Type of app: Time Management
Platform/where to buy: iPad (iPhone version, here); available in the App Store
Developer: HipSoft / G5 Entertainment
Make your cities grow and glow in this energetic hit!
You already know how to construct homes, malls and restaurants, right? Now it’s time to invest in green energy! Build solar towers, wind farms and even nuclear power plants to make your cities sustainable and prosperous for generations. Watch out for blackouts, though, as building too fast can result in a system overload. So take it slow, plan ahead and manage your energy resources carefully. Be ready to rethink your property layouts and infrastructure, or even start over from scratch. To “go green,” your neighborhoods need eco-chic shops, solar-heated swimming pools, bike paths and more. Do whatever it takes to build the most energy-efficient city in the world!
TRY IT FREE, THEN UNLOCK THE FULL ADVENTURE FROM WITHIN THE GAME!
Two game modes – casual and campaign
Four big campaigns to work your way through
68 challenging levels to keep you on your toes
Numerous eco-friendly building upgrades
Game Center Support
New iPad Retina Display Support
Major features: Last month I reviewed Build-a-Lot 3 here, thoroughly enjoying the balanced challenge of that time management game.
While the PC versions of Build-a-Lot 3 and Build-a-Lot 4 came out over a year apart, here we get them a month apart for the iPad. For many, that is simply too soon – and if you are still playing Build-a-Lot 3, don’t worry about waiting a bit … and if you haven’t started Build-a-Lot 3, just skip if and grab this instead! Because Build-a-Lot 4 is better in every way than its predecessor.
Like other genre games and the other Build-a-Lot entries, Build-a-Lot 4 tasks you to build new homes and monuments and work to improve neighborhoods. You own certain lots and homes, and need to meet certain goals such as building a bunch of chalets, painting a number of houses, and so on. All of which happens while a timer ticks away. The big addition to Build-a-Lot 4 is energy, which is why the subtitle is ‘Power Source’. I will get into how that changes the dynamics in a minute.
Most things remain unchanged from earlier games. In order to build something you first need a blueprint, which you need to buy and print (which takes time). Then you need the requisite materials (which also take time and money if you don’t have enough). Finally you need an adequate amount of workers – and these also take time and money to hire. Everything you do takes time and money – which are the keys to every challenge. But it isn’t just buying and building – upgrading houses gets more rent (i.e. more income), and adding paint helps to make the property more appealing which is another key metric. Run-down lots take huge hit on appeal, so you need to buy those up and renovate them to improve the neighborhood standing.
Build-a-Lot 4 shifts the focus from only houses as income sources, adding things such as bakeries, cinemas, and more to your list of rental properties – though these have considerably longer rent cycles than houses. There are also Tech centers, Business centers and even a recycling plant to help you meet your goals. Finally there are loads of challenges carried over from Build-a-Lot 3 – fire and home-repair take time and mean you aren’t earning any income on the property. Then there are weather effects that slow down everything (just like in real life).
The other new focus is power. This deals with the reality that everything we use requires power, and so there needs to be a power generation and distribution source near the properties we build. More and larger properties need more energy – and if you run out of power you will have a massive blackout and lose the ability to generate rent. Making homes and businesses more efficient won’t gain more rent, but it reduces the energy draw from each property and can be a strategic way to avoid building more energy sources.
Ease of use/Overall performance: As I have said before, time management strategy games are either fun or frustrating, there seems to be little in-between. Build-a-Lot 3 was wonderfully balanced between challenge and fun, and the same is true for Build-a-Lot 4. There are more frustrating levels this time, but the game is also considerably longer (which is great because Build-a-Lot 3 was already a large game).
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! If you enjoyed Build-a-Lot 3 you will love this for the new features – and if you weren’t too thrilled with Build-a-Lot 3 you can skip this without much worry.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.
Price: $6.99 ($4.99 for iPhone – but on 11/28 ONLY they are $4.99/$2.99 for iPad/iPhone)
Here is the trailer:
Source: Publisher provided review code.