|Release date(s)||June 23, 2011 (iOS)
November 16, 2011 (Android)
Tiny Tower is a business simulation video game developed by NimbleBit, released on June 23, 2011 and November 16, 2011 for iOS and Android devices respectively. The game tasks players with managing a tower filled with virtual people, referred to as “bitizens”, with the goal of building new floors and gradually making the tower taller, attracts bitizens to move in and work in any floor the player designates.
On iOS, Tiny Tower is integrated with Apple's social gaming network, Game Center. Game Center provides achievements, leaderboards (based on the number of floors players have) and challenges sent by others. It also allows the player to compare with their Game Center friends' towers. However, Android devices are integrated with the Mobage social gaming network, and unlike Apple's Game Center, an internet connection and a Mobage user name are required to play Tiny Tower.
The lowest floor of the tower, a lobby, has an elevator, where bitizens can randomly appear. They will have a speech bubble above their head, with a number denoting which floor they would like to be taken to. If they are taken to a residential floor which has not been fully occupied, they will automatically inhabit that floor and become a resident of the tower.
Each bitizen has a skill level out of 9 for each category of commercial floor, showing how good they are at each type of trade. This encourages the user to tailor each bitizen to a floor they are most suited to. Each bitizen has a dream job, and the player is rewarded two "Tower Bux" for placing them in that job. Bitizens sometimes post on the "BitBook" telling the player how happy they are with their current job.
Occasionally, we the player may be asked to search for a specific bitizen. This may be because the bitizen, for example, had ordered "some theater tickets" and that they "needed to be delivered to [name]". Every time a player accomplishes these tasks by tapping on the floor that the bitizen whom the player was looking for was on, he or she is rewarded one "Tower Bux" and coins.
The tower grows by constructing floors, which can be either residential or commercial. Residential floors house bitizens, who are chosen to work at a floor in the tower, or are otherwise considered unemployed. Commercial floors sell products, which are automatically sold, even while the player is away.
Each floor is decorated to resemble its real-life counterpart. Up to three products may be sold at a single floor, one per employed bitizen. All these products follow the theme of the business. With every floor, construction time is parallel to real world-time; construction time will increase as the tower gets taller. However, special VIPs can be used to speed this time up, or the player can speed it up with "Tower Bux".
In the game, there are two types of currency: coins and Tower Bux. Coins are used for the majority of purchases, often the most simple. Tower Bux are used for special functions, such as speeding up processes which would otherwise involve a waiting period. Tower Bux are not as common as coins are, and only appear randomly through active game play, or when a user purchases them with real money. Coins, on the other hand, are earned regardless of whether the player is playing or not.
Apart from just the ordinary bitizens, there are also special bitizens called VIPs that randomly appear in the elevator during gameplay. Originally, players were forced to use the VIP as soon as it arrived, but now up to 5 VIPs can be stored in the lobby at any one time, and they can kept for any period of time. VIPs have special abilities such as reducing the time taken for stocking and construction, or attracting extra customers.
Big Spender- A Big Spender VIP will select one item in the shop at random, and buy out the entire stock.
Celebrity- A Celebrity VIP attracts a crowd of 50 Bitizens into the shop. Celebrity are only female.
Construction Worker- A Construction Worker VIP will knock 3 hours off the construction time of the floor they are sent to. They wear a safety orange outfit and a yellow hat.
Delivery Man- A Delivery Man VIP will reduce the stocking time of a currently-stocking item on the floor they are sent to by three hours. They appear in an all brown outfit.
Real Estate Agent- Real Estate VIP is taken to a residential floor they will move a Bitizen into each open bed on that floor, adding up to a full room of 5 Bitizens to your tower. They wear blue suits.
The game received a generally positive reception, with a score of 92/100 on review aggregator Metacritic. In the App Store, and the Google Play Store, Tiny Tower currently has a rating of 4.5/5 stars from user reviews.
Several reviewers commented on the addictive nature of the game; Edge magazine stated that "returning after half a day feels like a jackpot", while Eurogamer described it as "curiously addictive". AppGamer went as far as to say that it "will take over your waking life".
Microtransactions are present in the game; small payments allowing users to purchase in-game currency which can speed the player's progress. They brought mixed response from reviewers, with Eurogamer saying "as it is, it reminds me of all the reasons I despise micro transactions". Other reviewers had less negative comments on these payments, Edge magazine wrote that "Tiny Tower isn't defined by microtransactions: there's nothing that can't be done, given enough time", noting however that "forking out for a single 100 Bux bundle makes the first stretch so much more pleasant... it’s hard to resist."
Since its release, the game has achieved more than eight million downloads from the iOS App Store, more than one million on the Google Play store, and on February 7, 2012, NimbleBit announced that the game had reached 10 million total downloads.
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