I think I fell in love with Mega Mall Story [$3.99] the second I activated, inadvertently, a “frenzy” that showered my six-story mall with pieces of confetti. A dude walked in, rode my brand new elevator up to the third floor, strolled into the super market, and purchased $10,000 worth of organic goods. Hearts popped up over his head a little later, which gave me enough points to research the bookstore I had my eye on. With his cash (and others) in-hand, I built it and decided to put the rest towards a community project that would bring in even more customers.

Moments like these happen once every five-to-ten minutes in Kairosoft’s latest simulation, which puts you in the shoes of a bustling mall’s planner, a mall's coordinator, a mall's CEO, and a close-proximity real estate tycoon. The last conceit is the most compelling one: few tower games give you control over more than the tower itself. Being able to raise up a community by purchasing house, parks, parking lots, and more gives you a unique stake in the outside world. It makes you feel like the universe is your baby, not just the mall.

 

Outside of this, Mega Mall Story doesn’t do anything mechanically that other titles in the studio’s fascinating line-up hasn’t already. The point, as always, is to profit and hit a certain status by buying new shops, unlocking new stores, combining places to maximize the selling power, and cater to a specific audience in the fastest way possible. Fast is a theme in general, as you’ll need to service people as quickly as possible by building elevators, stairs, and escalators amongst your stores.

As you plan, you’ll upgrade and endlessly iterate on what you’ve already built. In Mega Mall Story specifically, shop upgrades such as increased stock, new stock, and quality are handled via a social currency: hearts. When people like what you’ve done, you receive a few of these. Kairosoft is generally pretty good at making people matter, and this micro-game is as important and fulfilling as ever.

Even if you aren’t turned on by the social component, the grand carrot-on-the-stick approach that Kairosoft has mastered is probably enough to keep you going. In this game particularly, almost everything you do nets some sort of reward. Build a store and people come to it? It levels up. Reach a certain popular status? You get a buying frenzy. Reach goals set by a ratings commission? Your store becomes even more powerful. Build a recreational park? Hey, wouldn’t you know it, more upgrades are now available!

In some ways, this can be the most frustrating part of the game. When you first start out, you have a mental image of what you want your tower to be and how you want to build. But, as you progress, the game tortures that image and, eventually, breaks it by introducing stores and features in the stream that it does. On the other hand, it’s a heck of a driver if you can get over your OCD tendencies. Also, Mega Mall has a pretty rich suite of re-building and moving functionality because it’s aware of how it could theoretically burn you.

Aside from a few game-side logic quibbles, the one problem that I have with this game is that it’s a mess to control, particularly when it comes to the camera. Your tower will eventually get bigger than the screen can hold, which means you’ll need to scroll from side-to-side as you plot out your Next Big Thing. Meanwhile, you’ll probably click on stuff you didn’t mean to or, as I often do, accidentally “remove” items that I didn’t want to. Connected to this issue is the fact that Mega Mall is, straight-up, an extremely visually busy game. The iPad 2X option helps you with the mess by sheer virtue of it blowing the image wildly out of proportion.

I’m not sure that this thought will be shared by other Kairosoft fiends (like the ones in the thread in our forums), but as I’ve been exploring Mega Mall Story I’ve convinced myself that this is its most cohesive title. All of its pieces fit snug and everything you do contributes to a whole package. It’s also one of its most wide-reaching games, combining social and sim aspects from all over the place. I don’t know what else I want, and that’s really the greatest bit of praise I can give it. Go download it, already.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Awesome

    really cool and addicting (changed my mind), but cant call a game complete when you are in 160,000$ plus and secretary says that sales are very bad and lets hope it doesnt affect us.

    • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

      So when you don't sell anything and have to dip into your savings that's not "affecting" you?

      Sorry but that statement is accurate. Just because you have money in your bank doesn't mean that the failing economy might result in you making a loss at the end of the month. That's what she's warning you about. That you shouldn't invest those 160k.

    • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

      So when you don't sell anything and have to dip into your savings that's not "affecting" you?

      Sorry but that statement is accurate. Just because you have money in your bank doesn't mean that the failing economy might result in you making a loss at the end of the month. That's what she's warning you about. That you shouldn't invest those 160k.

  • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

    To me the only negative, as with any Kairosoft game, is the replayability value of absolute zero. Once you finish the game after about 15 hours of playing you don't really need to play it again. I got every single shop and built every single structure the first go-round

    But hey - 4 bucks for 15 hours of gameplay. I say that's awesome. And how often do you re-play other genres like Adventures? Not everything is a Tetris.

    • Kula

      go home baddies

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Albert-Lee/823721 Albert Lee

      really you got everything? Are there structures after the dinosaur exhibit?

      • Kula

        That sebastian is lying pal, ignore his comments, he doesn't know how to play a game

      • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

        Sure. I just built the Rollercoaster on the roof!

        Seriously thought, nice try. I play Tiny Tower too :-)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        Tiny Tower sucks because it's just those stupid appointment gaming sims. I cheated the system by just changing the system clock (nice work guys) but didn't make it any more fun after I made 30 floors in 5 min.

      • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

        Sure, life sucks when you're a cheater, right?

        Just FYI, the game checks for that and penalizes you for it.

        This way or another, if you feel a game isn't good because you cheat then I guess you also think people suck because they don't notice that you betray them. Big thumbs up for that, man.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        I cheated because appointment games suck. Also it didn't used to penalize. They must have patched that in later. I don't even consider cheating in this game (if possible) because it doesn't already suck like Tiny Tower.

      • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

        a) you said you cheated
        b) I bet you are one of those people who are annoyed that chess doesn't have a rocket launcher then, eh?
        c) stop self-liking your comments

      • Sergius Optimus

        Okay... let me get that straight.
        If you want to play a game, and the game tells you "come back tomorrow", that's not cheating.
        But wanting to play now, instead of  "in X hours", it's cheating.
        Strange concept this "cheating" is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Albert-Lee/823721 Albert Lee

    The game is way too easy compared to all the other ones. The money never runs out in the early game. Wish there was a way to sabotage other malls in the late game or at least a way to combat them.

    I've beaten it 2 times and currently on my third run.

    Wish they would explain the employee bonus better and label the different types of buildings as "food, entertainment, facility..."

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

      Food should be obvious. Entertainment should be obvious. Facility is everything you build from the first tab. I don't remember the names of the two staff stats but the first one improves your heart gain customers interact with them to gain hearts and the other improves the rep for the stores on the floors they manage. I don't know that I caught what the modifier bonus is though for the store type affinity.

    • Awesome

      batteling= investing in places where rival mall has most % of customers, and when they have all low then eventually gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Albert-Lee/823721 Albert Lee

    how did you do that?

  • http://twitter.com/mguniverse Danny Perski

    Look Kairosoft, I understand retina display is a totally crazy new technology, but my biggest gripe about Game Dev Story was that the game was sooo blurry. Pixel art CAN look sharp.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

       I don't remember if Game Dev Story had this option but in this game you have to pinch zoom to a certain level and the pixel art is perfect. It actually "snaps" in at the perfect pixel resolution if you don't exaggerate your pinch-in/pinch-out motion.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

     You cap out on investments too early and you don't have enough space to use all the stores you unlock (you have to have some facilities and you need elevators). That being said I like this as much as Game Dev Story.

    • Awesome

      have all based on escalators, when noticed elevator in build menu later in game where space used i was like wtf

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Albert-Lee/823721 Albert Lee

      do you guys get rid of the escalators when you put in elevators?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Muhammad-Faisal/1510442147 Muhammad Faisal

        nope. elevators are too slow when you have loads of people coming from the helipad or the subway.

  • Travis Morgan

    Still no ipad version.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Muhammad-Faisal/1510442147 Muhammad Faisal

      2x is sufficient. completed the game through on my ipad. The game looks awesome on it.

  • Jennyjennyss

    what can i do if i have debt? I have no money!!! 

  • Jennyjennyss

    what can i do if i have debt? I have no money!!! 

    • Ken Griffey III

      When I had that problem I just cut back on advertising and rode it out for a year or two. The yearly rankings bonus was enough to get me out of debt enough to where I could start investing in the community in order to put my rival mall out of business.

      • Jennyjennyss

        thank you so much!!^^

  • Jennyjennyss

    How can i build more stores?For example,shoe shopor ,hair salon

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MENSXDBRVDLWCTQQSZ44LDLV5I Billy Ameno

    I really didn't like this game. Tiny Tower is better and it just came out with a new update. I'm still waiting for the car one to come out on the ipod

Mega Mall Story Reviewed by Brad Nicholson on . Rating: 4.5