I'm not a huge iOS gamer. I love my iPhone and spend copious amounts of time fiddling around on the device but a lot of games are just a little too sluggish for my old 3GS to handle. I'm looking for quick, pop in and out type gaming. I liked the idea of We Rule and Trade Nations, casual games that put you in control of your own world in the palm of your hand, one you can check up on any time. Unfortunately those games became too intensive on the smaller screen as the game progressed. Now I have found my new addiction, for however long it lasts. Tiny Tower comes from NimbleBit, the folks who brought you Pocket Frogs previously.
Tiny Tower puts you in control of the development of your own, adorably styled, tower. The game is all in 2D so it doesn't eat up your battery as much as some previously mentioned titles. You'll start out with only a lobby, quickly adding a floor of apartments then some floors for your "Bitizens" to work and spend their hard earned coins.
Each non-residential floor has 3 different items to be kept stocked to earn you coins. It's up to you to keep items stocked and the coins flowing in. Restocking can take some time, so when you aren't busy the elevator to the left of the window will keep you busy. 'Bitizens' will be coming to your tower all the time and it's up to you to get them to where they need to go. There are also VIPs that will come to your tower. There are three different types of VIPs. The construction worker will speed up development of a new floor, a delivery person will restock an item faster and celebrities that will bring lots of customers or flat-out buy all of one item. You'll also be tasked with finding specific 'bitizens' which is increasingly difficult as your tower grows in size.
Bitizens, the games NPCs, factor heavily on how you play. Each bitizen has his or her own stats. Those stats tell you what job each bitizen would be best for. Some bitizens are better suited for different jobs so hire appropriately to maximize coins. Some bitizens could be useless and you can evict them and hope for a more talented 'bit'. Each bitizen also as a dream job. Even if they wouldn't fair well in any type of job, if you can stick them in their dream job that would be better for you than a more highly trained bitizen. There is also the "Bitbook" which is the bitizen's Facebook where they usually post quirky things.
This is a 'freemium' game, which means it is free but the creator hopes you'll buy some of their virtual currency for real dollars. 'Bit bux' are used to speed up restocking or floor construction and can be purchased within the game. I found that obtaining these bit bux to be pretty easy and unless you are using them on anything and everything you'll always have a good amount. If the quantities in which they were selling them were larger I could see myself buying a few later in the game.
The game quickly repeats itself but I found that urge to get that next floor built unquenchable. The type of floor you get is also random. The curiosity of what type of establishment you just purchased also holds my interest. I found social features lacking. You can have friends through Apple's Game Center but you can't do much outside of checking the progress of their tower. With the dream job mechanic I think it would be really cool to be able to trade bitizens around between friends, hopefully that could come in the future. There is also an iPad version that is the same game just stretched to fill the larger screen. I found it doesn't look that good given the art style of the game. The game also saves through Game Center but another draw back was that, when I wanted to switch between my iOS devices the saves were widely out of sync which forced me to just delete the iPad version.
I've probably written more about this free iOS game than most other other things on the site. The game has been a huge and enjoyable time sink for me and I hope to pass this delightful little game on to you. If you are so inclined you can add me on Game Center as 'NowareMan' and let me know what you think of the game and maybe some features you'd like to see.
App Store: Tiny Tower