Mega Mall Story

Mega Mall Story
Mega Mall Story Cover
Platforms Android, iOS
Genre Sim Mall
Score 6  Clock score of 6

As I reflect on Mass Effect 3 before I attempt to write its full review, I’ve been catching up on games in mobile land. Angry Birds Space and Cut the Rope: Experiments were just released, but I’ve sort of grown into a Kairosoft fanboy over the last few years so they beckon even stronger. Mega Mall Story is my latest go at their games after Pocket League Story, and it brings some new ideas to the “Story” series and merges some of their existing ones, as well.

In Mega Mall Story you run, well, a mall. In lots of ways it feels like SimTower, the Maxis published simulation where building up was just as important as fattening your wallet. But it also feels like a traditional Kairosoft title, with all the charm and number crunching seen in some of their more sportier titles, plus the layout challenge founded in Hot Springs Story.

Mega Mall Story is available for both Android and iOS for a few bucks, I played it on my HTC EVO 4G phone.

There’s something maddeningly addicting about these games. I beat Mega Mall Story the other day and immediately started up a brand new mall. Replays in Kairosoft games are usually worth it, because they allow you to not only speed up time, but also give you a bunch of New Game Plus perks that make life a bit easier. Instead of taking me a week to max out my mall, my replay took just a few hours. I felt like a mall master.

A mall in Mega Mall Story starts out small, you can build a florist, a baker, the basic stuff. People enter your mall through a few sets of doors, browse your tiny variety of shops, and then leave. Money comes in slowly and a few hearts are earned that allow you to level shops up and improve the customer experience. And then all of a sudden the holiday rush hits and the mall is packed! Everything is selling out and you’re scrambling to place a video game store to make a few bonus sales, you feel like a capitalist - and it feels good.

Like all Kairosoft games, the goal of Mega Mall Story is to take something little and build it into something GRAND. As customers become satisfied with a particular store in your mall, they become a regular, unlocking either another customer or a new store. Your empire expands floor by floor, and much like the rest of games in the Story series, you want all the numbers to go up, up, up!

Mega Mall Story Horizontal

You can also attract new customers by investing in the areas around your mall, putting money towards apartment buildings, sports stadiums, even injecting cash into the local economy to ward off recession. It feels a bit like Civilization II, where as you built your empire, you could zoom in on your cities and see a generated picture of the town with all the buildings and landmarks slapped down. It’s not much visual feedback, but it’s a neat trick that is effective.

The real feedback comes from watching new customers come to the mall, poking at them to see what kind of store would make them a regular, and then satisfying their needs. It’s a cool feeling when your mall enters a “fever” from popularity, and everyone floods in to spend all their cash at once; stores are selling out left and right and you’re helpless to do anything but watch the cash flow in.

The game rewards you constantly by letting you build new stores, but also challenges you to find ideal layouts. There are combos in the game, like placing three fast food joints together to make a food court, that further increase the reputation of a store. You can also hire employees that cover four floors each and specialize in different things such as electronics or home goods. New transportation methods such as buses and even helicopters are introduced that bring in different sets of customers, there’s almost no end to the combinations of layouts available to you.

Mega Mall Story VerticalBut Mega Mall Story can grow a bit stale, while there are rewards and decent feedback to your success, it’s missing the awesome display of Grand Prix Story or Pocket League Story. You can’t dive into an individual store or see the thinking of an individual customer as he moves from store to store. You can just keep building up and out, watching your cash reserves skyrocket while the upgrading hearts become all too precious. I feel like there should have been a better balance, the game seems to put more importance on building big instead of focusing on individual stores to better them.

The game also moves slow... it’s a nice reward to be able to speed the game up on the second playthrough, but this feature should really be available from the start now. Months can tick by at a snail’s pace when you’re out of cash or hearts to upgrade stores. Mega Mall Story is also pretty simple, I had a five-star mall around year 12 of 15 on my first playthrough, and year seven in my second playthrough. Loftier goals could have been interesting when everything else has been tackled.

I'll also probably eternally be complaining about this, but the hardware Menu button still doesn't do anything on Android, even though there's a Menu softkey on the screen. There are also a bunch of UI issues with the game, like scrolling through a list of 50+ items and not having any way of sorting the list alphabetically, etc. Little things like this might have made the game much more pleasurable to play.

I liked Mega Mall Story, and while it has all the charms of a Kairosoft title, it’s not in the same league as either Grand Prix or Pocket League. Maybe next time.

Overall: 6


Year 15 Totals (Playthrough 1)

  • Final Funds: $58,660,500
  • Regulars: 71
  • Visitors: 7002
  • Hearts: 5938
  • Stores Unlocked: 74
  • Total: 333,060

Year 15 Totals (Playthrough 2)

  • Final Funds: $359,806,000
  • Regulars: 85
  • Visitors: 8874
  • Hearts: 9929
  • Stores Unlocked: 79
  • Total: 711,836