App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I think most App Store users can agree: after laying eyes on a new release featuring that iconic character design and the word "Story" in the title, it's almost impossible not to start salivating like a Pavlovian Saint Bernard. Kairosoft games just kind of have that effect on people. They always manage to find that sweet-spot. The one that has people repeating "Just a little more..." over and over again like some kind of cult mantra. If it were any other developer, there might be some suspense here. Perhaps I'm going to say this one's the exception? Maybe it's a step down? But no. It's a Kairosoft game, so it should come as no surprise that it's fantastic.
What might come as a surprise is that Mega Mall Story is quite possibly their best to date.
The mall only has a few stores to begin with, but that changes quickly. After customers start to trickle in, money from their purchases can be used to build new stores and facilities. These, in turn, bring in more customers, who bring in more money, and the cycle continues. Happy customers don't just bring cash though, they also bestow hearts which can be used to buy plans for new stores. Meanwhile, existing stores can level-up when they've had enough business or upgraded using hearts. There's a ton of nuance here.
What helps to elevate Mega Mall Story past all the rest is its slightly different balance of management and construction. Previous titles focused more on small-scale constructions and characters: things like tutoring individual students or building vending machines. This time around the tables have turned, removing the need to micro-manage individuals and emphasizing the importance of larger facilities. It's a subtle difference, but one that makes it much more accessible to first-timers. In fact, this is the first Kairosoft game I've played that doesn't feature a lackluster tutorial.
Any Kairosoft App Store release should be an insta-buy for sim fans at this point, and Mega Mall Story is certainly no exception. It's well worth the meager asking price, but buyer beware: it can have a profound effect on productivity. And one's social life.