Mega Mall Story is an addictive management-simulation iPhone game from Kairosoft, a Japanese game company specializing in cute mobile sims. Kairosoft’s games are all similar in feel; if you enjoy one of their offerings, you’ll like them all. If the idea of managing a mall doesn’t appeal to you, they offer games in which you can manage schools, racing teams, and even game development companies.
I can’t speak to Kairosoft’s other iPhone apps – though Game Dev Story sounds fascinating – but Mega Mall Story is fun and well-made. Its Japanese roots show in its kawaii aesthetic and some of its details, but it translates well for a US audience. The excellent pixel art graphics add to the game’s playful charm, giving it an almost dollhouse-like atmosphere.
In managing your mall, you control a variety of factors: the types and placement of the stores you build, the amenities you offer, the staff you hire, your advertising budget, and so on. There are also variables beyond your control: the weather and economy change, and other malls may move into the area to compete for your customers. Your long-term goal is to attain mega-mall status. Though it takes a while to complete a game, it’s easy to play in either short bursts or longer stretches, and it’s easy to get sucked in. With multiple save files and an autosave feature, you can leave a game in progress and come back at any time.
Though the game is easy to learn, and begins with a brief tutorial, it could still benefit from a beefier help section. A few features are never explained, and others are only briefly touched upon. A little more explanation would make the game a lot more exciting.
Mega Mall Story’s subject and style seem particularly suited to younger female casual gamers; after all, malls are considered the domain of teenage girls. But the game never feels like it’s deliberately aiming for a female audience, which is to its credit. If a charming, happy, absorbing game about a mall appeals to you, Mega Mall Story is worth your time. If you’d rather not manage a mall, however, the rest of Kairosoft’s games look equally promising.
Here is a video demo of the Mega Mall Story app on the iPhone
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