Nov 18, 2011
For several weeks, Tiny Tower on iOS had a rock-solid grip on my life. I couldn’t do anything without checking in on my bitizens, making sure they were getting their work done while I ignored my own. I was simply engrossed in the steady stream of activity — someone is constantly moving in, stocking items, building new floors or just looking to get a ride in the elevator. It never ends, and even the most mundane, insignificant minutia — such as moving the elevator up and down — requires your assistance.
Extremely easy to play, your main job is to fill your building with bitizens who work in the shops to make you money so you can build additional floors for more bitizens to work and live on. That’s it. There’s no real goal in Tiny Tower. You just keep building, higher and higher. That could be a turn-off if you get bored easily, but that’s why the game includes achievements and social features, allowing you to show off and compare your tower with your friends’ towers.
I do have a few complaints about Tiny Tower on Android. For example, this version isn’t as fully-featured as its iOS cousin. While the Android version features nicer menus and sorting options that allow you to quickly move through tasks, it lacks a few social features and the “bitizen builder” feature included in the iOS version. Of course, it also lacks Game Center compatibility. Mobage uses their own social network to keep you connected with friends, but only as long as they are playing the Android version as well. Also, forget transferring your existing game from one platform to another.
My biggest criticism about Tiny Tower is that notifications are either broken or don’t exist. Because tasks can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, you’ll want to close the app to use your phone for other tasks while you wait for them to finish. But the game never notifies you when the task is complete like it does in the iOS version. This means your stores are sitting empty while stock waits to be put on the shelf, new additions remain closed until you open them or a store has sold out while no one is there to order more stock. One of the best things Android had going for it was its notification system; it’s a shame to see that Tiny Tower, apparently, makes no use of it.
Like the iOS version, Tiny Tower on Android requires a network connection in order to play. This is fine if you’re at home on WiFi or your phone has a data plan, but you’re out of luck if you don’t.
I could easily see myself getting drawn right back into Tiny Tower, if I’m not careful. The cute graphics, smooth music and constant activity easily make this game range from fun to tedious to overwhelming, depending on how into it you get. But otherwise, it’s just a good game that can keep you occupied for hours, if not weeks.