Ever wondered what it’s like to manage a Tesco or a Walmart? Get a taste of the hustle-bustle involved in managing your own mall with the latest sim game from the creators of Game Dev Story.
Mega Mall Story is Kairosoft’s latest English entry into the Android Market. If the name Kairosoft sounds familiar, it’s probably due to their massively popular sim, Game Dev Story. Mega Mall Story adapts the same user interface and shares many traits with its predecessor; later in the review we’ll see how well it compares.
Mega Mall Story Banner
As with most of Kairosoft’s creations, Mega Mall Story does not have any specific end-goal, so you can keep playing forever if you wish. The object of the game is to expand and improve your mall to whatever extent possible. You do this by building new stores, bus stops, investing in local projects and expanding your existing stores.
The first element of gameplay is the building of stores. There are many types to choose from, ranging from a simple café to a massive supermarket. Once your shops are built you can add optional extras such as extra stock or organic fruit, which will increase not only your shops reputation, but also the amount of profit they will make for you at the end of the (in-game) month.
Building and expanding a store
Building these shops requires money, which can be acquired through various different methods. The first method is an obvious one: sales. All of your shops open at the crack of dawn every day, and sell stock throughout the day and into the night. At the end of every month you will get a summary of your sales, showing your expenditure and comparing it to the amount of profit taken in. You can also access a ledger of all sales and expenditure at any time by using the in-game menu. Having access to these ledgers and summaries is a very nice touch as it gives Mega Mall Story a touch of real world entrepreneurship.
Your monthly and yearly ledgers/ summaries
The second way that money can be acquired is through investing in local projects. You will receive several new proposals per months that range in cost from a sizable $30,000 to a massive $500,000. Once you have invested in these projects you must then wait a certain amount of time for them to be completed. An example of rewards for investing locally would be a coveted “regular” at your mall who visits daily and buys a lot of your stock, thus increasing your monthly earnings.
You can also use the investment option to expand your mall; this allows you to build more shops, thereby increasing not only your mall’s rank (which I will go into detail about later) but also your overall profits. You can expand your mall both vertically and horizontally through the Invest menu with both options allowing various new shops to be built.
Investing in a local project and expanding your mall.
But even if you’ve expanded your mall several times, your patrons still will not be able to spend a dime unless they have some way to navigate from floor to floor. This is where the staircase/elevator element comes into play. From the Build menu you can choose whether you want a cheap staircase or a quicker and more reliable – albeit more expensive – elevator.
Select whether you want a staircase or an elevator and place it wherever necessary.
As with most businesses, advertisting is a crucial element to your mall’s success. Some examples of ads which can be circulated include distributing pamphlets, online ads and print ads. Each ad costs a varying amount of money, but in my experience the amount taken in from the exposure that advertisting gives your mall is much larger than that of your advertising expenditure.
Advertising is great for business, but can be a heavy hit on your pocket!
The final element of gameplay is your mall’s popularity. How popular your mall is can be easily seen at a glance as it is indicated by a red bar at the bottom of your screen (see the “Pop” bar in the screenshots throughout). It is important to keep an eye on this, as when your mall reaches peak popularity a “frenzy” will begin. A frenzy is when more and more patrons visit your mall willing to spend more that they would on an average visit. Frenzies are great to have when you need a few extra dollars to build that awesome new book store, or simply to invest in a local project.
A frenzy in progress!
Your mall’s popularity is also important to your ranking in the aforementioned Mall Awards. These rewards are given out every year and basically award the best shop in your mall with a cash prize. For example, in my mall my supermarket came in 281st place; due to this ranking I got a prize of $400,000. The prize fund varies on your ranking, but it is always a generous amount! This is a great touch and provides that extra bit of cash that you may need if you plan on expanding your mall even further.
The most popular (and probably the best!) sim game for Android available now is Game Dev Story (which was previously reviewed on AppStorm). Game Dev Story is without a doubt the best of Kairosoft’s games so far, but can Mega Mall Story live up to its predecessors high standards?
Mega Mall Story vs. Game Dev Story
In Game Dev Story you lived the lives of your staff. You kept a close eye on their latest developments, projects and current pay. In Mega Mall Story no such system exists. Once you hire your staff, that’s it! You will never hear of them again. No checking out on how they are doing, no suggestions from them, nothing at all. Not only does this remove a very unique element from a game, it also completely does away with the sense of depth that Game Dev Story had.
A comparison between the two staff management systems.
Also, when I first downloaded Game Dev Story I suddenly felt attached to the app. The first time I opened it up I played at it for three hours straight. Three hours! This meant that a small Android app had immersed me more than CoD, Battlefield or any big console games. This is no easy feat, and sadly I found Mega Mall Story lacking in this respect, as I found it increasingly boring to play for lengths longer than an hour. This is partly due it being rather slow-paced compared to Game Dev Story.
Overall Game Dev Story is still the king of Sim games for Android and I don’t see it being overtaken any time soon.
Sadly, Mega Mall Story is not as immersive as other sim games and is most definitely not appropriate for long gaming sessions. But despite all of its flaws it is still quote an enjoyable game if you have played a little too much Game Dev Story, and want something new but familiar.