19 people found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 9.9 hrs on record
Posted: Jul 12, 2018 @ 1:41pm
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 @ 2:02pm
Product received for free

Early Access Review
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This is an Early Access review.

Another Brick in the Mall is a sandbox simulation and management game based on the premise that you have a budget and a large plot of land, which now you shall expand into a business district. The map is enormous, so there is a lot of freedom to expand with almost no restrictions.

The game has a simple tutorial that gives you the basics of how to play the game. It's fairly easy to move forward and you do have to figure out some things on your own.

There are three different game speeds that you can use for time progression, in addition, you can pause time to fully plan out what you are going to do. You can select building plans, hire staff, assign zones, etc while the game is paused.

The game allows for multiple game saves currently, so you can use multiple saves as check points for your game. This dramatically reduces the need to do everything right the first time around. If you are learning this game, you may wish to use this function the first couple of times through just to learn about the game mechanics and figure out what works well for you, and what doesn't.

To make the game suitable for beginner players, there are quite a few options that you can choose from when starting a new game. If you just want to build elaborately and learn the mechanics of the game without dealing with the stress of tight economical management, you can choose to start with unlimited funds, you can even choose to have all research projects unlocked as well to begin with. Other confounding variables that can be toggled at the beginning of a game include whether there are rodents causing damage as well as how much shoplifting the customers are expected to engage in.

The graphics are simple but pleasant. Smooth cartoony drawings provides a calmer atmosphere than the heavy burden of repeated clicking and continual management skills that you must deploy.

The gameplay is fairly easy to get into, since for the beginners there rae all of the different options available when starting a new game, including unlimited funds, unlocked research, etc. It does surely involve a lot of clicking, some functions could probably be made simpler with fewer clicks. The entire game can be played with a mouse, thus likely the multiple clicks needed for certain actions.

The idea behind the game is to build a large thriving mall that actually makes a positive net profit. You are encouraged to bulid many different stores, each with a storage section, parking space, loading zone for goods, and you need to hire appropriate staff for each location, such as cashiers, stock clerk, etc. You get to choose how many hours and what hours the stores are open, you can assign individual work shifts to the different employees. When appropriate research, you can keep your store open at night time. The idea is to have different types of stores that offer different products/services to the customers, such as a supermarket (where you choose which products you will sell), restaurant, movie theater, bowling alley, bar, etc. You do have to research most things before building them.

Everything in this game costs money, and the goal is for you to make a net profit so that you can further expand your mall. You do better by keeping your customers and staff happy as well.

The two biggest issues that I identified while playing this game were, 1) the need to click a bit too much. Everything takes multiple clicks, single clicking for a lot of actions would be simpler; and 2) I found myself focusing on building big stores that have a lot more things instead of smaller stores because this seems to be easier to manage and easier to make money from. That kind of gameplay is in the opposite direction from the goal of the game, but I found myself drifting that way often.

Nevertheless, there really is quite a lot to do in this game and there is enough content to keep you busy for days, even though it is still in Early Access. The asking price is not too much. There are no achievements currently, but according to the developers, they are in the works. So I would recommend this game, especially if you like this sandbox type of building and managing type of game.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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