Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s a good sign when spare time trickles away because I’m too busy playing on my iPad to notice. That’s what happened as I played Build-a-lot 4, the sequel to already rather fun Build-a-lot 3. It might be more evolution than revolution, but Build-a-lot 4 does plenty to keep Time Management fans happy.

Much like its predecessor, Build-a-lot 4 is all about developing real estate and buying and selling properties, as and when profit is possible. It’s a formula that doesn’t sound hugely gripping, but it works.

The main new addition is the importance of power. Players now have to build sources of energy to power their neighborhood. These range from Wind Farms and Solar Towers to Nuclear Reactors. The problem here is that no one wants to live next door to a noisy and ugly Wind Farm, meaning that players must plan where their buildings go in order to keep everyone happy. Don’t have enough power fuelling the area and a blackout occurs, meaning no rent is accrued during that time.

It’s a careful balancing act given that players are frequently given a number of objectives. These can range from having a certain number of a particular type of house or keeping the appeal rating of the area high. Objectives can be introduced mid way through a level, too, thus keeping players on their toes. Upgrading houses, as well as making them more energy efficient is important, as well as building recreational establishments such as tennis courts or cinemas.

Thanks to the wealth of options, much more so than previous titles, there’s a lot of different ways to approach a level. At times, it feels a little too easy to mess up and have to demolish and rebuild certain things. For instance, it’s difficult to ascertain just how the construction of a large house will affect energy levels until it’s too late, but it’s a minor speed bump in an otherwise fun title. The 68 levels in all provide great value.

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