If you’re an Android or iOS device owner and you haven’t tried Tiny Tower yet, you’re missing something. Well, all right, I’m biased and a little bit obsessed right now. Yes, Tiny Tower, in all its pixelated glory, is my new addiction.
The retro look is very deliberate and adds to the charm of this clever little game developed by NimbleBit. (Zynga has reportedly ripped off Tiny Tower in its own game called Dream Heights, but it cuts a sorry figure compared to the blocky cuteness of Tiny Tower.)
The basic idea is to build the tallest tower possible by adding new floors, and then moving in tenants and running businesses, to make more money to build more floors. As your tower grows, floors get increasingly difficult to build (you need more money and they take longer to construct).
The little people in your world, called bitizens, move in to occupy the residential floors, and they can be hired to run the businesses (food, creative, retail, service and recreation). But beware, bitizens have varying skill levels, and they will be unhappy if you put them in a field they have no interest (aww, those little sad faces!).
You spend most of your active gameplay time carting bitizens to and fro between floors. This earns you money in coins from tenants and from your shops and businesses, but every now and then you also earn bux, which can be exchanged for goodies like speeding up the building or stocking process. Sometimes you are also visited by VIPs, such as a celebrity or a big spender, who could do a lot to increase your prosperity if you direct them wisely. You periodically also earn bux through little missions, like locating a particular bitizen, or from tips from satisfied customers.
Perhaps one of the attractions of Tiny Tower is that nothing really bad happens (apart from a sad smiley if your bitizen is in the wrong job!), making it a genuinely feel-good game. The waiting times might have made it boring—when they say your floor will take 3 hours to build, it actually means THREE HOURS—but even if you’re not actively playing (directing bitizens up and down the tower on lifts, doing missions and adding floors), time still passes in your world. This passive gameplay ensures that the cash counter continues to flow, and your new floor will most likely be ready by the time you check on the game tomorrow morning or the painstaking stocking process will be over when you come back after a coffee break.
If this still bores you, there is a series of more complex missions that can you can accept from the main menu. If successful, these can win you some big bux. And, of course, any time you get bored of your tower, feel free to raze it to the ground and start again.
Tiny Tower is a freemium game, and you can spend real money to buy bux. However, I’m perfectly happy with it as it is.