DreamHouse Days – What’s a Tiny Tower? Because this is better…
Simulation games are a vice of mine. Give me anything like The Sims, Sim City, RollerCoaster Tycoon, etc. and I am instantly hooked. This goes against everything I believe in as a gamer too, because these games lack a story line and usually don’t have a real end game. Doesn’t matter however, they are my Achilles heel, my guilty pleasure, the thing I like that I probably shouldn’t.
For those of you who are familiar with Karisoft, makers of DreamHouse Days, you are aware that they specialize in these kind of games, feeding into so many of my neuroses. Karisoft, for those who aren’t aware of who they are, put out the smash hit GameDev Story, where users could simulate a game development studio. While the game was very simplistic, graphically nothing special and often silly, it was still an enjoyable game that had myself and many others I knew captured for hours upon end.
Karisoft’s latest title, Dream House Days, puts you into the exciting world of rental property management. In this title, you take charge of spicing up a whole bunch of apartments, putting in amenities, furnishings and other random objects in order to entice renters to move in. From there, you can manage details such as their clothing, their comfort, careers, giving tenants advice, etc. (Because you’re an awesome, albeit totalitarian property manager, who “cares” about more than the rent…) You are given 21 years to manage and raise a building from 4 units to whatever massive rental empire you can construct, all while watching your tenant’s progress, grow and age.
Like all Kairosoft games, the graphics are done in a stylistic 8 bit mode. Don’t expect to be blown away by the display on this game; it will look the same whether you’re playing it on a crappy Droid 3 or the powerful Tegra 3 processor of the Nexus 7. The music matches the 8 bit style with some blessed chip tune style beats, just to keep consistent. Game menus and animations are also reminiscent of retro titles though it does nothing to impede game play.
Some of the choices in this “city” building sim can be silly at times. In order to add new items into people’s apartments, research is needed. You are also asked to give advice to tenants from time to time about things such as love, life and careers. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been apt to ask my landlord for anything, other than to fix the damn leaky faucet in my unit. Players can also add amenities to their tenant’s units such as beds or vacuum cleaners, again, a little out of the ordinary, but it is a game.
Players micromanage many details in the building as well as details in the tenants lives. It actually is beneficial for you to manage the careers of your residents as higher income means either the ability for the tenant to pay their full rent portion, or to increase their rent by adding more stuff into their unit. Likewise, higher stats in other areas could mean changes to a tenant’s life that helps increase your profits as well, such as padding their stats so they can get married or have kids, which also increases their rent. Players also receive a monetary bonus when their residents get a higher paying job, or when student’s graduate and get a job (usually as an office worker, oh how art imitates life…) New jobs which grant different levels of income, are unlocked gradually through game play, or by specialties some of your tenants may have.
There are many different in game “currencies” players will need to use in order to obtain new items, build items in the units, research new items, aid tenants, etc. Obviously you get your traditional money, which is what you get from rent and deposits. There are also research points, labeled as a Orange science flask. There are also “tickets” which are used to obtain items or research objects. Tickets are harder to obtain, usually though getting achievements or buying with real life money.
This game does come with micro-transactions, including the ability to remove ads, but aren’t necessary and players can enjoy a game without spending their hard earned coin. I myself have made it to year 4 in the game without spending any of my own money in the game. Money can be used to buy tickets and research points. However, with patience and diligence, players can earn these same things through stellar game play. Additionally, players are granted scratch offs, which allow them to win extra game money, research points, or new items or clothing objects for the game.
You’d think managing an apartment building would be lame, but this game is horribly addicting. During the first night of playing it, I managed to drain the battery on my tablet and over cook dinner, as I got lost in game play. Anyone who is a fan of games like Tiny Tower will find Dream House Days even more enjoyable with a myriad of additional options, customization and player involvement into details of the game. This is the most control I’ve felt of a simulation game for mobile devices and this game defiantly carries over themes of micromanagement from its other titles, like GameDev Story. Players who enjoy covering many details of their simulation game play experience will share my enthusiasm for this title.
Not all simulation and town building games are created equal. Some are designed to either force you to pay up or wait, while some give you very limited options for the price. Dream House Story does neither of those, offering players a full, rich experience while at the same time, not begging them for change like a freeloading relative. The cute but simplistic graphics feel appropriate for the game, while the actual gameplay feels intricate, full and ripe with things to do. Anyone who enjoys simulation games in the vein of Sim Tower, to more stripped down mobile equivalents must download this title right away. If you find Tiny Tower addiciting, Dream House Days will send you to rehab.