The world’s tallest tower is that of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands at 2,717 feet with 163 stories. It took six years to complete when it opened in 2010 and took over 22 million man-hours to build. With the new sim game Mad Tower Tycoon, you hopefully won’t be spending as long completing your tower, but your ambition can be just as limitless. However, very quickly you learn that building a colossal tower isn’t as easy as just working upwards, as there are finances to think of, sanitary requirements, and the threat of Hans Gruber from Die Hard turning up. Okay, so Hans Gruber isn’t in the game, but throughout it’s an uphill struggle being a Mad Tower Tycoon.
I’m a big fan of sim games, but at times they can feel like a lot of work – tricky to balance success with complete and utter bankruptcy. Here though, if you build it, they will come… at least if you make the rents cheap enough. Mad Tower Tycoon puts you in charge of building your own tower block and filling it with people, workers, and even zoo animals.
You start the game by choosing a difficulty level and going through a tutorial that explains away the basic ideas of the game; mostly how to operate the UI. To simplify the process you have some funds to start with and on the 2D map you get about building a lobby for your tower. You can make that lobby as wide as you like or as small as you want and it matters little, as you’ll want to concentrate on one thing – building up. Whatever you place though, you have to take care of the maintenance team by building them a base of operations, then work in a power generator room, water operations, and wifi – nobody can work without wifi. You also need to start thinking about how to connect the levels – do you go for old-fashioned stairs or a powerful but expensive elevator service?
When the lights are on, the water is running and the wifi is as smooth as a kitten you can start building some floors that will make you some money. Offices work well as you can rent them out, enticing people in with cheap rents. When they are in though they need toilets and somewhere to eat, but then the more they eat the more rubbish is strewn around so you need more bins… you know the drill if you’ve ever played any kind of sim game. Like I said, building towers are a lot of work, but the trick for any sim game is to get you addicted from the start and there’s something about this game that does that.
I really like the added features you can work into the tower, like shops, hotel rooms, and even a zoo as more money comes in. You can build up to 100 floors, but to be honest I found that pretty much by the 12th floor things start to become tricky to balance, what with all the problems going on around the floors and various clients. Thankfully, as things grow you can zoom in and out of the whole map, able to click on each unit to find out what the people’s needs are. There are also icons showing if there is a lack of power or the need for some additional cleaning in certain areas; all this works brilliantly. Throw in random events like those found in Sim City – where earthquakes might happen or UFOs kidnap office workers – and you’ve got everything you could want.
Playing on Xbox, the UI and whole interface is a little bit troublesome, probably due to the transition from keyboard and mouse to console and controller. It doesn’t feel as easy to control or as responsive as, say, that in Cities: Skylines. I found the highlighting of the right tab bars to be awkward, yet once you’ve thrown a few hours in the whole system begins to become more instinctive to use. What is nice is that there is a leveling up system to aim for, along with daily missions that will challenge you throughout.
Mad Tower Tycoon does look nice, but it’s never spectacular. It can all feel a bit overcrowded at times with the map, menus, and skyscraper filling the screen. It’s always very satisfying to zoom out though, if only so you can see how the entire tower gets put into action with all the people going about their business. It’s also nice that there is a feature allowing you to forward time at pace, or stop things dead on the spot when everything starts to become too overwhelming. Audio-wise and there is nothing special; a chirpy tune that you will switch off after 10 minutes. In my eye sim games are to be played with your playlist of music cranking out in the background.
Mad Tower Tycoon on Xbox is an entertaining and addictive sim game that can well be enjoyable for a good few hours, particularly once you get to grips with the control system. However, the asking price may well place it out of reach of many, and I would suggest sim fans give this a go when it drops in price a little.