Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 02/03/02 | Genre: Simulation
The market is definitely flooded with typical "Tycoon" and "Sim" style games. Many of them have been boring, awkward disasters, and others have very enjoyable, even after years of play. Mall Tycoon attempts to fill the currently unexplored niche of Mall management. Considering the many variables of malls and their role as a 'modern forum", it is quite an ambitious undertaking.
It is difficult not to compare Mall Tycoon to its competition. For instance, as the game starts, the player is greeted by many of the joyous tunes and graphics similar to 'The Sims'. The sounds in the game are very well done, such as the wide array of mall appropriate Muzak. The actual game-play sounds are very distant and add little to the game.
Where the sounds succeed, the graphic fail though. The system has a competent 3-d environment, but it stops there. The actual game graphics are reduced to weak polygon shapes. The entire games looks out of focus and this became a bit annoying after awhile. I have no idea what most of this little images that waddle around the mall are. I saw a guy with a broom; I think he is a janitor. It doesn't explain why he just walked by a pile of garbage that has been sitting there a month.
The system has some redeeming features. It is fun to manage the stores and other micromanagement features of the mall. I especially enjoyed the research feature. It gives the player the ability to get an edge on their competition by researching and implementing new ideas. The interface works, but involves an almost accounting type rigor as your watch which stores are actually making money for the mall. Mall construction from scratch is tedious at best. Unfortunately, that was one of the key selling points for me. Who hasn't wanted to design a mall after walking around in pre-Christmas madness?
It is neat to have the mall run promotions and deal with other mall stuff, from loiterers to mall Santas. There is a good deal of the before-mentioned micromanagement, so expect to spend time looking over numbers and customer information. The camera angles can be frustrating so one is required to know the mall well to jump from store to store. Definitely download the demo before purchasing the game, just to make sure it appeals to your style of game-play. The game typically retails for $19.99, which is not a bad deal if you really want to run a mall. I would have to say that there are certainly better games on the market. As for me, I am getting out 'Railroad Tycoon' again.