Another business simulation game is rising on the iPad this week in the form of Rock The Vegas from Russian developer Game Insight. Already having appeared on a our highlighted top free emerging apps list, the game has continued to rise in recent time, currently finding its way to #8 in the U. S. on the top free iPad app charts.
Essentially a city building social game for the iPad, the game is not terribly different from those that we have seen in the past. There are a few extra nuances for players to concern themselves with, but other than its visual style, there is not too much that’s tremendously new within Rock The Vegas.
Players get control of a small patch of desert. The idea is to turn this tiny spit of land into a successful tourist attraction, with hotels, entertainment facilities, and power plants.
In essence, there are only two things to manage: Income and Power. The first is straight-forward. Players have to construct either housing or entertainment facilities to earn regular income over several minutes to several hours. Each of these buildings can be upgraded to generate more capital, and will also periodically host special events that earn bonus cash. On the other hand, these structures regularly need repairs which will not only cost money, but will prevent the building from earning any new revenue until it is fixed.
DaytimeIn order to build all of these facilities, players must also manage a basic power grid. Simply put, they buy and place power plants of various types in order to build up an energy reservoir. So long as there is enough power available, users can construct new entertainment and housing structures.
As far as other single player aspects of Rock The Vegas are concerned, the only other aspects are some awards that can be earned for bonus cash, and a slot machine mini-game. The slot machine is where players can utilize a Chips currency to try and win either the earnable in-game currency or a gold coin virtual currency.
As a free-to-play game, this becomes the monetization factor for the app, where users can purchase virtual currency in quantities that range in price from $3.99 to $99.99, then utilize this to buy premium buildings and decorative items as well as the previously noted gambling chips. Also, most buildings take a good bit of time to finish being constructed or upgraded and the virtual currency can make that construction instant.
Players are also able to speed up construction using the game’s default, earnable currency (though this only reduces construction time and does not make it instant). However, this approach costs substantially more, and requires far more play time to earn enough in-game currency to make it work. That said, this currency can be purchased in-app as well for quantities ranging from $3.99 to $99.99.
Vegas CommunityOn the social side of things, the game is fairly basic as well. Users can add friends and visit and view their virtual versions of Las Vegas, write on each other’s in-game walls, send gifts, and vote on whether or not their space looks good (which will become part of a “Top Favored” section that Game Insight plans to add for top rated regions). Unlike Zynga’s recently released CityVille Hometown, however, players are able to visit other Rock The Vegas users through an in-app community, requesting friends without having to go through Facebook.
The game does have Facebook and Twitter integration though, allowing players to share photos of their space. As an added bonus, the game also rewards the player with virtual currency for syncing their social networking accounts.
The only other aspect of the application worth noting is that it actually does look pretty good and has a very different visual feel from other popular Game Insight titles such as Paradise Island HD. Also, players can toggle between the day and nightlife settings.
The only issues are that it’s not terribly different from other business sim, city-building titles and that it has a bizarre pricing policy for virtual items. For example, a single tree (yes, a tree) costs about as much as an entire bar or hotel. Moreover, decorations do not do anything for the player other than improve aesthetics.
In the end, Rock The Vegas may not be a very unique or original game, but its increasing popularity is a testament to its general quality. The app is well-made, and as a city-builder it is as fun as any other. Of course “as any other” is the key phrase here, as it’s not going to win any awards for creativity. That in mind, if you’re looking for a business sim with a different visual flavor, Rock The Vegas is worth a shot. If you’re looking for some new designs, they will not be found here.