My wife asked me, a few nights ago, "What is that tower you're working on?"

She had seen the shared view of my game of 'tiny tower'. It's kind of a goofy resource-management, building game. This one consists of building one tower, and filling it with residential and shopping (several categories) space.

It's a real-time game, which makes it more interesting. Each operation (constructing something out of an empty floor, or restocking a shop) takes a set amount of real time. It has two kinds of currency, coins and towerbux. The former is for building new floors and starting restocking operations, the latter is much more flexible. Towerbux can be used to hurry any operation, to quickly sell inventory for coin, upgrading the elevator, immediately finding residents, or directly traded for coin.

What makes the game interesting is that it can be played two different ways. One is to actively play, constantly monitoring things, and running people up the elevator (this accomplishes several things, but most directly, brings in more coin). Also, every few minutes, you'll get the option to find a given resident, which will give you a towerbux when you finish.

Or you can just let things run themselves, checking in every so often. The downside to this is that your inventory won't be handled as quickly, and you won't get towerbux. You also won't get such a high quality of workers. The upside is that you can do other things.

And, obviously, there's a balance there. The game never stops (there is no pause function), so you can't always be playing. So there's always time that you need to step away and let things run themselves. When you wake up after sleeping, for instance, there's always a lot of restocking to do.

So what do I do, strategy-wise? I always do the missions to find people. I keep more residential space than, strictly speaking, necessary. This allows me to get more residents. The advantage there is that I almost always kick them out, looking for people whose dream job matches stores that I have. That's a big key; you get two towerbux immediately for placing them, and you get double inventory when they work. That hugely raises your profit margins on goods, since you pay the same coin and time for stocking. Without that, there's almost no profit on level one goods (every shop has three goods, that give one, two, or three coins when sold), but the profit when stocked by dream workers is huge.

And you need to do something along those lines, if you want to build the tower at all quickly. The price (in coin) per floor goes up on a roughly exponential rate (5-10% per floor increase, it appears), and the time to finish each one goes up by half an hour.

One other advantage of playing actively, though, is that you will sometimes (it's random, but seems to be several per hour, on average) get VIPs appear. These people will help construction or restocking (taking three hours off, in either case), buy a lot of goods, or populate an apartment with as many people as it will hold (they hold up to five). And you can take added advantage by seeing what kind each VIP is, and maybe taking actions before selecting them to go to a given floor. (There are several tricks that can be played, this way, to maximize the benefit of each one.)

Anyway, there is no "goal" of the game, per se. You can try to achieve several accomplishments, and there are "awards" you can get in gamecenter for certain tasks. But mostly it's a matter of building as big a tower as you can, and keeping it functioning.

Is it fun, though? Yep, it is.

But don't use towerbux to hurry things early in the game, and you won't need to buy more bux, as I did shortly after starting. (Thanks for the gift card that paid for it, Richard.)

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