Tiny Tower is a game for iPhones (and similar devices) that is simple at heart but strangely addictive.

The basic premise of it is that you own a tower. You want to make this tower as big as you can using a combination of apartments and commercial floors. For the commercial floors to operate, you need workers. For workers, you need to fill up your apartments. Early on you need to juggle the balance of each, but as you progress the decisions are pretty much made for you. As I write this, I have all 185 floors built (plus an extra 21 empty waiting for updates).

Tiny Tower reviewWith very pink Valentine’s theme

People line up to use your lift (that red icon in the bottom left) and if you’re lucky they’ll move into your apartments. You also get VIP visitors (estate agents, builders, celebrities and big spends who can speed various things up.

The game, made my Nimblebit, has two currencies: coins and bux. The coins (770,293 in pic) come from sales of stock in your commercial floors which is then spent on building new floors. This figure rises the higher you go: floor 3 costs 1350 coins while floor 207 costs 6,427,350.

The bux (11 in pic) are used for many things, basically to speed up the game. You can speed up the stocking or the selling of an item. You can buy a new resident. You can upgrade your commercial floors (meaning stocking takes longer and you get more items to sell). You can also upgrade your lift, something that’s vital as you get to around 100 floors.

Bux can be bought with real cash, but you can also get plenty through normal game play. Completing missions (generally getting three different stock types) is the best paying, but you also get them for finding certain characters (when prompted) and randomly for delivering people in the lift and also for fully stocking your floors. This gives a huge advantage to the person who plays regularly.

Tip for getting more Tiny Tower bux
As your tower grows, it’s harder to find bitizens when asked. To make this easier, move your floors (one bux each) so that all the same type are together. Then colour code your workers so that people in the food floors wear green clothes etc. This will make it much easier to find people and you’ll get more bux.
As you get even bigger, it’s worth buying a few costumes for certain floors (you pay to unlock the costume for unlimited uses) which makes it even easier to pinpoint some bitizens.

If you don’t play regularly your shops runs out of stock and you stop earning money. Otherwise, nothing much. This is one of the main criticisms I’ve read of the game, that’s there’s no real way to lose, but for a casual game I think it’s perfect — you can pick it up and put it away whenever you want.

After a while you find you start to run out of official ways to play the game, or at least missions to complete, so you have to create your own. Because I don’t want to have to be stocking floors every five minutes, I’ve been using the bux to upgrade each floor to take 45 minutes for the first product. Every floor is like this, although some colour gradings have gone up to 50 minutes or an hour. I would recommend having one set of floors that is slightly shorter than your commute to work/uni/school.

I’ve also been trying to make sure that every floor is full of people who have that job as their dream job. After I completed that, I aimed to get everyone with their dream job to have a 9 rating for that position. I’m still chasing this one, but it gives me something to aim for.

It sounds a bit sad when it’s all written down like that, but it’s kept me playing for months and, in reality, way beyond what is really expected of a game like this.

That’s not to say I’m the only person who enjoys it. In 2011 Tiny Tower was named official iPhone game of the year by Apple and the game got unwanted attention from Zynga (read: they completely copied the game and resold it as Dream Heights). Little touches such as bitbook, where bitizens have their own Facebook style feed, is a joy to read (the first time round…)

For months of entertainment, or for at least giving me something to do on the train to work, Tiny Tower gets nine stars. I’ve tried a few of Nimblebit’s other products (Pocket Planes, Sky Burger, Pocket Frogs) but none come close to measuring up.