, with references to hipster Instagrammers and "sportsbowl" events, so that always brought a smile to my face. I think the coolest part about the game is the fact that you can design your own beer labels, which gives you a chance to get creative and make your dream label.
Unfortunately, as I played the game for hours yesterday (it was so hard to put down), I had encountered a number of annoying glitches. First, for some reason, the game decided that it should reset one of my formulas that I had researched several times back to the beginning, and I lost my label design. This happened twice with two different brews, and needless to say it was pretty frustrating.
I also noticed that sometimes I would watch an ad for the promise of more caps or cash, but the game wouldn't do the payout after the ad was done. I tried watching the ad again and still nada.
And while customizing your own label is great, I encountered a glitch that made it impossible for me to truly make what I want. The color picker's bottom row is a no-touch zone on my iPhone 8 Plus, since the text "Label Designer" covers the bottom area of the colors. So I'm unable to access the blacks, grays, and whites for my labels.
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with the amount of bugs in the game. Hopefully they all get ironed out soon.
Brew Town is an entertaining simulation clicker style game that is keeping me busy whenever I sit down and check in. I found the tutorial to be a bit unclear, but the game is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of things. And it's easy to just lose yourself in for a few hours at a time here, especially when you've become super efficient at brewing and filling orders. The graphics are great, and the sounds are nicely done. I don't really understand why all the building upgrades must be reset when you get a new hops though, and I hope the bugs that I've encountered get fixed. Still, I'll be playing this one for a while, at least until I get bored of running a successful brewery, anyway.
Brew Town is available on the App Store as a universal download for free for your iPhone and iPad. There are in-app purchases.