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Game Profile
Game Boy
GENRE: Simulation
March 21, 2006
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 Written by Matt Swider  on May 03, 2006

Review: Donald Trump: The most classy, luxurious, elegant skyscraper in all of Virtual City. It's gonna be HUGE!

The Tower SP is a briefly addictive simulation game with a lasting appeal that hits a rather low ceiling after only a couple of hours. Originally released on the PC over a decade ago, the Game Boy Advance port functions exactly like a SimCity-inspired title. However, instead of building an entire city from a large landscape, you start off with a lobby foundation and expand upward. The ultimate goal is to attract residents and earn lots of money in order to achieve the ?TOWER? rating, the highest rating in the game. To do this, you must make efficient decisions in building your skyscraper and deal with day to day issues of the residence. Otherwise, you'll be more bankrupt than Donald Trump in the early 90s.

A short tutorial is given by the elderly CEO of Yamanouchi Group at the beginning of a new game. He teaches you the basic rules and techniques with a generic building as a test subject so that you can learn how to expand the lobby, place tenants and setup an elevator. Along with the simple game concept come simple controls. The R button brings up items to construct, the A button places the items and, if held down, can fast-forward time, while the B button cancels operations and toggles the magnifying glass. Using the magnifying glass allows you to spy on your tenants to view stress levels and read notes about their needs. For example, condo residents might find the noise from a fast food joint to loud. Therefore, it's your job to move one of the two in order to keep the tenants happy or else they'll move out.

To reduce stress and increase the amount of people, you'll have to reduce traffic and increase the points of interest. This is done with stores, hotel rooms, spas, saunas and eventually movie theaters. Having this many people, though, leads to necessities like additional elevators cars, cleaning rooms, toilets, security centers and parking. If you don't install these facilities, cockroach infestation, theft and fire can occur at any given point. There are also instances were you need to manually do some of the dirty work yourself. While hovering over a bathroom or a fast food shop, you'll be asked to quickly tap the A button to clean rooms or attract customers. As you can see, the gameplay keeps you busy in the beginning. But like any sim game, the addictive nature of The Tower SP gives way when you include just about everything offered and things start running themselves with your input.

The addictive gameplay hasn't aged, but the graphics and the almost non-existent sound effects certainly seem dated. In fact, the PC presentations weren't spectacular to begin with and there's little polish on the Game Boy Advance port. Tiny characters scramble through dull looking building halls and few striking colors show up on the screen. It's neat to see all of the movement in the skyscraper while fast forwarding through the day, as elevators jump from floor to floor and customers quickly crowd a fast food place and leave. The skyscraper is a busy place, but nothing here takes advantage of today's technology.

Bottom Line
Even though The Tower SP came out more than a decade ago on the PC, this faithful reproduction can still be addictive for a short amount of time. No, there aren't any bosses here and the game never ends because you simply go into debt even if things are looking grim. There's just a lot of time-consuming construction best suited for simulation fans looking for a low-key, high-rise game.

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